Modern dads have learned to balance bringing home the bacon with living a full family life. Although dads have long been hardwired to provide financially, the satisfaction of being a breadwinner and advancing in the business world comes at a cost. I witnessed it firsthand and through a series of providential events have been finding balance in my own life, with my family.
In my tour of the 2017 Solar Decathlon, Team Maryland was my favorite. Their project called reACT (ie. Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology) proved to me that a sustainable future needs to merge indigenous/cultural traditions along with modern technology. This is not just about energy either. Even though the architecture and engineering were exceptional in this design, the incorporation of cultural traditions gave the house much more impact than the rest of the entries at the Solar Decathlon.
During my tour of reACT, I spoke with some of the team and learned about the Native American philosophy called the "7th Generation Principle". This simply means that we should think about our future descendants 7 generations from now (or about 140 years) and honor them by leaving the world better.
The Solar Decathlon is a competition where college teams combine beauty and technology to build high-performance houses powered by the sun. Held every other year, this international competition is the place where we become collectively smarter about high-performance solar homes - thanks to the best and brightest college students from around the world.
At the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture, I first got the itch for sustainable, high-performance design. I was taught that architecture should be a machine for living in balance with nature, and a marriage between ecology and technology.
Although the Solar Decathlon began while I was in college, it was usually held in far-away Washington D.C. and it was just too far away to attend. This year the U.S. Department of Energy moved the Solar Decathlon in Denver, Colorado for the first time. I mentioned it once to my wife while feeding our toddler twins, and she must have seen something in my eye when I said that I would love to go and see the event. She later surprised me with airplane tickets and my heart leaped at the chance to go.
I grew up with camping as an integral part of life - from staying at deer camp to many trips through Scouting as long as 30 days out. There have been too many overnights to count, including more than a few spent sleeping in high places. Being up in the mountains above tree-line, or on the side of a sheer cliff face is often called a bivouac (or “bivy”) by climbers. Although far from comfort, these places award a magic that cannot be found in more civilized places. You only bring the absolute necessities, which allows time to think, reflect, and live in the moment.
This is week 4 - and the last post in our series - covering Oklahoma City’s first shipping container residence. Last week we looked at our unique foundation design, touched on shipping container anatomy, and looked at container modifications. I shared information about the homeowner/developer and his website. This week we are picking up where we left off and doing something special.
This week, I wanted to share an in-person interview with Josh McBee, our shipping container homeowner and owner of High Cube Industries, LLC.
This is week three covering Oklahoma City’s first shipping container residence. In last week's post we looked at how the home was positioned on the site, peeked at some interior pictures, and discussed the concepts of both minimalism and rightsizing. Whew!
This week, I want to move to the exterior and reveal a few more facets of this container design. I hope to share some insight into how building with containers must be approached differently from the ground up. I also want to introduce you to the owner and share more about his vision for working with shipping containers in the future.
Welcome back! We began covering the design of this Oklahoma City shipping container home in last week's post. This was the first container home permitted by the City of Oklahoma City when we filed in 2014, and the first shipping container design either the property owner or myself had experienced.
As an architect, it is always a challenge to put myself into the mind of my client. During the Pre-Design phase, I get to ask a lot of questions and get to know the owner.
Transferring another person’s vision and allowing room for their identity to thrive is what it takes to design a home. This is harder than you might imagine, but it is very rewarding when you get it right! Serving another person in this way is not a one way street, and the best residential designs are a product of a team effort.
Shipping containers belong in a dark, modern version of Dwell magazine featuring Frankenstein’s metro-modular castle. These corrugated units of space are all the rage in print, but they are underrepresented in reality. Point blank, there were no shipping container homes in the Oklahoma City metro in early 2014. That is when I received an email from a childhood friend.
He had heard that I was an architect practicing sustainable design and he wanted to team up to do something new. He had just returned to Oklahoma after living out west and in Asia for several years. Through his travels, he had learned a lot about living lightly and found that a minimalist lifestyle suited him well. He wanted some help designing a small house using recycled shipping containers as the main structure. Sounded interesting!