Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Golden Ratio in Art, Architecture and Nature

I have read books on the subject and traveled the world to see examples of the ratio expressed in great art and architecture. It is always fascinating to see - and it is far more common than one might realize. Here  are a few images, links, and a video about the subject. Enjoy.

The Golden Ratio in Art and Architecture is a web site by Samuel Obara is a great overview of the math with examples and visuals that provide quality demonstrations.

Check out these images that express the ratio:
Notre Dame

The Pathenon

how the rectangle expresses a spiral

an easy way to draw it

a good book on the subject
Here is an image from the Sunflower+ Project- see the spiral taking shape in the center:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Building America Solutions Center is the place to start your research on energy efficiency, building science and best practices for residential construction and design. Per the site intro:

The U.S. Department of Energy's Building America program strives to develop integrated energy systems that dramatically reduce annual energy use and peak energy loads in existing and new homes while also improving overall building quality, comfort, safety, and durability.

Check out the guides, CAD files, details and references for more information. Here are a few images from the site to get your imagination going:

compare advanced and traditional framing techniques

what a well insulated, vented attic looks like

part 1 of flash and batt insulation system

design details based on your climate zone
There are many options and details to choose from and this site can teach a novice and an experienced builder a thing or two about integrated best practices for affordable and energy efficient construction. Explore and share!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Solar Impulse, St. Louis & The Sunflower+ Project

The Solar Impulse team came to down and included our Sunflower+ Project in their report on St. Louis. Here is a photo of the plane, followed by their video.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunflower+ Update

Our Sunflowers are growing nicely. We received a soil analysis and there are no environmental concerns on our site. We will finish up our wood bench tops in the next few weeks, among other tasks, and continue to monitor growth. Check out the pix below and compare with previous posts to see the growth rate.

We're also working on signage for the site, developing our web site, and developing a program to share with interested tour groups.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Trim Castle, County Meath

The oldest Norman castle still standing in Ireland. 800 year old masonry work is pretty remarkable. We took a tour that made its way to the roof of the castle keep, the chapel, food stores and more. Some might recognize the place as one of the sets used in 'Braveheart.' Photos by me unless captioned otherwise.

County Meath

Station House Hotel

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Long Room, Trinity College, Dublin

It is no secret that I love buildings and books. One of the great combinations of the two is the Long Room in the old library of Trinity College, Dublin. I just returned from the place and here are a few images from my visit.


from Louis Reilly

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunflower+/Land Lab Groundbreaking

Busy times since I last posted. Here are some pix from the last week or so:

digging up stone and brick, turning over the soil

beginning the seating walls

time lapse of soil turning

seedlings about ready

volunteers and crew tilling away

wiring cages and stone progress

team and mayor ready to begin planting

sunflowers rising

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunflower+ Project: StL Update

The weather has been problematic but our team has found ways to make progress on the farm as well as on site. The seedlings (as shown in previous post) are in progress and now we have some things going on at the site as well.

Last week saw the delivery of the first load of reclaimed foundation stone which will be used for our retaining wall/seating area.

Yesterday we started the layout and shot the grades for the excavator that will be coming on Tuesday morning.

Here is the mini track-hoe that will do the digging and plowing for us.

We'll also be working on setting up time-lapse photography for the site, setting up a project specific website and continuing to communicate through facebook and twitter as well. Please fin the project on twitter: @SunflowerStL on on facebook at:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rebuild Revisited

Almost 2 years ago I organized the installation (pix below) next to the Rebuild Foundation's building on Mallinckrodt. The project was based on the shadows the building cast on the adjacent lot as shown in this image:

now and during installation

I laid out the lines (see above) of the shadow with students working on the site as a way to commemorate their time on the site. The lot is, I believe, owned by the city and occasionally mowed with some kind of tractor. The bricks which rise/rose above the grade have not fared well.  Here are some more images from 2 years ago and the present.

then and now

then and now

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Color, Sales, Service

Marketing, products, color and decision making. Check out this graphic from :

I have all kinds of thoughts about who/what is served by such things and what it all might mean, but I will leave to the individuals stumbling across this to draw conclusions as he or she sees fit.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Starting the Seedlings

A handful of people from our Sunflower+ Project Team headed out to The Farm at Kraut Run this afternoon to start preparing seedlings for our Land Lab Project,

We mixed up a combination of sifted compost, lime, soil, vermiculite then added water and mixed again. This thick, muddy conglomeration is then stamped into 1-1/2" square blocks with a small depression for the seeds.

Once the seeds are planted some of the dry soil mix is sprinkled over the seeds. The growth will emerge from the soil in about a week and we'll have 1500 sunflower seedlings ready to plant by the 17th of May.

This method of starting seedlings does not require plastic cups. It is a good experience for a city guy, like myself, to get his hands dirty and come closer to understanding some of the best practices for low impact farming.

More pix later.