Archives: 2012

Modern Playhouse #3

A ‘playhouse’ to be used by both the parents and the kids. The structure rises from the land through terraces that provide a unique experience in the trees.

10 Ways to Build Green

1) Plan with the Local Climate:
Planning your home with the local climate in mind will reduce the time and energy required of your heating and cooling system in addition to providing a more pleasant living experience. Be sure the layout of your home, the placement of windows, and the size of overhangs are designed to take advantage of prevailing breezes and changing sun conditions throughout the year. When the weather is nice you can turn your air conditioner off, open the windows, and enjoy the day.

2) Insulation, Insulation, Insulation:
Insulation slows the time it takes for heat to transfer through walls and roofs. The more you have, the longer your house Read More…

5 Ways to Reduce Utility Bills Today

1) Temperature is Free Money:
Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees year-round to save energy. For winter, set your heating & cooling system thermostat to 68 degrees or below; for summer, 74 degrees or higher. Keep your system off and windows open when it’s nice outside. Contrary to popular belief, the thermostat is not reflective of the temperature coming out of the air vents. The thermostat is the target temperature for the air inside the home, and setting it higher or lower will not speed it up. Find your comfort zone and leave it be for maximum efficiency.

2) Watts Matter (But So Does Color and Brightness):
Some fluorescent lights can make your living room look like a hospital room. But Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) have come a long way in recent years; they use half the energy and can even match the warm light of incandescent bulbs. To save even more energy Read More…

The Fate of Neutra’s Cyclorama at Gettysburg Has National Implications


The National Park Service has published their environmental assessment report outlining options for Richard Netura’s 1961 Cyclorama Building at Gettysburg. Their recommended fate for the building: demolition. This comes after two decades of argument and a three year lawsuit between preserving the building in place and removing the building to rehabilitate the battlefield beneath it.
Read More…

Historic Char

Buildings suffer many fates over the course of time. Physical markings, renovations, and the stresses of time all take their toll on materials. The Hayden Building suffered a huge fire in 1985 that burned out the upper floors and roof completely; leaving it in an abysmal state until Historic Boston stepped in years later. While cleaning the interior brick some areas proved more than stubborn. The images above show how fire has marked the building and why we have the codes and regulations we have today.

MATERIALS – Image One: The area of brick to the right is clean to the touch, but the brick itself has turned black from the overwhelming heat of the fire. The area to the left looked very similar before cleaning. The black area most likely had a flammable wall covering material that raised the temperature of the fire and chard the brick more deeply – like putting it in a kiln. Today interior materials are classified by the degree with which they propagate fire and how fast it spreads. There is a whole industry around this from your bed sheets to the insulation in your walls.

CONSTRUCTION – Image Two: On a lower floor the charred pattern is indicative of a previous stair along the wall. The fire most likely started here. To the right you can see a recessed shaft in the brick – a nineteenth century chase for plumbing pipes. This area has also been cleaned to the touch. Note the charred brick in the shaft – this is where the fire spread from one floor to the next. Today we have strict regulations for the construction of all shafts and equipment that span from floor to floor or connect dissimilar rooms to avoid fire from quickly spreading throughout a building.

It’s all yet one more layer of legible history in the Hayden Building.