Weekly IQ-tip goes Green


There are a series of fascinating articles in this month's issue of dwell magazine about sustainable homes (Green Goes Mainstream). I'm not sure if it's because my wife is an architect, or because I'm so dedicated to the green movement, but the idea of sustainable living, especially "green building," has long captivated my interest.

From building with sustainable materials such as cork (like the arm of a starfish, the bark grows back!), to installing solar panels"¦ from simple efforts like well-placed trees for natural shade, to more complicated ideas like turning your roof into an aromatic garden that absorbs runoff and keeps the house cooler—there are dozens of ways to build a new home with the environment in mind.

But what I hadn't considered is the philosophy of architects like Matthew Trzebiatowski, who, in an interview in dwell, suggest the following (which we at mental_floss, another magazine with a lowercase title, will hijack for our weekly IQ-tip):

Work with the existing infrastructure. Don't keep going outward and gobbling up more real estate—go into the city, go into the texture that's already there. If you can, go in and rehab an existing residence"¦ We feel the most important thing we did was to go into a place like Sunnyslope [an edgy neighborhood in Phoenix, AZ] that had not only economic depression, but also some social questionability. It needed a second life. A residence like [ours] can turn that around. We can recycle a neighborhood as well as materials.