Over Easter weekend, Alchemist B journeyed from Minne to ChiIl(y) and made a 2nd stop at the Smart Home on display at the Museum of Science and Industry. I had been down there while it was being 'set' ... and was very glad to see the final product.
Michelle Kaufmann Designs (MKD) created a fabulous showcase highlighting the importance of green building ideas in an educational setting that is engaging and impressionable—let alone inspirational (super cool sponsors, interior design and gadgets!). It is realistic in size, and although I suppose not everyone who's building new will be able to incorporate *all* the great ideas, I think that everyone will be inspired to squeeze in as much as they can.
Inside and outside the views and details are outstanding. It's a great example of MSI's amazing mission, Chicago's ever-forward-thinking and MKD's contemporary architecture (that also happens to be prefab ... so, ya'know, weeLuvs it).
On the tour, my guide John had a very informative, jargon-free script to work with. (He himself was a great 'kid'!) There are ample engaging moments of explanations including:
- where all the hot air goes
- how water is recirculated
- how one room is particularly youngster friendly
- why a green roof makes sense
- how design creates spaces that work efficiently
Five key principles as identified by MK: Smart Design, Material Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency and a Healthy Environment are incorporated, clearly illustrated and annotated throughout the home.
My 'group' was a mix of families, construction 'guys' and the just-curious. It made for some sassy conversations as people elevated their priorities in the form of comments like 'that sink doesn't have a stopper! that seems wasteful' and 'my kid would fall off this deck' and 'I would never leave the rooftop it's such a great view' and my favorite 'Mom: this is the coolest place you've ever made me go to!'. Hope for the future ... and a slice of life, so-to-speak.
It'd be great to see interactive, illustrative, and darn-good-idea-generating architecture like this in many places ... so you can experience—not just gawk at pictures of—fresh ideas. On display through Jan. 3, 2010.