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7/17/09

Sustainable Landscape Architecture For The Land Surrounding The Prefab House


Ohhhhhhhh this off grid zero energy prefab house is never going to be done.
Ohhhhhhhh I'm exhausted (but excited).

Ohhhhhhhh. Wait a second: Once the prefab house kit is done, there's more to do:
The Land.

Ohhhhhhhh.

Well, thanks to the sustainable landscape architect Heather Barber of Topos LLC, our sustainable land management plan has been expanded beyond crop tree release and bush hogging.

And if you thought it took long to build the prefab house, wait until we journey years to gently shape the land to function more sustainably.

Great. I just set myself up with decades of more work. ; ) And we have no money.
But the landscape architecture plan by Topos is delicious.

And I mean that literally: There's blueberries and a root cellar in them thar plans!


So, c'mon, what are you waiting for? Let's check it out!

Heather Barder of Topos Land Planning Design Richmond
From Heather, the landscape architect of Topos LLC:
"casa-ti is a remarkable example of how far prefab residential architecture has come. this greenmodernkits kit home is located on 55 acres in a heritage area in the western portion of virginia. the most exciting yet challenging thing about the casa ti project is that it contradicts any idea that the landscape is a stayed design, or an anchor for the architecture. we are taking a very historical site contextually speaking and turning it on its ear...creating a post modern design that connects the home with it’s expansive environs. i think the opportunity to design a functionally sustainable, yet whimsical site plan for casa ti is a true honor and an evolutionary process. we are talking about the first kit / prefab modern home that is completely ‘off-grid’ / fully sustainable in the state of virginia.* this shows that the greenmodernkit home can translate anywhere, in any capacity. it is my job and again, opportunity, to create that threshold between the prefab sustainable home and the environs in which the owners choose to site it. this is a luxury for me. i can take a very simple form of architecture, which has it’s own inherent beauty in that it’s simple, and connect it to it’s site through the landscape architecture. whether it is urban, sub-urban, or farmland, the modern pre-fabricated homes that are greenmodernkit homes do, in fact speak the language of their location. and it’s a language that is very sensitive to the people living in it as well as the environment."

[ *Heather said we're the first off grid prefab in Virginia, I haven't heard of any others, but I don't know for sure if that's true... will research, but no, I haven't heard of any other modern prefabs that are off grid here... ]

Wow, Heather, I'm honored by your words! When Topos originally inquired into what our landscape architecture would be, I laughed and replied, "Um... a bush hogg, Handsome Husband and a shovel?"

I thank Topos immeasurably for giving OUR FAMILY the opportunity, through their experience, to turn an abandoned, briar-filled plot into, one day, a sustainable farm.

So... let's go through it:

  • Starting with field #1, Topos created a figure 8 access road which allows us to easily navigate the drive, house, and shed while maintaining the field. This eight acre field was previously farmed. By bush hogging it regularly we have been reducing the briars which had cropped up before we bought it, and will start planting cover crops to enrich the soil this fall. Wildlife such as quail will be encouraged through allowing patches to not be mowed but to create the habitat quail, turkey, and rabbits enjoy.
  • I also envision field #1 being used to grow potatoes and garlic...
  • Field #2 is downhill from the house kit. Rainwater will easily help irrigate it.
The area around the prefab house is geared for high traffic and fun...
more on that in a minute!
  • Back to Field #2: Being downhill, rainwater will naturally run towards this plot, and if you can look closely Topos has created furrows and a collection area for water- which is the way they used to irrigate fields in times past.
  • Not only will we be using that existing field for crops but it will also harbor fruit and nut trees, and a berry hedge.
  • This area is surrounded by woods that had been cut-over twenty-ish years ago. Lots of pine, cedar, but a surprising amount of diversity in the trees- poplar, birch, hickory, walnut...
Ok, let's get to the prefab house kit area:


  • Pavers made with recycled fly ash for high-traffic areas in poor soil areas
  • Cisterns for rainwater collection
  • Baffle (you always wanted to know what a baffle was, didn't you?)
  • Root Cellar
  • Terrace for High Traffic Areas
  • Retention Pool (more on what this does later...)
  • Blueberry Hedge
  • Berm to lounge against while watching Casa Blanca projected onto the side of the prefab house like David Day always wanted to do with a bunch o' friends
  • ...and more...
I will go into this, and more, later, but in the meantime need to pack up for another camping weekend in the prefab house kit! In the meantime, check out Topos, a modern landscape architecture firm!

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1 Comments:

At 4/2/12, 12:16 PM , Anonymous Cindy said...

Such a great article which this shows that the greenmodernkit home can translate anywhere, in any capacity. it is my job and again, opportunity, to create that threshold between the prefab sustainable home and the environs in which the owners choose to site it. this is a luxury for me. it can take a very simple form of architecture, which has it’s own inherent beauty in that it’s simple, and connect it to it’s site through the landscape architecture. whether it is urban, sub-urban, or farmland, the modern pre-fabricated homes that are greenmodernkit homes do, in fact speak the language of their location. and it’s a language that is very sensitive to the people living in it as well as the environment.Thanks for sharing this article

 

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