“Architecture School” Reality Show Premieres on Sundance

by , 08/25/08

architecture school, sundance channel, reality tv, sustainable architecture, green building, new orleans rebuilding, humanitarian architecture

With the current vogue of reality tv shows sweeping the networks, we’re excited to see one with an admirable humanitarian design mission. Architecture School is a new series that follows twelve architecture students at the Tulane University School of Architecture as they design and build a low-cost sustainable home for a family returning to New Orleans. An excellent example of integrating students within a community, the three year venture will join the architecture school with URBANbuild and the nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Services

architecture school, sundance channel, reality tv, sustainable architecture, green building, new orleans rebuilding, humanitarian architecture

Before the show each of the 12 architecture students submitted a plan and then they voted on which one would be built. This season’s winning design is a two-story, 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom house that features Structural Insulated Panels, or SIPs. These high performance building panels are durable, energy efficient, and cost-effective. Sips are constructed by sandwiching foam insulation between two structural skins of fiber-cement, metal or oriented strand board (OSB). OSB is made from sustainably harvested wood, and SIP foam cores are composed from air and a small amount of petroleum. According to the Structural Insulated Panel Association, “The average SIP home saves nineteen times the energy it took to make the EPS insulation in the first year of installation”.

The URBANbuild program emphasizes “affordability and innovation” and employs a variety of sustainable building techniques with low-cost. Cutting-edge strategies like photovoltaics are not used due to their prohibitive cost, but URBANbuild’s sister program GREENbuild does incorporate sustainable energy into its designs.

After five months of construction, the third URBANbuild house now stands in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. The show premiered on the Sundance Channel on Wednesday, August 20 and will continue through October 2nd.

+ Architecture School

+ URBANbuild

Via archinect.com

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  1. cmkavala August 26, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Although any SIP construction will save 50 – 60% in energy costs, are 3 times stronger than frame, and are more environmentally friendly. Steel is a better choice for the following reasons

    Advantages of Steel SIPs vs.OSB

     Steel will not warp, swell, twist, rot
     Rain during construction do not affect materials in any way
     No cranes needed for installation a steel SIPs are lighter than OSB
     The underside of the roof panel automatically forms an attractive finished soffit overhang or exterior porch ceiling.
     Joints are a T&G friction fit they do not require splines, mastic or fasteners greatly speeding installation time
     Steel is more stable during manufacturing and panels are held to 1/16” tolerance
     OSB is limited to 24ft. in length …Steel SIPs are available up to 53ft. in length, eliminating butt joints
     Steel panels are manufactured on a continuous line making them available in square pre-cut lengths in ¼ ” increments, but only charged to the nearest ½ ft., OSB often rounds up to the nearest 2 ft. increment – making you pay for waste that gets thrown away
     Higher ” R – Value” denser foam provides a 4.25 R- value per inch of foam
     No Termites … Impervious to termites and carpenter ants , foam core is borate treated
     No foam grooving is required for window and door openings, after cutouts are made, openings are simply “picture framed” with 18.ga. steel channels
     The steel skin is the “vapor barrier” on walls no additional covering is required before siding is applied
     Eave overhangs can be 4 feet with no additional support
     Sound Control – utilizing a 1-1/2” steel furring strip creates a dead air space for improved STC ratings.
     Wiring – utilizing that same air space, wiring is much easier than fishing wire thru OSB and any future retrofit wiring is easier.
     Will not support mold growth – painted galvalume steel skins are UDSA approved
     Indoor air quality is better due to the tighter and cleaner construction material of the interior
     Any steel building is safer from lightning strikes
     “Monocoque construction” All connections and attachments are with screws having greater pullout strength than nailing
     For economy or insulated utility buildings, steel SIPs have been left exposed as the finished siding and roofing.
     Zurich Ins. In partnership with the Steel Framing Alliance offer reduced builders risk insurance premiums
     In Florida and other hurricane prone regions Steel SIPs are 30% less to insure that block/truss and 53% less to insure than wood frame construction


  2. csven August 25, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    It’s available for view on Hulu.com (which, for those of us who ditched regular TV, is a nice option).

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