Miami Green Homes




Passive House Design Principles for New or Existing Homes

Passive House Design began in the 1970s as a response to the energy crisis and increased awareness of climate change. Based on incorporating principles intended to reduce energy needs for heating and cooling, this type of construction can be found all over the world and can be applied to anything from single-family homes to larger buildings. Here are some of the more accessible principles to incorporate.

Continuous, High-Quality Insulation

Perhaps the easiest passive house principle to include in existing structures, the concepts behind continuous and high-quality insulation are chiefly concerned with keeping heat or cooling inside the home and providing an energy barrier between external sources of energy transfer. The effectiveness of insulation is rated by its R-Value—the higher, the better.

When using cavity insulation, the framing material can still transmit energy through a process called thermal bridging. Thermal bridging detracts from energy efficiency and is especially problematic when metal framing is used. Continuous insulation, the more efficient system, can counteract this effect. It refers to a single continuous layer of insulation wrapping an entire structure.

Airtight Construction

While insulation helps guard against losing the energy needed to heat or cool interior spaces, it can’t do its job if the structure it’s installed in is leaking air. Airtight construction ensures direct air transfer, minimizing the amount of heating or cooling needed. Every home has necessary design elements like drains and vents that penetrate roofing or exterior walls and windows and doors must be fitted with adequate sealing (like gaskets or caulk) to avoid unintended energy loss.

Solar Heating and Shading

An ancient design principle, examples can be found in early architecture all over the world. Capturing the sun’s light for heating or blocking it to provide cooler interiors can be as easy as installing larger windows in an appropriate location or planting a tree outdoors to shield parts of a house from direct sun. Deciduous trees work well for this, as they’ll block the sun’s light in the hot summer months, but after losing leaves in late autumn, they will allow it through in the winter months.

Energy Recovery

An airtight house requires ventilation to bring in fresh air and vent CO2, moisture and built-up pollutants. This venting means air exchange, representing energy losses in heating or cooling air taken into a structure. A heat recovering ventilator continuously replaces stale air with fresh air without mixing the air streams, resulting in significant energy retention, sometimes as high as seventy-five percent.

Have a Passive House Project in Mind?

If you’re thinking of remodeling or redesigning an existing structure to incorporate passive house principles or would like to pursue a new construction project, contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture for assistance. Committed to sustainable and ecologically responsible design, Sebastian is recognized as one of the thirty most influential sustainable design architects in the world, he is also available for consultation via email or phone.



Wallpaper is Back: Here are the Top 7 Ways to Style this Bold Interior Trend in your Space

Wallpaper has a surprisingly long and storied history in interior design. Its invention is credited to the Chinese less than 100 years after paper itself was invented. The style came to Europe via the Silk Road and saw changes in production and design as advances in block printing and other technologies allowed for more widespread use.

Since then, wallpaper has seen popularity in waves and although it has fallen out of favor at times, one thing is for sure – every time wallpaper comes back into fashion, it comes full force. Most recently, wall coverings, in general, had seen dwindling sales as an obsession with minimalism gripped interior design and architecture towards the latter half of the 20th century. Now, however, wallpaper is all the rage again and advances in the field mean that we can do more with wallpaper than ever before. That means that current trends in wall coverings are all about making bold choices.

Here are seven trends for 2022 that are bringing back wallpaper in a big way.

Go Wild

More than ever, people are ready to bring a bit of the outside in. Whether it’s grand tropical foliage or a jungle scene, this trend is anything but meek. For 2022, it’s about deep greens, light neutrals, and moody, muted tones and with a focus on natural materials.

Designers are taking it to the next level with patterns and vintage-style illustrations that transport us back to a wilder time. Expect to see birds, tigers, and elephants with or without their lush jungle backdrop.

Texture

In this most recent iteration of the wallpaper trend, we’ve seen a much greater variety of designs than ever before. Another factor driving the variety in this trend is texture. Whether it’s grasscloth, cork wallpaper, silk, or flock, the right tactile texture can elevate a design and bring a room to life.

Graphic Prints

One of the bolder trends for 2022, graphic prints are being used in a variety of ways and in some spaces that might seem surprising. A wide range of imagery is being seen in graphic print wallpaper but major themes to follow include people, nature, art deco style, and illustration.

Geometric Patterns

Geometric patterns have been rising in popularity in the past few years, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. They add a touch of luxury wherever they are used. This year geometric patterns are being paired with light and airy blues, grays, and shades of white. Geometric patterns are so universal that they can lend themselves to a wide variety of decorating styles and they are a great way to bring a space together.

Florals

Floral might be considered the quintessential wallpaper pattern, and while the florals we’re seeing for 2022 harken back to traditional Chintz patterns from India and later Europe, they are anything but dated. Today’s florals command the room with colorful, intricate designs on bold, rich, sometimes even velvety backgrounds. The effects can feel playful, exotic, or downright mysterious. Designers are sticking with small, detailed blooms to open up tight spaces and larger blooms for more airy locations.

Gold

Gold is having a moment – and with good reason. Touches of gold can bring light into any space, adding an element of glamour and luxury like nothing else. This trend will only grow and expand in 2022 with a trove of luscious textures to play with. Expect to see it used as a delicate accent or an all-out theme and everything in between with brush strokes and paint splatters in the spotlight.

Bonus: Unexpected Places

There is one trend that can be seen alongside all of the others that will continue to define the most recent comeback of wallpaper. In 2022, we’re seeing wallpaper in all kinds of unexpected places.

Traditional wisdom dictated that busy decor wasn’t meant for small spaces, but interior designers have thrown that rule out the window. Wallpaper is being used to bring some brightness, color, and structure to intimate vanity areas, cozy reading nooks, and even attic spaces.

Another typical decorating faux pas being broken this year is the wallpapered ceiling. In the spirit of playful rulebreaking, designers are opting for dramatic styles and daring color palettes over safer choices.

Summary

Designers are using wallpaper in ways they never have before. Technological advances in printing are allowing us to experiment with a wide variety of patterns and materials and that is resulting in some suitably bold styles for the long-awaited comeback of wallpaper.

In 2022, watch for jungle scenes and lush foliage, subtle textures, bold graphic prints, and elegantly understated geometric designs. Also on offer are a range of dramatic florals and decorating schemes that are practically dripping in gold.

There has never been a better time to update the look of your home.

Ready to start your project? Contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture for your Architectural and Interior Design project needs. 



Sebastian Eilert Architecture named along top 10 “Miami Architects” best

Honored to be among this select group of Miami’s finest 10 architects. Sebastian Eilert Architecture selected by Miami Architects.

Full list HERE



Design after COVID 19. How the virus may affect architectural design for the home – Part II: work, friends, and family

There is no doubt that the “after” will bring with it some changes and lasting adjustments. After looking at how the home needs to adapt for our personal use, what changes may be needed for work from home and visiting friends and family?

In the home – Part II:

The first part of this question is relatively easy: “Remote work from home” now includes some area with a computer setup that has a reasonably clear background for video calls and conferences. Few homes are designed with an extra room or space with this function in mind, so there is another change that will be forthcoming for future design. A home office or home office nook will be a feature that will be standard in post COVID-19 residential design. Even for professions that do not need this setup for their basic livelihood, the feature is sure to become a standard, much like the entry foyer noted in the related post, in the home Part I. Beyond work, this area can be used for a new type of happy hour, remote classrooms and other social interactions. But what about multiple people working or learning from home in the same schedule? To create a home office space for each family member is not feasible, so creative partitions with sound isolation may be the answer.

Built-In Home Office Ideas by Paul Raff Studio

Integrated Home Office Design

Creating an office nook can present a solution to carve out space in an easy arrangement and configuration to shield from view and sound. Similar to an open studio setup, multiple stations may be created in this fashion. Designating an existing room, where possible, allows for more functional use and setup but may be especially challenging for renovations and existing homes that look to adapt. After all, most homes were not designed with a spare room for future use adaption in mind, a concept that will likely change in new design thinking – adaptability!

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Front Entry to the Left, Office Nook to the Right

The challenge with creating a small space or using an existing room within the home however, lies with the psychological burnout, that is showing up in many workers already who are being “on” all the time. The kitchen becomes the breakroom to fill up on coffee, the living room reminds of the chores that are typically left for the end of the workday and the school books on the dining table remind of homework and classes that need attending to. The 8-hour workday stretched to 10 hours, to 12 hours, and blends with the home life. The workday itself is now part of the design challenge.

A better design solution is to revisit the home office space as a separate structure that allows for a mini commute, by taking a few steps into the office and when at lunch or at the end of the day returning to the home. Planning and zoning codes will need to change and adapt, to allow for this to happen. Auxiliary structures are already allowed under most zoning codes, but property size may restrict this function due to requirements for building separation, connectivity, and setbacks.

Let’s return to the design opportunity of the home office as a separate structure: Former site design program choices such as pool cabanas, covered BBQs, granny flats, or storage sheds now present the opportunity to create the at-home office studio instead. The design should be complete with a kitchenette to include the coffee maker, sink and a small refrigerator, etc. as well as a bathroom. This function can be accommodated within a fairly small footprint, 10’x 12’ to start. If more space is available, multiple stations for all members of the family, as well as a meeting area or miniature conference room may complete the layout.

Garden office ideas – garden office pods and garden office sheds ...

The work from home studio would likely be connected to the home with an open covered walkway and allow for independent direct access for clients and visitors from the outside. The home office transforms into a true work from home set up, and at the end of the day, the commute also reduces the carbon footprint!

Prefabricated design solutions provide a great opportunity for quick installation, rather than lengthy construction, as these spaces have urgent need. Design options are growing in this industry, including modern solutions, like the Coodo.

coodo

What about friends and family? The Home office studio ideally should not become the weekend hangout to maintain a dis-association form the work week. Instead, the transition into the home for visitors should start at the foyer, as noted for the personal use in Part I. Just like for our own use, this space will function as a transitional area that allows for an initial disinfecting and reduction of the viral load that comes into the home. Removing shoes should become standard as is already common practice in many cultures around the world. The focus now, however, is on minimizing the introduction of foreign particles. An integrated shoe storage compartment in the foyer will facilitate this process. Hand sanitizing stations and even a small sink may be items that are incorporated into the design. The latter will most certainly be part of the mudroom transitional space on larger homes that feature a garage. This access point, however, is unlikely to be used for friends and family.

Once the initial shedding has been completed more spacious furniture arrangements to allow for groups to maintain a small degree of physical distancing will influence future designs to create overall larger spaces. The need to fill these rooms with a lot of furniture should be balanced with the function and anticipation of people other than the immediate family. If the in-laws visit frequently or the home is the go-to spot for the crew to watch the game, keep it open and spacious.

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Foyer with Powder Room

Already a popular design feature, the powder room will become an important post-COVIT element for families that have frequent visitors. The private bathrooms need to remain just that – private to avoid contamination. The solution is to provide a half-bathroom near the general living areas. Depending on the layout and adjacent functions, this room may expand to include a shower if connecting to the outside or other uses of the home and yard. The powder room should include a small changing area, think mini locker room, that double serves as guest storage and is large enough to comfortably allow for a change of clothes. Ideally, the location is in close proximity to the foyer as well.

Lastly, the space every party always ends up at. The kitchen! Already a focal point in the home for daily use, this is the spot that inevitably any group ends up at some point. To avoid close quarters, the center island, already a popular feature in larger homes will become the single most important post-COVIT-19 design feature. An accessible island without a cooktop or sink provides an excellent workstation during normal use, easily extends to include informal seating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and maintains good physical distance for gatherings – the larger the counter, the better.

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Oversized Kitchen Island with Integrated lower seating counter – classic design style

Inspired to adapt your space or design your new homes yet?

www.SebastianEilert.com



Design after COVID 19. How the virus may affect architectural design for the home, Part I

There is no doubt that the “after” will bring with it some changes and lasting adjustments. After looking at how the office and office culture are likely affected, what do changes to the home may look like?

In the home – Part I:

“Shelter in place” and “remote work from home” are certainly familiar terms these days. But how does this cozy space need to change to continue to be the safe haven we all seek? The answer is linked to our daily use of familiar areas and activities.

Let’s start with the approach. Coming from the outside world; work, shopping, exercise, etc. into the home in South Florida its likely done by car. If you are lucky to have a garage, that will be the point of first contact. Otherwise, the front door will serve as this space. Technology is already widely available to assist with remote unlocking and opening, so the touchless entry is already safe and will likely expand into a standard feature. Materials used for hardware will also change to reflect easy cleaning and disinfecting. More apps are likely to make the transition from the approach into the house easy, sensor-based, and even remote.

The next space is the actual entrance. South Florida rarely features a true foyer as commonly found in northern regions. The main reason for this architecturally speaking is the lack of need to keep the cold out and shed all clothing relating to severe or unpleasant weather. This too will change by design. No longer concerned only with air condition leaking to the outside, the entrance vestibule or foyer will find its way into the updated post COVIT-19 designed home. This can be new or retrofit to create the buffer needed to bring items from the outside into the home and transition out of protective clothing as well as provide a first layer for viral shedding and reduced transmittal of possible contaminants. Doormats, filters, and UV cabinets for certain clothing may look futuristic but are likely to be integrated here with new materials and will take up some of this space.

mudroom

Mudroom transition from the garage into the house.

In more spacious homes this room may also be added as an interface between the garage and the house. Already a popular feature in new home design, the mud-room – a transitional space between garage and kitchen or pantry – no longer will be used for backpacks, school supplies, and large shopping trips only. It will now include a disinfection station and for front line workers, may include a disposable section, similar to a sharps or biohazard removal container setup.

Once inside the home, personal interactions will also be guided by hands-free decisions and upgrades. Appliances, light control, sound systems, faucets, showers, etc., are already integrating these features. More is sure to come, combing voice and motion activation. Think about your favorite Spaceship Enterprise stage setup…

Rain Shower Set System 20" x 14" with Touch Panel Smart Mixer and Remote Controlled LED - VAVALA Vavala FLUXURIE.COM

Free access – modern voice-command controlled shower

Lounging in the living area, working in the designated home station (look for part II B on more for this feature), or getting the well-deserved shut-eye are areas of personal use that should not change a great deal from current design preferences. The 2 most impacted areas are the bathroom and the kitchen. Following a typical daily routine, the first step once rolling out of bed, having told the alarm to stop ringing, would be the use of the toilet. Touch unavoidable by sitting down, but “clean-up” is changing. Besides the paranoia of purchasing toilet paper, there is no real need for this ancient relic in the post COVIT design. Paperless cleansing toilet seats do not just eliminate the need for paper, but will also reduce the need for touch; flushing voice active as well.

Touchless Toilet Seat Covers : Toilet Seat covers

The bathroom sink will also be touchless or voice-activated and will likely include some UV lighting to further incorporate disinfecting. This is more important upon the noted return to the home above, but will become a standard feature in the near future. Next is the shower, again simple already in place solutions for turning on/off, regulating temperature and pressure. Accessibility is likely to be the big winner not just though incorporating commands, but also by the increase in space to avoid tight areas more likely to touch someone or something, think shower curtains, versus a nice roll-in shower.

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Doorless shower access. Enlarged shower for easy access

On to the kitchen: The kitchen counter is already typically a biohazard, no matter how well it is maintained. We use it daily and materials will change to be both user friendly and sanitary. Microbial cutting surfaces and disinfectant under cabinet light are good choices. The fridge, appliances, and cooktops all will be retrofitted with voice commands and contribute to the touchless function of the kitchen space. Eating will hopefully still be manual !

10 Best Under Cabinet LED Lighting - (2020 Reviews & Guide)

With this increase in technology, reliable power and data will become paramount. An increased energy demand can be offset with photovoltaic systems and supported by other renewable energy resources. A designated server space will also find its way int the post COVID designed home, maybe with a pantry or otherwise near the kitchen for easy access.

With so many integrated features to make one s life better, how do we now interact with others inside the home? Look for part II about the family group, friends and family visiting, and the work at home environment.

Sebastian Eilert, AIA

PS: Side note about the daily routine. A great read I found is “A Million Years In A Day” by Greg Jenner, following the history of many of the daily routines and chores done in the home.



Design after COVID 19 – How the virus may affect architectural design and the profession of architecture.

There is no doubt that the “after” will bring with it some changes and lasting adjustments. How would the practice of architecture be impacted by the pandemic? Let’s look at both the business and office culture of the architectural profession as well as some of the most common project types.

A Weekly Surveillance Summary of U.S. COVID-19 Activity

PART I – the architectural office:

Architects were generally known as one of the early adaptors of the “studio environment” which is the layout of a large open space without walls, cubicles and many shared and connected work stations. This concept was encouraged, so various design groups may openly communicate on any working projects and share the drafting plans they were working on more easily and without having to carry them between desks. The move to computer-based drafting, CAD, had little impact on the layout, only adding monitors to most working areas, but maintain a large surface to open and work on printed plans. The collaboration attitude was embraced by many other office types from creatives of all walks to government planners and realtors- in short, any profession that does not require absolute privacy or limited workspace. Individual officed, enclosed conference rooms and open break areas are also typically part of these office configurations completing the challenge to redesign these areas post COVID-19.

To start creating a safe work area, the spacing of everything will have to be adjusted to allow for proper social, or better physical, distancing. As such physical barriers are likely to be introduced. In an attempt to keep the open studio feel, these are likely to be transparent, presenting an opportunity for some newly adapted materials. The pattern of walking will be adjusted to minimize the opportunity to pass another person. Directional corridors and one way in – one way out are sure to become the norm as one is less likely to pick up viral load from a co-worker in line than passing and physical distancing is more easily accomplished.

Interior Architecture Office Best Design Cool Interiors Architect ...

Controls are sure to be impacted as well. Light and control switched will be eliminated to react to motion and voice activation, likely a technological connection of personal devices to start and control computers, task lighting, and other work station related equipment. Hands-free will be the norm. Already many systems have these features and most areas easily retrofitted.

Connectivity through cameras will only increase to avoid the concentration of conference room style meetings. This presents the challenge of acoustic control at individual work areas already an issue anyone can attest to wanting to have a private conversation in the open studio layout. Solution? Individual sound booth – a revival of the phone booth – less the phone, just a camera, touchless of course!

Sanitation will be key. To start, the HVAC system will need to be updated to work harder on filtering. Much like many casinos, we will see upgrades and retrofitting to include improved filtration. Add to this ultraviolet or a new kind of disinfecting system both stationary at most points of entry/exit as well as at the individual workstations. Hand sanitizer stations will be standard and available plenty, but there are likely portable disinfecting stations that allow for a more thorough touchless cleansing, reducing viral load thought the workday.

What cannot be avoided to be touched, will get finishes that naturally disinfect, such as silver and copper: door handles and knobs, elevator buttons – where voiceless commands or waved card readers are not practical or possible to retrofit.  Public bathrooms will present another challenge with the added importance of privacy. ADA has already provided standards to improve access and movement and with post COVID – 19, additional physical distancing guidelines are likely the solution to this challenge. Touchless faucets and motion-activated fixtures, spaced 6 feet apart, and fully individualized compartments that self sanitize after each use. Here, too the use of personal devices is likely to assist with the availability of the facilities, rather than waiting in line. Virtual queueing alarming the next user that the stall is empty and has been sanitized.

Copper & Chrome T Bar Door Pull Handles Copper Door Handles | Etsy

The common them to most of these solutions is more space to allow for more distance. Design for the architectural office, as for most others, will require a larger footprint per employee – for workstation, circulation and support spaces.

The temporary workspace, rented as needed, institutions like We Work and Büro are likely to disappear in the aftermath of this pandemic. The challenge of sanitation and encouraged close proximity of workstations will present a true challenge to maintain a safe and physically distant work environment.

 

The alternative? Work from home: Look for PART II – in the home.



Published ! Sebastian Eilert featured among 30 most influential world architects on sustainable design

It is an honor to be published in this amazing coffee table book out of Spain, highlighting 30 world architects. Content is both in English and Spanish.

IMG_E2538

Sebastian Eilert of Sebastian Eilert Architecture features two  projects that highlight sustainable and durable design in sub-tropical climates, such as Miami, Florida. The Moorings and Triana residence also highlight design versatility for this type of climate while complying with strict building code regulations to exceed 175 mph winds for Hurricane safe design. 

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You can see the projects on the company website and find the book in the Green Art Store here.



Architects as day-to-day activists, not just design stars:

Few architects will reach stardom in their carrier or their life. The ones that do have typically been blessed by a unique commission that allowed them to truly and freely feature their skills resulting in a spectacular structure. Frequently these structures are of a public or high profile private nature, such as museums, signature buildings or government functions.

activist

Activistarchitect.blogspot.com

Most architects work on more day to day projects that do not come with glamour, but still have a severe impact: A home renovation or new home design directly affects the lives of the family that is living in it; a new restaurant provides a place of business, employment and entertainment; a supermarket becomes the key to growth of a neighborhood;

The impact of the architect on daily life cannot be overstated. Designs create, in a reasonable timeframe, a place or building that has the capacity to influence history – large or small. Good design choice can and should make statements to encourage underlying principles of good living and good communities. Incorporating a certain feature over another has the potential to shape the future path of an individual, being it a resident, business owner, worker, tenant… or just someone passing by. Look at architecture and design as opportunities for good, not just to the specific client, but the neighborhood, the community and even the planet. Everyone, every project matters!

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Planners versus architects (an architects perspective):

When looking closer into the world of design, one will find a distinction between planners and architects. While Architects may act and function as planners, the reverse is generally not true. Urban planners are trained to focus on a larger picture and incorporate varying functions of a place. These functions may include buildings and other structures, but also consider infrastructure and landscape concepts and the use of structures. In short, it is urban planners who try to figure out what happens where. Residential living mixed with industrial production? Large trucks and trains mixed with pedestrians and bicyclists? Maybe not a good mix and match…

planner 1

https://www.planetizen.com/node/68464

There are many schools of thought about proper planning and most of us are living in the result of a certain theory in time that won over another idea. Compact live/work areas typically do not blend with strip malls and suburban single family home planning. High density downtowns will not blend with agricultural production – even though urban farming is a strong and functioning concept!

Once the general ideas have been laid out, the architect typically takes over to designing the actual buildings and structures. To learn more about planning: Jane Jacobs, smart cities and CNU may are good starting points.

planner 2