Yesterday, while the sun was pushing the temperature above 70 degrees outside, I spent the whole day in the windowless lecture halls of the Minneapolis Convention Center learning all there is to know about forests, wood and best construction practices. I learned that there are three biomes that make up Minnesota’s forests, that butyl based peel and stick flashing works better than asphalt based ones, that aspen trees need clear cutting to regenerate properly and that the Austrian workers who install KLH cross-laminated timber walls are precision maniacs. But the best thing I learned all day was a piece of advice provided by the water management guru as he was describing proper methodology for lapping building paper behind the siding on a house. After showing one failure after another, with mold splotches and rot in every picture he turned to us and said “never tuck your raincoat in your underwear.” Now that’s a piece of advice I can live by.
Locus Architecture announces the second installment of 2X2, a lecture series pairing local pioneers to talk about passions, inspirations, and relationships.
2X2 No. 2 this Saturday, April 17th, at 6:30pm.
Tracy Singleton, Birchwood Cafe, and Greg Reyolds, Riverbend Farm, will present and opine on GMOs and CSAs, steel cut oatmeal and artisan cheese, predator bugs and kids who recognize eggplant. Mark Wheat of 89.3 The Current will moderate.
Event is at the Locus Architecture Studio, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Ste. 333 in Minneapolis. We have limited seating, you must RSVP to get a spot to [email protected] Tickets are $10, cash only, at the door.
Our evening with Tracy & Greg will kick off a week of healthy events.
Sunday, April 18 – Joel Salatin Lectures
Joel Salatin comes to town. Who? Joel Salatin, a farmer profiled at length in author Michael Pollan’s The Ominvore’s Dilemma, and Ana Sofia Joanes’ food documentary FRESH, manages Polyface Farms in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. From Polyface’s website, “the farm arguably represents America’s premier non-industrial food production oasis…(developing) emotionally, economically, environmentally enhancing agricultural enterprises.” He will deliver two lectures – “Can You Feed the World? Answering Elitism, Production, and Choice” & “The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer” – at the Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota, and attend two fundraisers. Busy guy. All events are open to the public, costs, times, and more information.
April 20-April 22, 7pm – FRESH Screenings
FRESH documentary at the Riverview Theater. What’s FRESH? A documentary directed by Ana Sofia Joanes. From the film’s website, “FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers, and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system…forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.”
We will have tickets for sale ($9.00) to FRESH screenings the evening Tracy & Greg speak at Locus. Otherwise, click here.
Saturday, April 24, 11am – 3pm – CSA Fair
Ever thought to yourself, “Hey, I should really join a CSA farm (Community Supported Agriculture) and support the local food economy? Do it this year! Recruit your neighbors, family & friends. Your reward? 1. Sustainably-grown organic vegetables every week from June through October. 2. Feeling good about supporting local businesses. Click here to learn how to do it.
Do your research, then check out the CSA Fair at the Seward Co-op on April 24th, from 11am – 3pm. Ask questions, talk to an actual farmer, and buy a farm share. If you crave more than beets, broccoli, and beans, some farms also offer fruit, coffee, eggs, bread, meat, and cheeses.
Better yet, buy a share at Riverbend Farm, Greg Reynold’s own farm outside of Delano.
On nearly all of our residential projects, we get to a phase near the end where, for any number of reasons, we put the project in a vise and squeeze the square footage down by 5-10%. Although there is the occasional reaction from clients concerned that they’ll lose something they’ve grown to love, we inevitably find the project gets better as it zeros in on the essence of what the client really wants and needs.
While this refinement process has been our experience at Locus and is no doubt common at other architecture firms, it hasn’t been the norm in the general housing marketplace. And while we thought the current economy had changed the trend for ever larger homes, a couple of recent experiences suggests it hasn’t and has us at Locus wondering if most folks are smarter than a two year old when it comes to buying, or building, a house?
After a bit of prodding from my spouse a few weeks ago, we accepted a dinner invitation with her sister at their new house. I just knew the visit would come with the requisite tour by my brother-in-law. And I was right. After arriving at the house, we moved quickly past the greeting niceties and I was whisked away through the labyrinth of rooms, one after another all decked out like a furniture showroom, yet eerily uninhabited. Just as he was about to put his hand on what I’d hoped to be the last doorknob of the evening, he turned to me and said “now this sealed the deal for us and we had to buy it.” He stepped aside to usher me in and, with satisfaction punctuating every syllable, continued “welcome to my BONUS ROOM.”
Fast forward to a few days ago. My not-so-little girl turned 14 and, at dinner, our conversation turned to discussing her early years. Like most parents, we had struggled to set good eating habits so she would learn how to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. When she was about two, my wife and I used a sneaky tactic to get her to eat the peas, carrots and beans that she pushed aside on her plate. We’d tell her, “just three more bites and you can have a BONUS BITE.” And it worked. She’d gobble up three bites of something she didn’t want, just to be rewarded with more of the same because she thought it was special. Although I’m sad to say that tactic no longer works on her, it seems the same can’t be said for a large selection of American home buyers as they gobble up more and more square footage without regard to need. “Welcome to my bonus room” might best be replaced with “welcome to the space I didn’t know I needed and doesn’t have a use, but boy am I happy to have it.”
Unfortunately, unlike vegetables, getting more house than you need isn’t necessarily a good thing.