Start Small, Think Big: Building Green Dollhouses

July 1, 2004

A new competition invites designers to create a doll's-eye view of a healthier world. The Green Dollhouse Project Team is calling on design professionals and students to create dollhouses that inspire both kids and adults to take steps to make their own homes a little healthier and easier on the environment. The dollhouses will be judged by two simple criteria: Are they "dishy doll dwellings" that hold up to active play and delight both children and adults? And do they offer "great green guidance" about one or more aspects of sustainable home design?

Because many people still think of green building—energy efficiency, water conservation, the use of non-toxic building materials and other sustainable practices—as a bewildering subject best left to the experts, the Green Dollhouse Project Competition aims to help change that perception. Additionally, participants can create any type of dwelling on a 23- by 35-inch "lot" as they like—single-doll homes or dolly condos in whatever style appeals. The scale will be the traditional one inch equals one foot.

Winning dollhouses will be selected by a panel of jurors, including David Arkin of Arkin Tilt Architects; Topher Delaney of SEAM Studio; Elizabeth Hennings from Coyote Point Museum; Shellie Kazan of Shellie's Miniature Mania; Sharon Refvem from Hawley Peterson & Snyder Architects; Jennifer Roberts, author of Good Green Homes; Katie Sosnowchik of Interiors & Sources magazine; and Peter Whiteley from Sunset magazine. Following the competition, the dollhouses will be featured at a green building exhibition at Coyote Point Museum in the fall of 2005. The exhibit will then tour nationally in 2006.

The Green Dollhouse Project partners include: Architects/ Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADSPR), American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Francisco and San Mateo County chapters, Coyote Point Museum, the Northern California Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, San Mateo County RecycleWorks, Sustainable San Mateo County, and media partners Interiors & Sources and Sunset.

Applications to participate, along with an entry fee of $25 for students and $50 for professionals, must be submitted no later than October 15, 2004. Doll-houses need to be completed and delivered by December 15, 2004. To obtain a registration packet, visit

Exploring Window Management and Daylighting StrategiesP

roper window management is a prerequisite for effective daylighting," said Jan Berman, president and CEO of MechoShade Systems, Inc., during the Daylighting Institute at Lightfair International 2003, Las Vegas, NV. Berman, a speaker at the Institute, explained in his presentation on window management that one of the reasons daylighting is growing in importance is the increasing demand for more
sustainable building design.

Daylighting can reduce energy consumption and peak demand costs, which can result in less fossil fuel being burned. Nationally, this is significant as 77 million MWh of electricity are consumed in the United States each year for lighting buildings' perimeter zones where daylight already is present, according to calculations from information reported in a study on daylighting sponsored by the California Institute for Energy Efficiency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Daylighting also may allow architects to reduce the size—and cost—of heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment, the savings of which can be applied to the cost of automated shading.

Appropriate window management plus daylighting can increase worker productivity, improve the healing process in health centers and enhance learning environments. Before those benefits can be achieved, however, daylighting design must solve the issues of excessive heat gain and brightness and glare on CRTs and work surfaces. Glare on CRTs, for example, has been blamed for reducing the percentage of man-hours worked, lowering employee efficiency and response time, and raising worker stress and healthcare costs. These issues are especially sensitive when the building utilizes high visible light transmission glazing.

"Proper window management makes daylighting feasible," Berman explained. Window
management includes systems that solve heat, glare and other personal comfort issues. It also complements such daylighting principles, design and systems as allowing for views to the outside and maintaining the integrity of interior and exterior building aesthetics. Solar shading systems meet the goal of window management and daylighting because they complement the solar geometry of the sun and use visually transparent shade cloths.
Complementing the sun's solar geometry is important because the sun is dynamic. It appears to move in two planes: from east to west and from sunrise to sunset. Visually transparent shade cloth controls solar penetration, thus controlling glare and brightness, while maintaining a view through and under a partially drawn roller screen.

Solar shading also can complement light harvesting designs that incorporate a lightshelf for beam daylighting. A solar shade can be mounted below the lightshelf to provide window management for the vision glass. The shade also can be added above the lightshelf to manage excessive surface brightness during winter when the sun's low angle may create a problem of excessive brightness in the clerestory window.

A Hoffman/LaRoche building in New Jersey, for example, uses prism glass above the lightshelf to beam light across the ceiling. MechoShades mounted beneath the lightshelf provide glare and heat control in the vision glass. Fully automated roller screens in the prow and conference areas move according to the profile angle of the sun. Automatic tracking considers the latitude and orientation of each building zone, window opening dimensions and solar time and profile angle of the sun by zone. It also adjusts for local climatic conditions and allowable solar penetration.

Eco-friendly Camping

Ecoshack has launched a competition to design an environmentally sustainable camping shelter—a green tent—for use in the Mojave Desert in and around Joshua Tree National Park in California. The competition is open to anyone with innovative design ideas inspired by Southern California's green lifestyle: architects, interior designers, product and furniture designers, graphic designers, artists, design students, campers. Collaborative and multi-disciplinary design teams are encouraged.

Ecoshack is a green design laboratory and creative off-site facility based in Joshua Tree and Los Angeles, whose goal is to use environments and experiences to trigger positive change in consumer behavior. Ecoshack helps individuals, teams and corporations to create, brand and market green design and lifestyle options in a way that captures the emotions, identities and passions of a new generation of green consumers. Ecoshack uses its five-acre demonstration site in Joshua Tree as a testing ground for green ideas.

Jurors for the competition include designer David Erdman of servo, SKDP graphic designer Stephen Kinder, Ecoshack founder Stephanie Smith and artist Andrea Zittel. Winning entries will receive cash prizes and will be prototyped on Ecoshack's five-acre demonstration site in Joshua Tree. All entries will be exhibited in Joshua Tree from October 23 to 24, 2004 during the High Desert Test Sites event.

On-line pre-registration is required by July 30, 2004. Submittal deadline is August 11, 2004. Winners will be notified on August 25, 2004.

For additional information, visit

Sponsored Recommendations

An All-Star Team Reimagines the Historic Fulton Fish Market

The 1907 Tin Building travels seaward to its now Pier 17 location as Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s latest culinary endeavor, carried by fellow New Yorkers designers Roman and Williams...

ASID Report Examines the Rise of Adaptive Reuse

Read on to see which CRE markets are benefiting and how are they riding the renovation wave.

The November IG Takeover: CRÈME Architecture & Design

Get to know founder Jun Aizaki and learn how you can host a takeover of your own.

The 2023 i+s Editors’ Holiday Gift Guide

It's back! Check out some of our editors' must-have gifts this holiday season, and come back throughout December for more.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of I+S Design, create an account today!