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


Knowhow Shop LA

If you're in LA this Saturday, head to 6019 Echo Street and check out Knowhow Shop LA's latest creative installment! They asked a group of illustrators to design an updated series of shop safety posters. The posters will be on display and available for purchase this Saturday. If you feel like getting inky, you can even screen print your own articles while you're there!

Above is the poster CONTENT designed for the show. If you're dying to get your hands on one of these babies but can't make it out Saturday night, check out Knowhow's Etsy store after the show!  

The Safety Show> Saturday, Feb 12, 7pm-11pm :: 6019 Echo Street LA 90042




CONTENT has a new home!

We've moved to a new office location! You can now find us at 3221 Milam Street, just south of Elgin. Look for the blue door and come upstairs. 



New Living Greenius Desk

We're really happy to have New Living, a green building and home store in Houston's Rice Village, as a resource. The folks at New Living are dedicated to helping our community discover the means to create healthy, safe, and sustainable environments. 

Starting this month, New Living has invited a select group of local, green building and healthy home professionals to offer their insights with customers. We were honored to be asked to be part of the first "greenius" group! 

Learn more and see the Greenius schedule here.



Campaign for Sustainable Building!

We're really excited to be working on a graphic campaign for Haywood Community College in Clyde, NC. We are working closely with the students to develop a strategy that allows them reach out to their community as well as build awareness of the Green Building Program.

Here's a sneak peak. Check back in the next few weeks as we develop the concept!