ReturnTo: Domicile Design Development
Domicile One Bibliography
gathered from Fall of 2010 through the Spring of 2011
Below are annotations providing information about the underlying premises of Domicile and this approach to living an affordable, healthy life in the world of today. Domicile is not the solution for everyone everywhere. It is a concept with broad applicability that can be implemented now in many different ecoloigcal and political-economic circumstances. When I conceived Domicile I lived in Phoenix. Gas was 35 cents a gallon and an average 2,200 square foot, three bedroom home with appliances, airconditioning, carpets and drapes, on an acre of land, sold for $22,000 which 40% of those living in the area could afford. Or so they thought...
In some ways, the circumstances from the world of Phoenix Arizona in the the 60s to the recession and ecological circumstances of today seem like a great distance from one another. In fact they are not. What was being built - and how it was financed then - was no more sustainable and sensible than now. It is just more apparent given the recent collapse of the housing market even as business and political leaders call for “solving” the present crises and returning to those “normal, good” times. In fact, we are only experiencing the opening chapters which will reveal the true costs of the American Dream Home. Does this mean the single family home can never work. Of course not. It cannot be the solution it was promoted to be and it cannot be done as it was done. It will take many design strategies to achieve the variety of housing and living-work styles necessary for our present and future time. All of the old forms will have to be re conceived and many new ones created to provide what we need. And, we have to re conceive our idea and practice of economy-ecology. Not only will designs like Domicile find their place in a future robust solution set, Domicile can play a key role in the transition to this more stable condition. Domiciles provide a way of living better today while we are reinventing tomorrow. And, they can be a precursor to structures - on and off planet - which we cannot yet build and may need for our future. In any case, we do not have to give up living well in order to deal with the circumstances of our time. We only have to design and build with these circumstances in mind.
If there is a tragedy in our present human circumstance it is to be seen in the huge gap between the abundance of our accumulated knowledge and the poverty of our social-economic premises and design solutions which we try over and over despite prolific evidence of their failure. We already possesses all of the knowledge and technology to create Domiciles and many other forms of viable living and work environments. And, by this this I do not mean just in the narrow sense of how to build a building. Humankind has sufficient knowledge of all the necessary categories: governance, social and cultural, economic, ecological and the many skills and crafts necessary to keep a stable community functioning. What is profiled below is but an example of this legacy. A domicile does require a new mix of ideas, technologies, practices, knowledge and the practical arts. Some are 10,000 years old and too often discounted by a false modernist conceit. Some well established in many places of our world and often ignored in others. Some are emerging from a fresh vision of a different future for Humanity. All are necessary. We already have far more knowledge about these things that any of us can know alone. And this knowledge is growing daily. Our deficit is our failure to put this knowledge to work with powerful collaborative processes, good design and focused action. What follows here is a fraction of what is available. It should not only make the case for Domicile but also encourage more exploration and many more new insights of the possible.
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social, economic and governance issues, methods and systems
A design contest to see if an editor of a magazine can live, work and entertain in a 420 square foot New York City apartment. He will build and live in the result - a mini X Prize for sensible design.
Questioning home ownership and financing 70 years ago Melchior Palyi said home ownership would tie people down, lead to inflation and that investment-grade bonds would go bust.
A Wired piece on the liabilities of the ownership society and the trend toward Rentership. Writer Chris Suellentrop calls for “infinite abundance, on demand.”
These pieces from Good, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, SF Gate, Yes!, People and place, and the New York Times, are not about Domicile. It is Domicile which offers a design strategy to address the issues they report. We must design for our time and for the future. Build on positive trends and attenuate negative ones - this is the path to individual and social freedom. Domiciles are the creation of the free market. They step forward in livability not back. They deal with pervasive conditions yet do not react to them.
In Our Banana Republic, Nicholas D. Kristof writes about the growing disparity of earnings and wealth in the U.S. A CEO’s earning to a worker was 42 times in 1980 and 531 in 2001.
An animation: When Human’s Ruled the earth - did we ever? I think not. Did we try to - yes. In doing so we killed a lot of life. In the end the Earth will go on. Will we?
Common Security Clubs have sprung up in the U.S. in response to the 2008 financial melt down. They are developing many facilitation techniques as well as political advocacy.
This piece is about the inability of small towns and cities to provide services in today’s economy - the same issue of resource and organizational redundancy on a higher organizational recursion level.
The role of the COMMONS and the rules for maintaining “commoning.” “The Commons - Prosperity by Sharing” discusses commons ownership - “being co-owners of our common goods.”
There has been a persistent premise that the economics of a personal house is predominately a fact of money affordability (what do I have to spend) as if the building itself has no impact of the economy of the individual or the larger economy as a whole. Of a period of time (late 60s to 2007), the personal habitat became an investment to trade up and therefore a means to wealth. This meant the choice what to build or buy was dominated by those who interpreted what the “market” wanted. This drove every large feature dominated designs. This concept is at present largely repudiated. What we build clearly effects ecology and economy with energy cost being but one example. It also greatly impacts the creativity and thus true economy of individuals and their peer groups.
Witold Rybczynki 1991 article on 1,000 sq ft house experiment and history of U.S. house size growth and financing. The Domicile concept offered an alternative long before the crises and still does.
“The Elusive Small House Utopia” tells the story of a confused market and attempts to provide alternatives to what has became a bloated dream.
A continuously updating meter of key human statistics. A clear showing of where many of our problems are and why lowering cost and impacts and redefining the “good life” are important.
An interview with Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From (see below). Note his comments about the effect of environment and social interaction on creativity and innovation.
site design, landscape, food growing, recycling methods and transportation systems
A steel wire system for supporting vertical planting for trellises and walls. Berms and green walls are becoming an essential design strategy for both heating/cooling abatement and food production.
Article hi lights the re-opening of the NTC Roosevelt Island Tramway and the loyalty of its users. There are many ways to get around buildings, cities and mega structures each with their charm.
Map of factory farming brings out many issues. The design of urban areas cannot be approached outside that of suburbs, manufacturing and farming. It is an integrated system just not a good one.
U.S. Forest Service analysis of trees in the urban environment and comes up with billions in value and millions in annual savings. This is true on all levels from homes to cities, regions and planet.
Eathous is an “eatable architecture” project which demonstrates house the built environment can be green is the literal sense adding beauty and practical local food production to any project.
individual and group economies
An interesting story, about an ultra-small house, which makes two points: the conditions living which many now face and how a small space can be made to work. A Domicile can do more with less.
With Car sales, the idea is to sell the car with the car company keeping ownership of the batteries and providing swap stations for a fee. Different kinds of Capital. Applicable to Domicile concept.
The Soul of the Community Project of the Knight Foundation’s report on what “attaches people to their community?” The Domicile concept rests on these factors - both internal and external recursions.
This article by Esther Dyson addresses the issue of start-ups, financing and the cultural of the “hero entrepreneur.” Creating a home for entrepreneurs is one application of the Domicile concept.
ecological contex - water, energy, heating and cooling systems
Combining solar and wind, as a system, can be useful technology on a large scale and perhaps also on the scale of a subdivision or even, eventually a single Domicile, by utilizing waste heat.
Video on John Todd, winner of 2008 Fuller award, and his ecological design work since 1981. “Eco-machines” that naturally filter water at half cost, low maintenance, beautiful landscapes.
Combining solar and wind, as a system and employing hydrogen as a storage medium is in my mind the best candidate for a Domicile energy system. Here is a demonstration development in Denmark.
The Helix wind generator is one of many technologies adaptable to small projects and group of habitats. This is a nicely designed product and it is only going to get better and more affordable.
Business for Fuel Cells outlines the economic case for fuel cells as an energy source for buildings. The lower costs and longer life of the cells are now making them economically competitive.
“World energy use could be reduced 73% by conservation alone.” The issue is to do this while increasing the standard of living not reducing it as so many fear - Domicile does both by design.
2010: A Year of Extreme Weather profiles the deaths, disruption of and destruction to civilization and predicts that there is more to come. The design of our infrastructure is not requisite with this activity.
Nano Tech smart wall absorbs heat for later release. “The system could potentially lead to ultra-efficient homes that eliminate the need for central heating, significantly cutting carbon emissions.”
materials and construction methods and systems
Criteria for judging the “greenness” of a product. With “green” becoming the new thing, it is necessary to look deeper than the claims and look at the total life-cycle impact on the environment.
personal work and living spaces and furniture systems, equipment and tooling
Why not human powered tools? Effecient, provides exercise, fail safe from most diasters and turns consumer into user. treehugger provides a great example for the kitchen.
work, lifestyle options
Cities of different sizes draw upon different types of skills. As they get larger they require higher levels of analytical and social intelligence. True, at all scales. It is density times rate of interaction.
“Why We Love the Places We Love” - A three year study of 26 cites reveals that when people love the culture of their town economic prosperity follows.
What is true for a city is true for a region, country and planet - it is also true for the level of recursion of an organization and extended “Family” unit like a Domicile: diversity and interaction matters.
the next 50 years
newgeography article on The Rise of the Efficient City documents the negative aspects of megacities and the growth of medium size cities with the benefits and not the problems. This will go back and forth.
Article forecasts the dislocation and lose of homes for billions given a 4 degree increase in temperature. Where Domiciles are built is important as is their role as an affordable alternative to sprawl.
1al story of farmer Jack Hedin, about the effect of climate change,whose family has been farming since the late 1800s. We have to address the large issue and also prepare for local adaptations.
NASA maps showing temperature rise over recent decades. No matter the causes, and there are many, we are a causal agent and will have to live with the result. This requires a new architecture.
The melting of ice in the Arctic exposes mummified forest from a prior warmer period. This provides researchers clues to how the Arctic responds to weather change.
Buildings last a long time. 50 years is a short window to consider when creating any habitat. No matter how “green” we can get and no matter how efficient, the ecological and capital costs of building will remain high relative to other aspects of our ecology-economy. We should choose carefully when, where and how we build and what we build. We should build for graceful adaptation made necessary by new requirements and technologies abandoning the build tear down rebuild cycle common today.
100% renewable energy, globally, is possible within 20 to 40 years with the technology we have now. Both economic and ecological requirements can be met.
Mega-city concept for Siberia indicates how the scars of the Industrial Era might be turned into livable habitats. My comments on this project at “ time to railroad.”
A Domicile-like concept that is both an example and likely-to-happen ARK project sometime/someplace in the next 50 years and sooner rather then later given our present path of neglect.
Demonstration that we are in the era of megacities by intent not just as a consequence of random growth. Now, the challenge is to design them properly.
Foster + Partners designs the Masdar Institute Campus: “independent of any power grid, develops a surplus of 60 percent of its own energy needs, processes its waste water on-site which is recycled.”
A story about go-thermal hybrid system cooling a 1920s house in the Phoenix summers. Combining solar and wind with geothermal may be necessary for most Domiciles.
E Magazine Reports on passive solar energy projects in a piece titled “Just Add Body Heat.” A number of new and retrofit projects are covered. Once more: start passive, then add what is needed.
A presentation by Tedd Benson on Open Build Strategy - these are methods I have promoted for decades. This is how to build and certainly how a Domicile and postUsonians have to be created.
Amsterdam is using technology and the tools to use and experience the city in a new way. This will happen more everywhere and will alter the relationship of the individual to the urban context.
“Parking Strip Becomes Garden with Free Produce for Neighbors”, again, viability of urban gardening. Reduce footprint and share transportation and free the landscape.
The “Leaf House” shown in this slide show, although on one small earth sheltered space provides a a good sense of how the grammar of a Domicile will be like especially in the greenhouse and PODs.
Vestenskov, the world’s first hydrogen city is, as of 2010, half way through testing hydrogen technologies. If this works economically, the next step will be to test smaller and larger scales.
Domicile personal spaces are efficient and as generous as an individual wants to support. Minimalist projects like this one, built by a Chinese design student, teach us a great deal about space use.
Treehugger take on the Lolland hydrogen community with maps showing location. There are also links to commentary regarding use of hydrogen energy solutions for housing.
The Sustainable Cities and Treehugger articles on the Vestenskov-Lolland hydrogen prototype are significant to Domicile and all of MG Taylor-tsmARCHITECTURE client and self initiated design work. Most, hydrogen applications, to date, have been focused on space, transportation and large scale energy projects. These are expensive and challenging applications due to the size-weight requirements of space and transportation and the complexities of large scale energy systems. At last, as I have long advocated, we have a house, small community scale application. Thus scale, size and weight are not as critical as the energy plant does not have to move and fit into a small space - an easier problem to solve and at the place where a great deal of energy is now consumed.

Here is a project by a great architect, Foster+Partners, which ecologically encloses a space in which Domicile like (at several scales) projects can be successfully accomplished. Time to railroad.

“Designing Our Future - Sustainable Landscapes” published by the American Society of Landscape Architects is inspiring and shows the critical importance of this aspect of architecture.
A great example of retrofitting and applying new technology to the energy issue: turning the Sears Tower into a solar collector while also cutting down solar gain and keeping the view.
more links coming
A Syntopical Reading Exercise:
Cities and the Wealth of Nations
Where Good Ideas Come From
The City in History
A Pattern Language
Syntopical Reading
The idea of Syntopical Reading, as developed and practiced by Adler, is to read several books at once while engaging the authors in a dialog which asks them to address issues which may or not be directly treated in their books. In this exercise, the query is what does their work in combination have to tell us about the work of designing, building and using the Domicile concept? This syntopical exercise is best done by a ValueWeb® exploring the idea of building a Domicile while also revisiting the Domicile web pages and many links provided by them. This page, in terms of SolutionBox, is at Insight, Policy, Program, the focus of which is to advance the Design Development process of the first set of Domicile Design Development drawings. This is the context for the information provided. Without design information alone does not add up to a Domicile.
Cities and the Wealth of Nations presents the idea of a replacement economy based on the synergy of diverse talents found in a kind of city. I think this works over several levels of recursion starting with a Domicile scale community. Collapse describes how civilizations have failed. A global civilization in transformation presents specific risks that Domicile-like projects can both defend against and also mediate. Where Good Ideas Come From describes a set of attributes which can be embedded into a Domicile culture. The City in History addresses successful patterns that can be built into a Domicile and also it placement in the large community. A Pattern Language provides an audit of historically demonstrated solutions to universal human requirements that Domiciles are uniquely able to provide.
Relevance to Domicile
Architecture is built philosophy and, no matter how well it is technically executed, if the philosophy is wanting the building will fail the test of time. Architecture is an experiential art not a visual art as it is often treated. True, the aesthetics are important yet this is in the craft - it is a given of competent work, not the main course. What is the quality of life within the environment valve of a Domicile? This is the key question. Domicile is an interface Armature that works on several levels of recursion: dome to interior; dome to exterior; site to larger landscape and social, economic, ecological setting. This Armature is not just physical. It also involves the culture of the enterprise. A viable work of architecture is universal and timeless and concretely addresses the conditions and opportunities of a specific time and place. The matrix of these books presents such a map.


SolutionBox voice of this document:

click on graphic for explanation of SolutionBox
posted: November 3, 2010 • revised April 15, 2011 - 4:14 AM @ Elsewhere