CONTENT assists One Green Street to obtain LEED Certification

CONTENT worked as a LEED Consultant to the wonderful, local store One Green Street. Recently we were awarded our LEED Certification so a celebration is in order! Swing by the store at 5160 Buffalo Speedway to congratulate Sherry and the rest of the One Green Street team for their commitment to healthy living.









 LEED and the related logo is a trademark owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and is used with permission.


CONTENT Designs Foster Home

Recently CONTENT was engaged to assist with the Schematic Design for a new Foster Home Facility here in Houston. Of paramount importance was educating the children about healthy living and helping them to understand the choices they have in monitoring and participating in their own health. Beyond teaching sustainable principles such as air quality, energy consumption, and material longevity the program encourages familiarity with the tools necessary for self-reliance, creating a family of individually confident children eager to confront challenges on their own terms.

Incorporating native gardens with rainwater collection, the design engages the environment literally and by using materials that change with time. Wood turns silver, the copper study nooks projecting from each bedroom gradually turn green, and the building as a whole ages with the children. Unfortunately the project has since been put on hold, for the time being we are left with but a few renderings to share.


CONTENT reviews the Sam Houston Tollway Plazas

Texas Architect recently published a review of the award winning Sam Houston Tollway Plazas that was written by CONTENT's own Jesse Hager. You can read the article online if you are a TSA member by clicking on the image to your left.


Architecture Center Houston Film Festival


Architecture Center Houston has announced its first annual film festival slated for August 11 – 13, 2011 at 7pm

The three part series is free to members of AIA Houston and ArCH. For non-member pricing, see the facebook event page.

The films document the work and lives of Mies, Neutra, and Samuel Mockbee: "Three architects and three careers in multiple generations, whose basic design principles and sense of design responsibility are embraced in architecture today. The films selected for the 2011 ArCH Film festival speak to the broad topic of Architecture with each central character challenging any static definition."


CONTENT Sponsors Bartlett Unit 23 Summer Show - Spaces of Uncertainty

CONTENT is proud to be a sponsor of the exhibition at the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture in London showcasing the fine student work of the renowned Diploma Unit 23


Main Quadrangle and Slade Galleries of UCL, Gower St, London WC1


Attic Radiant Barriers

It has been a really hot summer here in Houston. So, we've been thinking a lot about ways to reduce energy bills during these steamy months. One way to reduce cooling costs by upwards of 10% is to install a radiant barrier in your new or existing home.

A radiant barrier is a highly reflective, low-emitting material that intercepts the flow of radiant energy to and from building components. They come in a variety of forms including reflective foils and reflective laminated roof sheathing.

The way radiant barriers work:

Radiant energy from the sun heats up our roofs. It doesn't take long before the absorbed heat travels by conduction through the roofing materials to the attic side of the roof. The hot roof material then radiates its gained heat energy onto the cooler attic surfaces, including the air ducts and the attic floor. A radiant barrier reduces the radiant heat transfer from the underside of the roof to the other surfaces in the attic by reflecting the radiant heat rather than absorbing it.



Installation Options:

Radiant barriers are most effective in hot climates, reducing heat costs and possibly even allowing for a smaller cooling system.  Be sure to intall the barrier with the most shiny, reflective surface facing the attic space. There are 3 typical installation locations: 

1: On the underside of the roof sheathing. This can done with foil-faced osb sheathing or with rolled foil that drapes between the rafters.

2: Applied to the underside of the roof rafters. This is very effective method because it leaves an air gap for ventillation between the attic space and the hot roof.

3. On the attic floor. This is the least effective method if you have attic HVAC equipment. It also leaves the reflective surface susceptible to dust.


Stay cool, Houston!

For more information on radiant barriers Visit the Department of Energy's website. And, for more ways to cool your roof, check out USGBC's green home guide.



Summer in Houston

As the mercury rises in Houston, we can't help but think about ways to cool off. We decided to compile a list of our favorite modern ceiling fans:


Nicholas Clark Architects Designs Hospital in Haiti


Seth was a contributing designer at Nicholas Clark in 2010 during a major push to expand the hospital's size after the devastating earthquake in January of 2010.  The straightforward design utilizes both low-tech construction processes, familiar to Haitian construction workers, and more advanced practices that will allow the building to withstand future earthquakes.  We wish NicholasClark and PIH the best of luck through the construction process!

Link to article in Architectural Record.

Learn more about Partners in Health.


Shou Sugi Ban

Shou Sugi Ban is an ancient Japanese exterior siding technique that preserves wood by charring it. Traditionally, Sugi, or Japanese Cyprus, was used. Recently, we have discovered projects that have used Douglas Fir, Cyprus, and Oak species. The process involves charring the wood, cooling it, cleaning it, and finishing it with a natural oil. Although time consuming, the final product is not only gorgeous, with its rich, silvery finish; the charred wood also resists rot, insects, and fire and can last up to 80 years! 

For more on the process of charring wood, check out Pursuing Wabi and Materia


New products from our friends at RAD Furniture

Our friends at RAD Furniture have recently launched three new products and now have their products available at Inheritance in Los Angeles and at AIA San Antonio located at the Old Pearl Brewery. Congrats!

Check them out at



Our Friends at Syndicate Smith


CONTENT has the privledge of being friends and former classmates with the brilliant minds behind Syndicate Smith. If you're in the Seattle area you should swing by the Mithun Threshold Gallery beginning Thursday, March 24th to view the exhibition BLOCKS. Head down to: Pier 56, 1201 Alaskan Way, #200 Seattle, WA 98101



We love the look of and concept behind Bolefloors!

"Bolefloor is the world’s first industrial-scale manufactured hardwood flooring with naturally curved lengths that follow a tree’s natural growth. Bolefloor takes its name from bole, the trunk of a tree."


Our Friends at Animal Architecture

Check out this website curated by our fellow Houstonian, Ned Dodington!

Ned started the Animal Architecture blog while completing his thesis at Rice University. Since its inception, the blog has grown to become a reliable platform for news and discussion regarding the role of ecology and biology in architecture.


Building with Bamboo

Over the past decade, bamboo has gained notoriety as a sustainable alternative to hardwoods. While traditional hardwood trees can take 25-120 years to reach maturity, bamboo, a rapid renewal resource, reaches maturity in 3-5 years. 

Most of us have seen bamboo floors, known for their strength, durability, and resistance to moisture and insects. Yet, flooring is just the beginning of bamboo's potential in the building industry. Bamboo has tensile and compressive strengths similar to traditional lumber. 

Plyboo and Kirei offer architectural bamboo plywoods. Both products are formaldehyde free and have excellent dimensional stability.  

Lamboo Structure is a line of high performance structural engineered bamboo. Their laminated beams offer structural capacities that surpass timber, allowing one to achieve longer spans with less material. Structural bamboo is also more stable than wood in moisture and temperature changes making it a great structural alternative here in Houston.

Other companies have developed bamboo dimension lumber, doors and windows, and veneers. 




On Insulation

Whether you have an existing home or are building a new home, a properly sealed building envelope, with sufficient insulation, can account for up to 20% savings in your heating and cooling costs1. Insulation's ability to reduce heat transfer is measured in R-values. The higher the R-value, the greater the thermal resistance. Here in Houston, the US Department of Energy recommended minimal R-values vary depending on the install location:

Houston Attic: R30-R60, Wall Cavity: R13-R15, Cathedral Ceilings: R22-R38, Floor: R13-25 (If your home is outside of Houston, find your local recommended insulation values here.)

Insulation comes in four main types: rigid, cellulose, batt, and spray-foam. Each type, properly installed, is effective in reducing heat transference. Yet, new technologies give us the option to choose sustainable insulations with minimal environmental impact, that are recyclable, and that won't have an adverse effect on our indoor air quality. For example, many cellulose products are made from 3/4 recycled content (newspaper, straw, corn) and 1/4 flame resistant materials. UltraTouch Natural Fiber insulation is made from 85% post-industrial cotton fiber, has no VOCs, and is 100% recyclable. If you go the batt insulation route, be sure to specify a non-formaldehyde product.

Check out the US Green Building Council's Buyer's Guide to Green Insulation, a great resource that breaks down insulation options with their pros and cons. 

1 EnergyStar Energy Savings Calcuations

2 US Department of Energy: Insulation Tips