Rethinking Water Management

Some Louisiana government officials, including
the ex-governor, took a few trips over to the Netherlands to
“research” how the Dutch spent billions of dollars to protect themselves from the water. When they returned, they were quick to ask the federal government for their own billions, but failed to disclose how the Dutch are now rethinking their water management. The Dutch have decided that it is better to live in harmony with the sea, instead of fighting her with large levees and gates. This
is the foundation that New Orleans was built on (Notice how the older parts did not flood), and it is something that deserves another look. More info located in this NY Times article:
Rethinking Water Management

Flood-Proof Houses

There is an interesting article located here:
http://hurricane.lsu.edu/_in_the_news/042807_seattle_times.html
It discusses houses located in the Netherlands and Pointe Coupee
Parish in Louisiana that utilize a buoyant foundation made of
expanded polystyrene to raise the house in flood waters. The house
is connected to poles on either side, which keep the house anchored
to the site. Elizabeth English, who is with the Louisiana State
University Hurricane Center, stated that she has met resistance
from FEMA and local building departments, since the housing type is
currently not covered under the International Building Code.
Flood-Proof Houses

Gehry’s Serpentine Gallery Pavillion

Frank Gehry’s latest work looks like a trash
pile of cool materials: http://www.serpentinegallery.org/2008/03/forthcoming_summer_2008serpent.html
I would guess that walking through the space and experiencing the
shadows and light that is created by the unusual structure is
unique and interesting. It would also seem that the materials
themselves invite a user to touch and feel the warmth of the
structure, but visually it is just too much to get past that it
looks like a collapsed structure.
Gehry’s Serpentine Gallery Pavillion

Universal Design – Accessibility

Here is a home designed for Universal Design in
Washington D.C that was sponsored by AARP: http://www.aia.org/aiarchitect/thisweek08/0627/0627p_aarp.cfm
I know that it is tempting to design homes with doors that are less
than 3′-0″ or bathrooms that are not wheelchair accessible, but
after taking care of my grandmother in my 1970s home, I will make
sure that my firm will at least follow fair housing guidelines and
at most go with the ANSI 117.1 standards or a Universal Design.
Most of the design elements that are in Fair Housing Guidelines are
not cost prohibitive and actually make good design sense, so for
any type of residential construction this should be required. For
the Fair Housing Design Manual, please go to this HUD link: http://www.huduser.org/Publications/pdf/fairhousing/fairintro.pdf
Here is a link for Universal Design: http://www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/pubs_p/docs/UDinHousing.pdf
Universal Design – Accessibility