Author(s): Ana Maria Alvarez
A showcase of sustainable living in prefab, solar, mobile and modular houses. In this book, architect Ana Maria Alvarez presents an array of the world's best sustainable residential architecture. Studying houses in many countries, she provides photographs, floor plans and elevations, mechanical schematics showing water and air circulation, and more to reveal how even the smallest home can be sustainable, functional and beautiful. Each of the homes is examined in numerous spreads over 400 inspirational pages. The homes range in style, setting, cost, and in some cases, purpose. For example, the entirely self-sufficient Solar Active House was assembled on site of prefab pine panels and 25 sq metres of photovoltaic modules that produce all the energy it consumes. Triple pane insulation and heat recovery systems reduce temperature, and windows open automatically when there is a lack of oxygen or excess interior moisture. Shutters provide protection from heat and create a second layer of insulation, cooling in summer and warming in winter. The Sunset Cabin (323 sq ft/30m2) is set in a mixed wood on an Ontario lakeside and has one bedroom and one bathroom. Its plywood and cedar frame and pine walls were built in a month in a city lot in Toronto. It then took just 10 days to dismantle the structure, sort the pieces and reassemble the house overlooking Lake Simcoe. Two reinforced steel beams over four concrete pylons lift the house off the ground for a good view of stunning lake sunsets. The Study Box/Read-Nest is a petite (105 sq ft. /9.8 m2) mobile 1-bedroom hideaway perched on adjustable pylons. For easy and inexpensive mobility the factory timber frame and wood slat walls are easy to disassemble and re-assemble. Designed as a hideaway for reading, sleeping or simply relaxing, the Study Box has tons of shelving and, if needed, a foldable bed perfectly situated under a skylight. Surveying original homes from around the world, Sustainable Residential Architecture is an exceptional resource, reference and book of inspiration for architects, designers, homeowners, and contractors. For all who seek to live with less cost to the environment, this gorgeous book will both inform and delight.
Ana Maria Alvarez is an architect, urban planner, writer and an editor of architectural books. She is co-author with Alejandro Bahamon of Light Color Sound: Sensory Effects in Contemporary Architecture ('Inspiring visual sourcebook' ArchNewsNow). She lives in Barcelona.