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Note: Design Forward LLC is proud to have served the Southern California area designing straw bale homes for over 15 years. However, we have moved on to other business ventures and have closed the business as of January 2017. We will not taking any new projects or responding to phone and email requests. This website will be left up as an archive of data for straw bale and design. You may find that some of the links are broken or out of date, but we will not be updating this site any longer. Thank you!
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February / March 2005
Sustainable Concepts )
Design Forward Newsletter February / March 2005, vol. 24
in this issue
  • Opinion: A Different Way to Build
  • The Barcelona Pavilion
  • Happy Birthday Design Forward
  • Feedback


    Welcome to the February / March 2005 newsletter from Design Forward. I would like to apologize for not publishing the newsletter last month. I was traveling in Spain. The newsletter is back on schedule and will be published once a month. Thanks for understanding. Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.

    Quote of the Month: "Precision is not reality."
    - Henri Mattisse

    Lisa Van Veen

    Opinion: A Different Way to Build

    The following article was written by Tim Peppin:
    For a month last summer I worked under a carpenter on a large housing project. There were four floors in the house I was working on, each at a different stage of development. The lowest floor had hardly been touched at all; it was a confusing gauntlet of wood jacks, studs, pillars and crossbeams. The second floor was another network of wood, but the plywood floors were now covered in two-inch-thick sheets of concrete; the third was filled with immense piles of paints, primers, and grouts, stacks of drywall 50 sheets thick, fibreglass tubs and fibreglass insulation. The fourth floor was almost finished. Hundreds of sheets of chemically treated drywall had been hung, hundreds of litres of toxic and impermeable paint had been applied, and dense pillows of glass had been inserted into all of the wood-framed walls.

    The building's exterior was made of a thick skin of plywood, covered over with plastics and fabricated stone panels. Tarred and chemically treated shingles covered its roof and littered the ground. Two dumpsters 20 feet long and eight feet high were filled with waste in mere days, emptied, and then refilled. The contractors were irritable and obsessed with speed. Waste and inefficiency abounded. I was appalled.

    Still more appalling was the realization that all of our buildings are made in this manner, including our own homes. We satisfy the need for long-lasting materials and a comfortable environment not through good design and intelligent configuration, but by treating products with toxic preservatives and sealants, by burning large amounts of fossil fuels to regulate the interiors of our buildings, and by using prefabricated materials that encourage waste. In our search for strong and uniform building materials, we have taken to cutting down vast expanses of old-growth forest and using products which are extremely energy intensive to create and which will not naturally decompose for thousands of years.

    Article Tim Peppin. Picture Ted Owens.

    The Barcelona Pavilion

    In honor of my trip to Barcelona, I wanted to showcase on of the architects who influenced my life and my designs. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is considered on the founders of modern architecture. He was commissioned to create an exhibition space for the King and Queen of Spain for the 1929 World Exposition at Barcelona. This building only stood for one year, but was reconstructed in 1959 in Barcelona. One of the most famous features of this structure was the chairs he designed. The Barcelona Chair is one of the most recognized chair designs.

    "The Barcelona pavilion...was without practical purpose. No functional programme determined or even influenced its appearance. No part of its interior was taken up by exhibits: the building itself was the object on view and the 'exhibition' was an architectural space such as had never been seen." - Martin Pawley, introduction and notes, Yukio Futagawa, photographs. Mies van der Rohe. p15.

    Article & Picture Lisa Van Veen

    Happy Birthday Design Forward

    Happy Birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, Design Forward. Happy birthday to you.

    March 1st marks Design Forward's 3rd year in business. We want to thank everyone who has helps us come this far.


    Design Forward works toward promoting Sustainable Design. If you know of a project that should be featured, please contact us. Let us know why you think it should be featured and give us a basic intro to the project, the sustainable elements and any websites or contact information.

    If you would like to submit a fun and/or entertaining quote about architecture, building, the environment or such, send it in! If it at all possible, include the author.

    If you have any other feedback concerning this publication, please feel free to send an email or use the form.

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    Revised March 7, 2005