Sunday, February 21, 2010

Building Homes for the Homless in Reynosa, Mexico

Walt, my youngest, is headed to Mexico next month to spend his spring break building homes. It is a pretty cool way to get out in the world and be of service

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Glenn Ligon



Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

other blogs

Links to these blogs are on the right and there is some crossover and some synergies that seek to inform about art, design, architecture, construction and the built environment in the service of people and planet.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Becoming a LEED AP

This piece goes back goes back 6 months but I can attest to its validity. I helped a person, by providing the documentation mentioned below. The submittal was audited and I had to submit a business card as well in a case in which the person was extremely well qualified to be eligible to take the test.

For Future LEED APs: How to Document LEED Project Experience

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 4:33PMZach Rose in GBCI Exam Eligibility, GBCI Exam Requirements, LEED AP Documentation, LEED AP Eligibility, LEED AP Requirements, LEED Exam Requirements, LEED Project Experience, LEED Resources, Project Experience Documentation

Word has been spreading fast that you now need project experience to become a LEED Accredited Professional (AP), but many of us are still left wondering how to demonstrate it. According to the candidate handbooks for the new LEED AP specialty exams, there are specific requirements for demonstrating and documenting project experience.
The handbooks state that the project must have been registered (not necessarily certified), and that your last date of involvement needs to have taken place within the past three years. You must have a supervisor, client, project manager, or someone else qualified to evaluate your performance attest to your involvement in the project. This documentation needs to be in the form of a letter to GBCI. The language of the candidate handbooks is pretty vague in terms of the scope of your involvement, but ideally you should have been doing something LEED-related. It states that you can be involved as a “consultant, contracted worker, member of the LEED Project Team, LEED Homes Provider, LEED Commercial Reviewer, LEED Homes Green Verifier, or staff member of a Certifying Body (CB).” Note that the rating system associated with your project experience does not need to match the rating system you are testing under.
When you apply to take the exam, the website will prompt you for the following information:
1. The name of the LEED Project
2. The city, state, and country of the project
3. The rating system under which the project was registered/certified
4. The project’s start date
5. A letter from the project's supervisor/client/project manager describing your activities or role on the LEED project
GBCI auditors will review the letter of attestation based on the following requirements:
1. On official letterhead or other evidence of authenticity
2. Limited to 1,500 words or less
3. The letter must be dated
4. The letter must be authored and signed by a supervisor, client, project manager, or someone else qualified to evaluate the applicant’s performance
5. The author’s title and relationship to the applicant should be demonstrated; i.e. the author’s business card can be uploaded
6. The letter must summarize and confirm the applicant’s involvement with the LEED Project. The full name or Project ID for the LEED Project must be provided. The letter must provide the dates of the applicant’s relevant involvement
For a sample letter that Green Education Services has created using the aforementioned criteria, click here.
Regards,Zach Rose, LEED AP
CEO Green Education Services
http://www.greenedu.com/

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Faulkner in the NY Times

Faulkner and 'The Art of Construction?' I'm not a literary critic, but I am a big fan of William Faulkner. I spent the summers of my youth in Faulkner country and when I started reading Faulkner as an adult I saw the world I experienced as a kid unveiled. The quiet whispers and relationships I did not understand were now explained. Faulkner created a world that reveals plenty about the South and about humankind. His work is a literary edifice, a cultural and existential construction and well worth the effort.
February 11, 2010

Diary That Inspired Faulkner Discovered
By PATRICIA COHEN
The climactic moment in William Faulkner’s 1942 novel “Go Down, Moses” comes when Isaac McCaslin finally decides to open his grandfather’s leather farm ledgers with their “scarred and cracked backs” and “yellowed pages scrawled in fading ink” — proof of his family’s slave-owning past. Now, what appears to be the document on which Faulkner modeled that ledger as well as the source for myriad names, incidents and details that populate his fictionalized Yoknapatawpha County has been discovered.
The original manuscript, a diary from the mid-1800s, was written by Francis Terry Leak, a wealthy plantation owner in Mississippi whose great-grandson Edgar Wiggin Francisco Jr. was a friend of Faulkner’s since childhood. Mr. Francisco’s son, Edgar Wiggin Francisco III, now 79, recalls the writer’s frequent visits to the family homestead in Holly Springs, Miss., throughout the 1930s, saying Faulkner was fascinated with the diary’s several volumes. Mr. Francisco said he saw them in Faulker’s hands and remembers that he “was always taking copious notes.”
Specialists have been stunned and intrigued not only by this peephole into Faulkner’s working process, but also by material that may have inspired this Nobel-prize-winning author, considered by many to be one of the greatest American novelists of the 20th century.
“I think it’s one of the most sensational literary discoveries of recent decades,” said John Lowe, an English professor at Louisiana State University who is writing a book on Faulkner. He was one of a handful of experts who met Dr. Francisco at the hand-hewn log house in Holly Springs last month. There they saw the windowpane where a cousin, Ludie Baugh, etched the letters L-U-D-I-E into the glass while watching Confederate soldiers march by — a scene that appears in several Faulkner works.
During the gathering Dr. Francisco, known in childhood as Little Eddie, described how Faulkner stood in front of that window and said, “ ‘She’s still here,’ like she was a ghost,” Professor Lowe recalled.
Dr. Francisco, speaking by telephone from his home in Atlanta, remembered hearing Faulkner rant as he read Leak’s pro-slavery and pro-Confederacy views: “Faulkner became very angry. He would curse the man and take notes and curse the man and take more notes.”
Sally Wolff-King, a scholar of Southern literature at Emory University who uncovered the connection between the author and the journal, called it “a once-in-a-lifetime literary find.”
“The diary and a number of family stories seem to have provided the philosophical and thematic power for some of his major works,” she added.
Names of slaves owned by Leak — Caruthers, Moses, Isaac, Sam, Toney, Mollie, Edmund and Worsham — all appear in some form in “Go Down, Moses.” Other recorded names, like Candis (Candace in the book) and Ben, show up in “The Sound and The Fury” (1929) while Old Rose, Henry, Ellen and Milly are characters in “Absalom, Absalom!” (1936). Charles Bonner, a well-known Civil War physician mentioned in the diary, would also seem to be the namesake of Charles Bon in “Absalom.”
Scholars found Faulkner’s decision to give his white characters the names of slaves particularly arresting. Professor Wolff-King said she believes he was “trying to recreate the slaves lives and give them a voice.”
Dr. Francisco says he is still very uncomfortable that his family’s connection to Faulkner has come to light. “I wouldn’t have done it at all,” he said about publicizing the diary. “My wife urged me until I finally did it,” he said of Anne Salyerds Francisco, his wife of 50 years. “She pushed and Sally pulled.”
“There were long-repressed things that Faulkner uncovered that I didn’t know were in the family,” Dr. Francisco explained, adding that his father never talked about Leak and his slave-owning past. “I just bottled all that up and forgot about it.”
Dr. Francisco said that neither he nor his father ever read much of Faulkner’s work, including “Go Down, Moses.”
“I tried to read that book years ago,” he said, “but I got so angry I threw it across the room, and it stayed there for months.” He said he now might give it another go.
The mothers of Faulkner and of Dr. Francisco’s father were close. The boys went to each other’s childhood birthday parties. Later they double dated and became hunting and drinking buddies, remaining friends until their 40s, when they drifted apart, a situation probably encouraged by Mr. Francisco’s wife, who did not approve of Faulkner’s drinking, smoking and cursing.
Professor Wolff-King had been working on a book about people who knew Faulkner and ended up connecting with Dr. Francisco because he was an alumnus of Emory. When she visited his home in Atlanta, his wife suggested he show the professor a typescript copy of the ledger. Included was a facsimile of a page that listed dollar amounts paid for individual slaves.
“At that moment I realized this diary may not only have influenced the ledger and slave sale record in ‘Go Down, Moses’ but also likely served an important source for much of William Faulkner’s work,” said Professor Wolff-King, who has spent 30 years studying the writer.
A short preview of her findings is in the fall 2009 issue of The Southern Literary Journal; her book “Ledgers of History: William Faulkner, an Almost Forgotten Friendship, and an Antebellum Diary,” is due out in June from Louisiana State University Press.
Professor Lowe reviewed the manuscript before publication. To protect against leaks the editor arranged a meeting in a coffee shop. “He gave me the manuscript in a plain brown wrapper, and I was sworn to secrecy,” he said.
“I was electrified when I was reading it,” he said. “Faulkner had a very intense and intellectual relationship with Dr. Francisco’s father,” which seems to have formed “the basis of some of the conversations you find in ‘Absalom, Absalom!’ and ‘Go Down, Moses.’ ”
The Leak papers are not unfamiliar to scholars. The family donated the journal, which includes the plantation accounts as well as descriptive sections, to the University of North Carolina in 1946 and received a typescript copy of the material that runs 1,800 pages. The original documents have been used by Southern economists and social historians for their insights into Mississippi’s plantation life, but no one has previously been aware that Faulkner, who died in 1962, had any connection to them.
Professor Wolff-King argues that elements and terms from the diary repeatedly surface in Faulkner’s work, including the ticking sound of a watch that Quentin Compson is obsessed with in “The Sound and the Fury”; descriptions of building a plantation match Thomas Sutpen’s in “Absalom, Absalom!”
Noel Polk, the editor of The Mississippi Quarterly and among the deans of Faulkner scholars, said, “I was surprised at the discovery of what is so clearly a major piece of information about his life, and maybe his work.”
He and others said it was still too early for them to gauge just how significant the diary is without reading Professor Wolff-King’s book and examining the ledgers themselves, especially when it comes to the more common details about the antebellum and Civil War eras.
“Almost every document that you can come up with that Faulkner used is interesting, but the question is what do you do with it,” Judith L. Sensibar, whose biography “Faulkner and Love: The Women Who Shaped His Art” was published last year. What does it tell us, for instance, about his “obsession with the ways in which slavery has disfigured the lives of both the slaves and their masters?” she asked.
Although literary experts have been taken aback by this unexpected find, Faulkner more than anyone would have understood how the past can unpredictably poke its nose into the present.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Architecture Section

http://www.stlouisartistsguild.org/new/sections is a link to the Artist's Guild website which introduces the Architecture Section. Check it out and stop by our next meeting on Thursday, February 25th at 7PM at the Guild. We'll start planning our first show and other ways to engage the community.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Green Development Near SIU-E


Rock Hill Trails is a just a few minutes from the SIU-E campus and 20 minutes from downtown St. Louis. Click here to jump to the development website and check out the details and features of the green neighborhood.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

from the St. Louis Beacon

After the earthquake, small houses help teach big lessons


By Kristen Hare, Beacon staff

Posted 4:10 p.m. Tues., 02.02.10 - The instructions are simple, the materials really just scrap. Take cardboard or matboard and cut tiny triangles, rectangles and squares. Assemble a little house. Color or paint it.
Then seal it, add a pin to the back and sell it.
Easy enough.
But the art created by kids at a St. Louis elementary school wasn't just an art project.
It was, instead, a lesson in how something small, like a child or a tiny pin, can do and mean big things.
At Mason School of Academic and Cultural Literacy in the Clifton Heights neighborhood, news of the earthquake in Haiti hit hard for students and faculty because one of the teacher's assistants, Marcelle Theodor, is Haitian.
Theodor arrived at school the day after the earthquake, unaware how bad things really were.
That same day, art teacher Karen Norman got an idea through an e-mail. Norman learned of Haitihouses.org , a project started by two Florida high school art teachers. With cardboard or matboard scraps, the project calls for the creation of tiny, bright house-shaped pins, made and then sold by students. The website recommends a number of organizations for which to donate that money.
As Norman and her students got busy creating the pins, learning about the disaster in Haiti, the crumbled houses and what they could do, Theodor learned of the loss of life and homes in Haiti, too.
It took her a week to contact her brothers and sisters in Port-Au-Prince, to find out their homes were all flattened, and that she'd lost some cousins.
"And so we wanted to do something for her family," Norman says.
Students at Mason made the pins, which Norman and another teacher took home to finish, and they showed Theodor that she wasn't alone.

"It went deep into my heart," says Theodor, who says she didn't expect the show of support or devotion from the school. "And I felt that I have family that is comforting me over here."
Having a teacher from Haiti, a direct link to understand the disaster, helped take the earthquake from the abstract, says principal Deborah Leto, to the personal.
"It wasn't just some horror playing on TV."
The pins were sold for $1 for students and at least $2 for teachers. Norman says students made about 300, and about $800 was raised from their sale. Students also paid $1 to wear hats to school, and teachers paid $5 to wear jeans that day. The total raised was $1,200.
The school had hoped to send the money to Theodor's family, but her family said there was nothing to buy, and so instead the school gave the money to the Red Cross last week. They were told the organization would do their best to get it to Theodor's village.
Norman, whom Leto says has the heart of a social worker, says Mason's student population is made up of kids with diverse backgrounds. About one-third are ESL students, some who are recent immigrants. Students come from Somalia, Iraq, Burundi and Myanmar, and there's a small Hispanic population of students as well. Some of the students know what it's like to come from a place where shelter isn't a sure thing, she says.
But Leto thinks many of the kids, who were born here, don't have a direct connection with war or disaster.
Instead, she thinks, they just get it.
"Kids aren't as inattentive to the world as we think they are."
The school doesn't have any plans for any more fundraisers, but the buzz around the house pins isn't over yet. On Monday, Norman says, a kindergartner who had scraped up 50 cents approached her.
"And she said, Ms. Norman, can I get a pin?"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Habitat in Old North

Contemporary materials, high performance, neighborhood scale and respect for the heritage of Old North will make 2010 Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis' finest year. These homes will shoot for LEED Platinum certification.