GREEN MACHINE 2 – FEASIBILITY ADVENTURE

1980

the green machine as seen traveling west to the pacific ocean on venice blvd. i raised the ocean a bit to see it, the site is still open, so why not build it. needed more than ever these days.

IT WAS AN UPBEAT TIME FOR ME. I TOOK A TEACHING SABBATICAL FROM SCI-ARC IN THE SPRING OF 1980, AND POURED MY HEART INTO THE PROJECT. AT THE SAME TIME I HAD PURCHASED A NEW STRIPPED GM MOTOR HOME AND PUT MY OFFICE IN IT. THE IDEA WAS TO BE MOBILE. THAT WAS A GREAT IDEAL BUT DIFFICULT TO IMPLEMENT, BECAUSE I WAS INTO TECHNOLOGY WITH CARPENTERS SKILLS. I HAD MADE SOME MONEY IN THE STOCK MARKET AND SOUGHT OUT “LUCKY”, A STOCK BROKER IN CENTURY CITY WITH PRESIDENTS PERSONAL PICTURES ON HIS OFFICE WALLS, HE CLAIMED HE COULD INCREASE MY FUNDS SUBSTANTIALLY. MY PROBLEM BEING I TOOK RISKS AND WAS GREEDY. SO I THOUGHT I COULD GO FIRST CLASS WITH THE INTERIOR, BUT ALMOST IMMEDIATELY “LUCKY” LOST MOST OF THE MONEY AND I WAS BACK TO BEING POOR AGAIN. I WENT TO ARBITRATION AND GOT BACK A MEAGER PORTION OF MONEY AND ” LUCKY” DROVE OFF IN HIS FERRARI, SO THE INTERIOR NEVER REALLY GOT UNDERWAY. I WANTED DESKS ON HYDRAULIC JACKS AND THE WHOLE OFFICE TO CONVERT INTO INFORMAL LIVING SPACE AS WELL. THE IDEA THAT ONE COULD TRAVEL AT WILL AND DRIVE INTO THE SUNSET WITH A TOTALLY FUNCTIONING OFFICE AND LIVING SPACE HAD GREAT APPEAL. BUT NEXT TIME, IF THERE IS ONE. I WOULD REMODEL WITH A MOTOR HOME TOTALLY EQUIPPED.

THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT OF THE ARTS GRANT AND FEDERAL BLOCK GRANT FOR A FEASIBILITY STUDY PUT ABOUT $ 33,000 AT MY DISPOSAL TO DO A SERIOUS FEASIBILITY STUDY. THE LOS ANGELES CITY PLANNING DEPARTMENT RECEIVED THE GRANTS, BUT TURNED THE MONEY OVER TO ME WITH ALL THE RESPONSIBILITY CONNECTED WITH IT. THE CITY HAD A GRANT WRITER THAT ACQUIRED THE MONEY. ALL SO SIMPLE AND DIRECT WITH THE PROPER SIGNATURES. THE FEES I PAID MY CONSULTANTS WERE TOKEN AMOUNTS AND MY PERSONAL OFFICE ASSISTANTS GOT NEXT TO NOTHING . I LIVED ON MY SABBATICAL MONEY FROM SCI-ARC. I WAS DONATING MY TIME TO WORK ON THE GREEN MACHINE.

MY DOWNTURN IN FINANCES ALSO AFFECTED DAVE MESA, WHOM I OFFERED A JOB TO . A FORMER STUDENT OF MINE AT CAL POLY AND MY ASSISTANT AT SCI-ARC THAT WAS NOW WORKING FOR KURT MEYER, AN ARCHITECT OF SOME NOTE FOR CLEAN COMMERCIAL PROJECTS. DAVID WHO HAD A WIFE AND KIDS WITH MAJOR FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES GAVE NOTICE TO KURT MEYER THAT HE WAS GOING TO WORK FOR ME ON THE GREEN MACHINE. I WAS GOING TO PAY DAVID WITH THE EXTRA CASH I HAD AT THE TIME, BUT WHEN I GOT KILLED IN THE STOCK MARKET TRYING TO GET MORE I HAD TO TELL DAVID I COULD NOT AFFORD HIM. DAVID WAS FORCED TO STAY WITH KURT MEYER AND FEEL HUMILIATED. THIS WAS A MAJOR BLOW TO DAVID. HE HAD TO STAY WITH HIS BORING JOB AND TAKE ABUSE FROM KURT MEYER. A GUY THAT PROVED TO ME IN THE PERIOD OF THE SCI-ARC PURGE AGAINST THE FOUNDERS, TO BE MEAN SPIRITED AND A LIAR. I CAN NOT REMEMBER WHAT THAT WAS ABOUT, BUT I DO REMEMBER SAYING THAT TO HIS FACE. HE NOT WINCING NOR STATING A CONTRARY POINT OF VIEW.

TERRY RAINEY, A FORMER STUDENT OF MINE JOINED ME AND WORKED FOR MINOR MONEY. TERRY BEING A SKILLED CONSCIENTIOUS ASSISTANT THAT WAS INVALUABLE, HEADED UP THE STUDY. HE TOGETHER WITH OTHER FORMER STUDENTS LIKE RALPH MURSSINA AND GREG DAVIS PRODUCED A SUBSTANTIAL FEASIBILITY STUDY. MILICA DEDIJER HELPED AS WELL WITH THE SITE PLAN.

THE FIRST THING WE DID WAS TO PUT TOGETHER A TEAM OF CONSULTANTS. IT WAS LIKE ROUNDING UP THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. AS LONG AS YOU HAVE SOME MONEY TO ATTRACT GOOD PEOPLE IT IS EASY TO GET THEM TO CO OPERATE, EVEN WITH THE MEGER MONEY THEY WERE RECEIVING . THE IDEA IS THAT THEY WILL GLADLY COOPERATE IF THEY FEEL THEY ARE NOT BEING RIPPED OFF. DAVID STEA ( ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST) PETER PEARCE ( SPACE FRAME DESIGNER) JERRY SULLIVAN ( MECHANICAL ENGINEER), SAL GOLDIN, (ELECTRICAL ENGINEER), CHED READER (COMPUTER) JOE LINESCH AND MORGAN EVANS ( LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS) THE SPIRIT WAS HIGH AND WE ALL WORKED WELL TOGETHER.

PEOPLE ACCUSE ME OF NOT BEING A TEAM PLAYER. THAT IS FALLACIOUS. I WORK VERY WELL WITH CREATIVE PEOPLE THAT ARE ON THE SAME WAVE LENGTH. PEOPLE COME TOGETHER BECAUSE THEY NEED EACH OTHER. THAT IS NATURAL. I WANT THE PROPER ATTITUDE AND SKILLS TO BE SHARED TO CREATE THE POSITIVE DREAM. THAT IS WHAT WE HAD WITH THE GREEN MACHINE TEAM. ALL OF THE CONSULTANTS ADDED TO OR CHANGED MY IDEAS. I WAS OPEN TO IMPROVEMENT. LIKE ANY PROJECT OF THIS SCOPE IT NEEDS MANY EXPERTS, WAY BEYOND MY KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS. I BEING THE DIRECTOR AND BEING IN CONTROL . DESIGN BY COMMITTEE NOT AN OPTION FOR ME , DESIGN CONTOL IS THE KEY TO MAKING A HARMONIOUS WHOLE.

WE APPROACHED ALL THE GOVERNMENTAL AND PRIVATE ENTITIES THAT WOULD HAVE A SAY ABOUT HOW TO BUILD THE GREEN MACHINE, LIKE FIRE DEPARTMENT, COSTAL COMMISSION, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ETC. WE GOT THE GREEN LITE FROM THESE AGENCIES WITH A LIST OF WHAT THEY WANTED INCORPORATED, WHICH WE ADAPTED.

PAT RUSSEL ASSISTED IN GETTING A CITY SITE ON AN ABANDONED RED CAR STRIP BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH VENICE BLVD. FIVE BLOCKS FROM THE OCEAN. THIS WAS A BIG ASSET THAT ALLOWED A REALISTIC SITE FOR THE PROJECT.

THE CONCEPT OF THE GREEN MACHINE WAS TO BUILD A LOW INCOME HOUSING PROJECT THAT PUSHED THE KNOWN ECOLOGICAL TECHNOLOGY OF THE DAY.
IT TOOK AN ACRE OF LAND. THAT WOULD NORMALLY BE DEVELOPED IN A PERMANENT DIVIDED MANNER OF EIGHT RESIDENTIAL LOTS. WE PRODUCED A COMMUNITY PARK, COMMUNITY VEGETABLE GARDEN, DETACHED MOVABLE HOUSING FOR 24 FAMILIES, MINIMUM TAXATION ON THE LAND. BEING SUSTAINABLE: BY COLLECTING WATER, RECYCLING SEWAGE, CO GENERATING ENERGY, COLLECTING GARBAGE AND PRODUCING FOOD. ALL PACKAGED IN A SPACE FRAME SOLAR MOUNTAIN COVERED WITH VEGETATION. IN SHORT I WAS PROPOSING A BUILD ABLE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE. THE GREEN MACHINE DID NOT HAVE THE ROMANCE OF BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE, BUT IT DID APPEAL TO THE REAL WORLD. IT WAS BUILD ABLE AND IN THE HERE AND NOW,

IT ADDRESSED THE NEED TO LIVE IN SMALL ECONOMICAL SPACES THAT TOOK MINIMUM UTILITIES TO OPERATE. THE QUESTION OF WHETHER PEOPLE THAT ARE RAISED IN LARGE SPACES CAN ADOPT TO SMALL SPACES HAS BEEN PROVEN . OUR SOCIETY SUFFERS FROM TOO MUCH STUFF. WHEN ONE TAKES A TRIP AND REDUCES THEIR WARDROBE TO A SUITCASE FOR A MONTH OF LIVING, IT BECOMES ALL SO OBVIOUS WE LIVE WITH MORE THAN NECESSARY. THE COMPUTER AGE LETS ME CARRY 50 YEARS OF PROFESSIONAL WORK AROUND ON MY LAP TOP. THE SHRINKING OF PHYSICAL PERMANENT NEEDS IS HERE.

THERE WAS THIS DUALITY BETWEEN PRIVATE PADS AND COMMON SPACE. THERE WAS SPACE AROUND ONES UNIT SO YOU DID NOT FEEL JAMMED AGAINST OTHERS. AND WHEN YOU WANTED TO EXCAPE THE CONFINES OF THE PAD THE PUBLIC CORRIDOR WAS FUN AND GAMES IN ALL TYPES OF WEATHER. THE PARK AND GARDENS OFFERED GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE.

the pad of the green machine with trailer, open space and view.

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the interior corridor with tenant interaction. the happening place. you literally could not escape interacting.

WITH THE GREEN MACHINE IT WAS LIVING WITH A COUPLE OF AIRSTREAM TRAILERS FOR A FAMILY, AN AIRSTREAM FOR THE ADULTS AND ONE FOR THE KIDS. THE HOUSING MODULAR TWO TRAILERS ZIPPED TOGETHER THAT COULD SLEEP SIX.

IT DID NOT HAVE A UNIVERSAL BEAUTY THEME. BUT IT HAD ENOUGH VISUAL IMPACT TO CREATE REACTIONS. I NEVER HEARD WORDS LIKE UGLY, OR STRANGE. THE ONLY COMMENTS I HEARD WAS THAT IT WAS IN STARK CONTRAST TO THE DING BAT APARTMENTS AND HOMES ADJOINING IT. YES THE EXISTING NEIGHBORHOOD WAS A MESS BUT IT WAS A FAMILIAR MESS. I PERSONALLY FOUND THE PROJECT TOO MACHINE LIKE, LACKING THE SENSUALITY THAT I LIKE. THE VISUAL SAVING GRACE WAS THAT IT WAS A LARGE TRELLIS TAPERING OUT OF THE GROUND COVERED WITH FOLIAGE. THE PROJECT WAS A DEMONSTRATION OF A LOT OF THINGS COMBINED. LIKE A SWISS ARMY KNIFE. ABLE TO DO A LOT OF THINGS, BUT NOT THE BEST IN ANY ONE AREA. THIS WAS AN ASSET AND A DETERRENT, BECAUSE IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO JUDGE WHEN A COMPLEXITY OF ISSUES ARE INVOLVED. IT DID STAND OUT IN THE FACT THAT IT COMBINED A MULTITUDE OF IMPORTANT ISSUES. A PROTOTYPE THAT COULD BE MONITORED AND EVALUATED AS A REAL LIVE ECOLOGICAL HOUSING EXPERIMENT FOR THE POOR, BUT HAD APPLICATION FOR EVERY MONETARY CLASS.

THE STRUCTURE WAS A TUBULAR SPACE FRAME FILLED WITH WATER FOR FIRE PROOFING. WHEN THE FIRE STARTED IT WOULD HEAT THE FRAME AT ONE SPOT, THUS CREATING A DIFFERENTIAL OF HEAT THAT WOULD MAKE THE WATER CIRCULATE, LIKE THE RADIATOR OF A CAR. SAUL BASSS THE ELECTRICAL ENGINEER WANTED TO RUN THE WIRES IN THE SAME SPACE. I DESIGNED A TRIANGULATED SPACE FRAME SYSTEM. PETER PEARCE OF BIOSPHERE 2 FAME AND AUTHOR OF MANY BOOKS DEVELOPED THE SPACE FRAME, WITH CUBES IN COMBINATION WITH THE TRIANGULATION. THUS REDUCING THE LENGTH OF STRUTS AND ALLOWING FOR THE RECTANGULAR WORLD OF GLAZING. JUST AN EXAMPLE OF REALLY KNOWING YOUR STUFF AND BEING ABLE TO ADAPT IT TO THE FUNCTIONAL USE.

THE SHAPE OF THE STRUCTURE WAS PREDICATED ON SPREADING THE LOAD OUT AT THE BASE AND THEN TAPERING UPWARD. IT WAS A SOLAR ENVELOPE THAT MINIMIZED SHADOWS ON ADJOINING PROPERTY AND TAPERED THE BULK OF THE MASS FROM THE STREETS AND ADJOINING HOUSING. BEING IN A COMMON RIGHT OF WAY WITHOUT OTHER BUILDINGS IT STOOD ALONE AS AN ART PIECE.

WE TOOK THE PROJECT TO THE COMMUNITY WITH DISPLAYS ON THE VENICE BOARDWALK AND A MEETING WITH THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. THERE WAS ONE MEETING WITH THE YOUNG HIGH ENERGY PROGRESSIVE BUSINESS TYPES. I KNEW SOME OF THESE LIKE ROGER WEBSTER AND TOM SEWELL. I BUYING FROM SEWELL A SERGEANT PEPPER OUTFIT AND TWO 6′ X 10′ X 18″ DEEP FOAM BEDS FROM SEWELL AT HIS GARAGE SALE THAT WERE WELL USED. SEWELL AND WEBSTER WERE ECCENTRIC RICH GUYS THAT OWNED MANY BUILDINGS IN VENICE. I THOUGHT THEY WOULD RALLY FOR THE GREEN MACHINE- THEY ONCE CLIMBED A HUGE MAGNOLIA TREE IN OCEAN PARK TO PROTEST ITS DESTRUCTION , BUT THIS ZEAL DID NOT TRANSFER TO THE GREEN MACHINE. ZERO RESPONSE,  A BUMMER. I TRIED TO MAKE CONNECT RECENTLY TO GET THEIR INPUT, BUT TOM IS PERMANENTLY LOUNGING IN HAWAII AND AND DID NOT RESPOND TO MY E MAIL. THE SITE IS STILL VACANT SO I COULD USE THEIR HELP, IF SO INCLINED NOW, TO RESURRECT THE GREEN MACHINE.

the display on the site with a 31 foot airstream trailer on pad in relationship to corridor. a 1/2 ” scale model model by peter pierce the center piece.

cross section 1/2″ scale model, connection node space frame, peter pierce

the display on the site with airstream trailer on pad in relationship to corridor. a 1/2 scale model model by peter pierce the center piece.

glen small, peter piece, calvin hamilton july 1980

terry glassman with playboy bunny love linda on roller skates, terry a fellow professor at sci-arc filling out viewer response orchestrated by david stea ucla professor behind the table

THE HIGH POINT WAS A PUBLIC DISPLAY ON THE SITE ON FOURTH OF JULY 1980 WEEKEND. AIRSTREAM DONATED A 31 FOOT TRAILER, AND WE MOCKED UP THE CROSS SECTION OF A TYPICAL INTERIOR CORRIDOR. ONE IRATE WOMAN THAT WAS OPPOSED TO SUBSIDIZED HOUSING, SWUNG HER CANE AT THE MODEL ON DISPLAY. AS A YOUNG WOMAN AFTER WAR II, SHE HAD LIVED IN A TRAILER IN A STATE OF BLISS WITH A MAN, BUT THAT DIDN’T DAMPEN HER OUTRAGE. SHE WAS OPPOSED TO ANY GOVERNMENT ASSISTANT HOUSING PROGRAMS FOR THE POOR. DAVID STEA THE PSYCHOLOGIST TOOK AN OPINION POLE OF THE PUBLIC WITH QUESTIONNAIRES . SEVENTY ONE PERCENT OF THE PUBLIC LIKED THE PROJECT, 19 PERCENT DIDN’T HAVE AN OPINION, AND 10 PERCENT ADVERSARIES WITH PASSION.

THE DISPLAY WAS THE EXACT WIDTH AND HEIGHT OF A TYPICAL CORRIDOR OF THE GREEN MACHINE. HOWARD NEWHOUSE HELPED IN MAKING IT OUT OF SONA TUBES FROM CARPET ROLLS WITH 2X4 WOOD CORES. THAT WE WIRED TOGETHER. NOT ALL THAT STRONG, BUT THE GEOMETRY SAVED THE DAY. AIRSTREAM BROUGHT A TRAILER FOR DISPLAY FOR ALL TO SEE HOW IT SET ON THE STRUCTURE IN THE SKY.

I HAD TO GET INSURANCE FOR THE DISPLAY, THE INSURANCE BROKER WAS KIND ENOUGH TO GET MY COMMITMENT TO COVER THE INSURANCE, BUT I HAD NOT SENT THE CHECK, SO WE GOT COVERAGE, AND AFTER THE EVENT, SINCE THERE WERE NO ACCIDENTS THE POLICY WAS DISSOLVED WITHOUT ME PAYING THE CASH. NOW THAT IS CREATIVE MONEY MANAGEMENT. . I USED MY MOTOR OFFICE AT THE SITE TO MAKE MODELS ETC. FOR THE DISPLAY. A LOCAL ARTIST PUT UP HIS FLAGS TO GIVE A FESTIVE SPIRIT, AND THE LOCAL NURSERY PROVIDED SOME PLANTS.

CALVIN HAMILTON, THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING FOR LA AND PETER PIERCE THE POLYHEDRA GENIUS OF BIOSPHERE 2 FAME SHOWED UP AT THE DISPLAY AS WELL. WE WERE ALL SO HOPEFUL OF IMPLEMENTATION.

WE BUILT AN UPDATED MODEL WITH SUHEIL SHATARA IN CHARGE WITH PAT KONRAD ASSISTING. PUT IT IN A GLASS CASE AND DISPLAYED IT EVERYWHERE WE COULD.

glen machine 1/8 ” scale model, the artist’s studios on the top level

green machine 1/8″ scale model. community garden in lower front, community park in upper right. there was a subsurface irrigation system that watered the garden and park with grey water from the inhabitants.

THE CULMINATION WAS THE COMPLETION OF THE FEASIBILITY STUDY IN A BOOKLET THAT OPENED WITH AN ENDORSEMENT LETTER FROM CALVIN HAMILTON THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING. STATING
“THIS PROJECT IS TRULY A MAJOR PIONEERING EFFORT FOR HOUSING INNOVATION AND ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, ITS IMPLEMENTATION IS ALMOST SURE TO STIMULATE PRIVATELY-FINANCED PROJECTS WHICH WILL MAKE FURTHER CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FIELDS OF HOUSING, OPEN SPACE, RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND ENERGY PRODUCTION.”

THE GREEN MACHINE STUDY HAD STARTED IN 1977 AND WAS COMPLETED IN JULY OF 1980.

site plan and vicinity map, there were fruit trees in conjunction with the garden

ground floor plan, parking lot with berm storage units. circulation core left and right

THE GROUND LEVEL FOR CARS ON GRADE UNDER THE STRUCTURE, ON TURF BLOCK TO ALLOW DRAINAGE AND PLANT GROWTH. WITH STORAGE LOCKERS ON THE PERIMETER IN A GREEN BUILT UP BERM. THERE WAS A SMALL PUBLIC PARK TO THROW A FISSBY AND SWING AND CLIMB FOR KIDS.

A VEGETABLE GARDEN FOR SERIOUS FOOD PLANTS, A RECYCLE AREA, AND A TURF BLOCK ACCESS DRIVE FOR CRANES ON TRUCKS TO REARRANGE THE MODULAR UNITS AS NEEDED.

the first floor was for families. there were two trailers per pad or a modular house. used airstream trailers were selling for $7,000 and came in a variety of sizes. i have always had an attraction to compact spaces.something about going back to the womb. parent in one trailer and kids in another. a modular house was designed that cost $17,000. using motor home technology and compatible with airstream aesthetics. it was 540 square feet with three bedrooms and kitchen, bath and living/dining. that opened into one space or closed into rooms for privacy. a retractable center roof to create and interior patio . all on wheels to qualify for space saving building code sizes. in the corridor there was a laundry area modular.

the second floor was for elderly and families with adult kids in large trailers or a living modular. the pads on the first floor were larger than those on the second floor. there were separation triangle light slots next to the corridor that also gave separation

the third level was for artist and the street was devoted to a greenhouse with planting trays. the pads had a tensile roof that created a large open space. there was a compact plumbing and sleeping core on wheels.

THE DIVISION OF FAMILIES, ELDERLY, AND ARTISTS WAS BASED ON KIDS BEING NEXT TO THE GROUND AND NOT HAVING TO GO THROUGH OTHER SPACES TO GET TO THE GROUND.

THE ELDERLY NOT HAVING TO DEAL WITH KIDS DIRECTLY ON THEIR LEVEL. BUT STILL IN CONTACT WITH THE YOUTH IN THE STRUCTURE.

cross and south elevation

the longitudinal section showing the 17′ stacked corridors. stairs on each end and slide on the left and inclined elevator on the right

elevation tracking solar collectors on top,

the adult slide went between levels and to the ground. we found an existing slide that could be adapted.

the slide and stair combined

a modular home for a family of six, using fold out beds for sleeping and sliding panels for privacy. when open the spaces all flowed together. a sliding roof panel gave star viewing openness. making a connection to the heavens.

the modular was composed of two trailers connected, both with wheels and being able to be towed. the state of california allowing for small spaces when trailers on wheels. my dealings in sacramento with state officials were positive to this approach.

the high tech look to go along with the airstream trailers. i found a motor home maker that said we could build these for $17, 000 each for a run of 16 fully equipped, $14,000 each for a run of 100. not bad for a high end design for a family of six, that could be transported elsewhere if so inclined.

the artist plumbing and bedroom modular. the pad being enclosed with a tensile roof that allowed for a variety of arrangement options. the plumbing core rolled where needed.

the kitchen backs up to the bathroom and the bed is on top.

the crane truck moving the trailer onto the pad.

rather than a permanent crane, it was determined a standard crane truck would come out and move things around as necessary.

the anchors to hold the housing and trailers to the pads

the systems used to be sustainable , it was all there to make it happen

the concept was to be sustainable. a lot more eco stuff now available to assist in this goal.

up close in paradise

WHAT KIND OF RESIDENT WOULD INHABIT THE GREEN MACHINE? BEING AN EXPERIMENT IT WOULD NEED INFORMED INTELLIGENT MOTIVATED USERS. THE INTELLECTUAL POOR. NOW BEING ONE MYSELF IT SHEDS SOME TOLERANCE ON THOSE WHO HAVE NOT. I ALWAYS BEING A BELIEVER THAT MANY OF THE INTERACTIONS FORCED UPON THE POOR ARE GOOD TO HAVE PEOPLE RELATE TO EACH OTHER. (LIKE SITTING ON FRONT STEPS AND PLAYING IN THE STREET) ONE OF THE BASIC THINGS OF MAN THAT HAS OF LATE BEEN IGNORED WITH OUR ISOLATION SOCIETY.

THE PITCH WAS SECTION 8 HOUSING WHICH IS GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIZED HOUSING. THE INHABITANTS WOULD TAKE THEIR RENT MONEY PROVIDED AND DIVIDE IT BETWEEN THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE GREEN MACHINE AND BUYING THEIR UNIT, WHETHER IT BEING THEIR MODULAR OR TRAILER. AT THE TIME YOU COULD PURCHASE A USED AIRSTREAM FOR $7,000 AND THE NEW HOUSING MODULAR FOR $17,000, SO WITHIN A RELATIVE SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME ONE COULD OWN THEIR UNIT.

OWNERSHIP HAS SHOWN THAT PEOPLE TAKE CARE OF THEIR PROPERTY AND DEFEND IT FROM BEING TRASHED BY OTHERS. AT THE TIME A RATHER NOVEL CONCEPT, NOW A COMMON PROCEDURE IN SUBSIDIZED HOUSING.

THE WHOLE GREEN MACHINE INCLUDING THE UNITS HAD A PRICE TAG OF ABOUT $1,400,000 , THE PRICE OF ONE ESTATE IN BEL AIR AT THE TIME. THE PAD AND UNIT WERE $60,000 EACH, A BIT SPENDY, BUT REASONABLE FOR THE EXPERIMENT OF 24 LIVING UNITS TRYING TO BE SELF SUFFICIENT AND TENANTS BUYING BACK THEIR UNITS AND HAVING ALL THE COMMUNAL SPACE. THE LAND OWNED BY THE CITY WAS ON TOP OF THIS, AND WOULD REVERT BACK TO THE CITY IF NEEDED FOR OTHER PURPOSES IN THE FUTURE. THE STRUCTURE BEING DEMOUNTABLE AND ABLE TO MOVE.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GREEN MACHINE ? GREEN MACHINE 3 BLOG

GLEN

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  • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

    READERS,

    THIS BLOG HAS BEEN UP FOR FOUR DAYS WITHOUT A SQUEEK OF A
    COMMENT. PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BLOGS TO DATE THAT ADDRESSES MANY IMPORTANT ISSUES IN A REFINED WAY. DO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE BELL BOTTOM PANTS OF CALVIN HAMILTON INSTEAD ?

    GLEN

    • http://www.baranstudio.com Matt

      Personally, I liked Terry Glassman’s short shorts the best.

      • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

        matt,

        they do have a graphic look , but i prefer linda’s.

        glen

      • http://N/A David

        The only comment so far about your post on ‘Green Machine 2″ ( about someone’s shorts) must have made you throw your arms up in the air in exasperation, if not in disgust.
        Bucky Fuller (although NOT an architect) said his ideas were usually about a quarter-century ahead of time, and often took that long to actually appear in three-dimensional reality. So maybe reality has at last caught up with your Green Machine project and now is the time for it to get built.
        I hope you get some intelligent responses when you describe what happened to the Green Machine — so far — in your upcoming GM Blog #3, but I hope you will also provide plenty of on- site construction photos (in GM blog #4).
        By the way, I’d be interested to know what you think of the architect Eli Inbar’s blog at http://archidialog.com/ called ‘Someone Has Built it Before”. He seems to be saying that architects (such as Bjarke Ingels) plagiarize other architects as a matter of course, which Inbar advocates (but he calls plagiarism the ‘Conscious Inspiration Method’ ). He has countless pages of illustrations to prove his point.

        • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

          david,

          plagiarism is fine with me. we live in an era that is very diverse. ” big Bjarke Ingels”
          besides being an architect is a super salesman and he can get creative ideas built in the real world. he is all commercial, which is the name of the game. that is not me, so i am glad he can get the ideas built.

          i regret that he has not tapped me or made a connection. someone from his office contacted me years ago when orhan pointed out that turf town was copied by their office. i got back to them last year, but they are silent towards me as of the moment.

          so maybe my roll is
          putting out ideas that others can build. i just wish i would receive something in exchange, like credit or money. but that is asking too much out of humanity.

          glen

    • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

      Glen,

      I don’t have a blog site, so cannot comment directly to your blog. Thus email. If you want to place my comments from this email onto blog site that’s OK.

      Usually, in city apartment living, there is no or very little sense of community. Each apartment dweller is separated, not only by walls and doors, but by the urban person that they are. Conventional apartments seldom are structured to invite a communitarian life. Most adults I know, seem to prefer their own, private realm, with the ‘common’ spaces used primarily as transitional from private to public. Some folks are neighborly, others are not. Fences do tend to make good neighbors. Extroverts plan communal gatherings; introverts shy away. The presence of children tends to create temporary alliances across fences and, occasionally, long term relationships. There seems to be justifications for a wide range of architectural responses to the degree of commonality required or inherent in projects.

      The Green Machine is unique. The concept and design are thoroughly and beautifully presented. So, what kind of experience can a resident expect? It is clear that the residents would unequivocally identify
      with this unique, one of a kind residence. This identification would automatically establish a sense of association just by virtue of the architectural form. Whether a person was extroverted or introverted, rich or poor, young or old, they would definitely experience a strong association to their Green Machine home.

      This primary fact of identification suggests a social form. Co-Housing is a form in which residents have various degrees of privacy within a commons ‘owned’ by everyone. Consequently, private residences can be smaller, simpler. The commons provides the space and things for much of what is duplicated from household to household. It seems an obvious way to go. The combination of a radically different architecture and a communitarian social form would self select a certain segment of the society. Not, in my mind, simply true believers in Co-Housing or vertical trailer parks, but a cross section of people from many backgrounds, who want a more cooperative living style in their immediate home environment.

      This leads to proposing a wider range of activities associated in the Green Machine environment. The whole structure could be a school. But, more in line with the residential concept presented, there could be a pre-school/child care component with space(s) for this function. It could be an office building. Or with primarily residential use, there could be office spaces for 0 miles/time commuting. This well defined small social group could establish a small industry there.

      The concept of plug-in units that are owned and come from somewhere else, means there needs to be a supply of potential unit/residents ready to replace. This seems to imply that there will be a ongoing reordering of residents and their personal plug-in units. Trailer/mobile home parks are not so mobile, as folks settle in permanently, then sell their immovable units to the next person. If the Green Machine became a long term residency structure, then the flexibility of plugging in and out would not be necessary: permanent units could be installed from the beginning for sale or rent, essentially the same as in conventional building. It seems, then, that to fulfill the promise of the Green Machine, the units should come and go on a regular basis, a bit like RV parks rather than mobile home parks. Conventionally people come and go, the building stays. For the Green Machine, the people and the building go. This may work against the Co-Housing social structure, which is currently associated with permanency. However, there isn’t any reason why a more mobile and temporary set of residents couldn’t adopt or fit into a Co-Housing regime. It would work well for vacation use or residency while working at the site. College students could plug in just for the semester. The Green Machine could well be a manufacturing environment. Plug-in units could be constructed, particularly the insides, on the pads, then lifted off to be used somewhere else.

      Personally, I’m not too keen on stepping directly from my most personal and private space into a totally public space. I prefer more of a transition. In a school or office and etc., this sudden transition is expected and one learns to tolerate it. Perhaps the concept of ‘front porch’ can be part of the plug-in package, a space that works toward the public and private, a neutral zone associated with individual units, yet accessible by invitation to the public.

      The Green Machine appears to be considerably lighter than a conventional buildings of similar size. The minimal foundation not requiring excessive grading and compaction is a plus. The lighter weight coupled with the pyramidal form than reduces mass the higher it goes, is a very good structural response to heavy duty earthquake country. Lifting the units well off the ground, works well for tsunami and flooding.

      Use of the tubular structure for emergency fire fighting seems OK. Constant domestic water use at 50-60 lbs pressure would require much more elaborate joint sealing than just for structure and fire fighting.

      Specific site conditions will dictate the best solution for cars on site. The ground level space under the structure is very valuable space. One can imagine many ways to use this space as part of life in the Green Machine. In most climates, covered outdoor areas are highly desirable, whether because of sun, rain or snow. Here we have such a generous space that is organic to the architecture. Without any additional building, covered ground level space is automatically provided. Cars, which are built to be out in the worst of weather conditions, don’t need such a grand and dominant presence, where they take up valuable usable space, and being directly under a living structure, will pollute and are a potential for fire. If possible, I believe cars should be kept at the periphery with minimum encroachment onto the site. Earth forms, plants and elevation differences, as well as architectural screens and overheads are useful to shape and screen parking areas.

      The fact is that there are millions of people living in structures meant to move: trailers, RV’s and removable units carried by pickups. I believe the power of the Green Machine lies with its ability to immediately be a port for existing mobile living structures, which are mostly owned by the inhabitants.
      The ability to simply ‘plug in’ on a pad to a total living environment would, I believe, draw in many people. As it is, the usual trailer/RV park doesn’t come close to providing this kind of totality. The Green Machine provides virtually the same degree of flexibility for moving on, or temporarily leaving and returning to ‘home’.

      David

      David Teachout
      [email protected]

  • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

    Glen,

    The lack of a response, intelligent conversation and critical analysis of the Green Machine by some of the thousands who have viewed your presentations is revealing. Perhaps, the pathetic one line comment about shorts is emblematic of the disinterest and ignorance of the comprehensive approach to architecture that you have practiced for many years. I have experienced similar non-response or pathetic comments regarding my work in the architectural fields, the visual arts and writing. In fifty years there has been only a handful of responses that were substantial, that spoke with intelligence to the essential aspects of a creative expression.

    The comprehensive approach to architectural problems, or one might say, the ecological approach is not the norm. Architects have been forced to consider energy efficiency as a central attribute in design. My work of forty years ago, that designed as comprehensively as possible within significant constraints and included the whole site, the direct use of the sun’s energy, an integrated building and landscape design, was indeed radical when compared to the conventional at that time. To integrate all aspects of an environmental design was what I thought was the task of the architect. Architecture is far more than appearance. Yet appearance, the end point, the resultant of the design process, it seems, is most often a foregone conclusion from which the design process works backwards to justify. The organic evolvement of an original solution based on the genetic information gathered with an open minded approach, makes it possible to include, to integrate, to evoke a product that is a natural result of the relevant information. How can one know what the result will be without going through the design process to find out?

    There is no communication when a potential correspondent writes a one line comment, ala FaceBook, which states like or dislike etc. This non-communication is rampant. Any serious and meaningful communication about architecture and, in particular, the Green Machine, requires reasoned and developed thinking about its concept and design. Certainly, there is abundant information to inspire thorough and relevant discussion. With understanding, criticism can have real meaning. The creator of such a singular work of architecture, is respected when a correspondent communicates fully about the actuality of the project presented. I have a sense, that architects have become so digitalized, so specialized, that they are not able to respond to the comprehensive design of the Green Machine.

    It is becoming a common sight to see car parks covered with photovoltaic panels. This seems like a natural. And with electric cars on the rise, an easy connection to charge them. Commonly, trees were included in parking lots, both to sufferage for the trees and complaints by car owners of litter, sap and bird droppings. Seldom is there space for a tree to grow properly. It has to deal with toxins and neglect. There is always a requirement to max out the area for the most cars. There are most elaborate regulations tied to square footage, use, and influence for car parks. My previous argument to remove the cars from underneath the Green Machine to the periphery of the site, is further supported by the use of photovoltaics over the cars, increasing energy production considerably without using up precious land area.

    Cars are a reality at the Green Machine. Can’t be ignored. Take up as much area as the structure. Leads one to conclusion that Green Machine locations be on transit routes, and that residents be given free passes to public transport, and discount taxi vouchers would encourage fewer on site cars, actually end up costing less than providing for more cars. Zip Cars on site for use would decrease number also. If located close to markets and shops, then walking and biking become viable for everyday activities. Leave for a month with trailer, rent a vehicle rather than store it on site. All these strategies are inherent in the form of the Green Machine and important considerations in the implementation phase, which was interrupted thirty years ago.

    Noise will be a problem at the Venice Blvd. location. Roads close by on both sides and living elevated, it will be noisy from vehicles. This problem might lead to sound baffles as railings on the trailer pads. The acoustics of the common interiors are a mystery now. There are hard surfaces, but many angles. Glass can be very intense acoustically. Plants will moderate sound if in the right places. My guess is that the interior spaces will have to be acoustically ‘tuned’, modified, once the structure is fully built.

    It’s not enough to say that plants will grow all over the Green Machine. This is a wonderful attribute of the design. However, integrating plants and structure will be a challenge to realize the verdant environment envisioned by the designer. Design, installation and, very importantly, on-going maintenance will require a good deal of the attention of knowledgeable horticulturists to create and sustain a successful planted environment.

    Trailer pads offer possibilities for individual ‘gardens’ in containers. Rather than having inappropriate containers and jury-rigged garden stuff that might fit in at ground level bungalows, well designed, movable containers for long term use could be chosen for ‘gardens’ on the pads. Since the containers would be part of the Green Machine, the soil in them should be supplied and renewed by the commons economy.

    Most complexes in city areas like the Green Machine’s, have high security concerns. The encouragement of spontaneous socializing within the structure with folks one may know or not know, unfortunately, opens up the possibility of intruders. How does the Green Machine deal with this very real problem?

    David

    David Teachout
    [email protected]

  • GLEN HOWARD SMALL

    david,

    thank you for your interest and comments. i like the green machine the way it was designed. perimeter cars exposed takes away from the concept of contained.

    you have a problem with cars, yet have relied on them your whole life. where you live in the redwoods attest to that. you are right they are being upgraded all the time and the advances are going to make the whole idea of petroleum obsolete.

    the green machine will have space for these new vehicles.

    sound is with us in the cities and close to the ocean. people live with that. plants do absorb and reflect sound. the more the better.

    your concern that others have not responded to the green machine blog is a mystery to me, but it could be that people feel the blog is self explanatory.
    in many ways the green machine is an embarrassment to our society that it has not been built. people are not that advanced to accept it as reality. maybe someday, but at the moment it is still paper architecture.

    keep close,

    glen

  • http://www.balboarvpark.com/ JasmineElla

    Oh really, The green machine is a great machine

  • http://www.balboarvpark.com/ JasmineElla

    Oh really, The green machine is a great machine.Layout of machine is more complicated

  • http://www.baranstudio.com Matt

    Wow Glen, I had no idea the people reading your blog were so up tight. Get a sense of humor. At least it got people talking. Maybe the reason more people don’t comment is they feel the project, like the shorts, are a little out of fashion. I’m sure it’s not supposed to be about style, but let’s face it, in this pathetic one line world we now live in, sex sells.

    Personally, I’m most interested in the war stories about how you told the dean of Columbia to F off, left your family and went to live in a trailer before filing for bankruptcy for the 3rd time. Those are great.