Hello, Prius!

Hello, Prius! With our new, dark gray Toyota Prius, we have finally entered into Hybrid territory, and the miles per gallon are pretty exciting on this side of the fence!  Ron is slightly obsessed with monitoring his driving... it is amazing how much fuel anyone can save by avoiding those 'stomp-on-the-pedal' take offs.

So- give us a shout (or honk) if you see us around town!

Thanks for all the awesome naming suggestions via our Facebook page... we'll be announcing her name shortly!

Designing in the New Year

Here at 2 Point, we are passionate about the environment and good design.  While our blog has been heavy on green building, green living, and green events, we've been slacking on the design side!

Today, as I was flipping through a few tomes from our extensive design library, I came across these cute little train station shelters that are found all over Hanover, Germany.  They were designed by Despang Architekten.

I love how they use the same simple glass canopied design for each shelter, but make a big statement by changing just one material.  Isn't it interesting how haphazard the natural stones seem in comparison to the large, uniform scale of the dark tiles.  Also, the vertical and horizontal wood shelters not only play up the directionality of the material, but how the planks are installed (Mind the gap!).

Materials are a key component of any architectural project.  Select your materials wisely, detail their installation carefully, and reap the rewards of a good design!

Okay- that's the design-aerobics for today...

Which station is your favorite?  I think I would be happy waiting for the train at any of these!

Gobble Gobble!

2 Point Perspective - Turkey Coop

So what does a turkey have to do the architecture? Well, we've all heard of chicken coops, but did you know that there are also turkey coops? Neither did we... that is until we used the reclaimed wood from a disassembled turkey coop for our GreenChoice Bank project.

When we designed the GreenChoice Bank headquarters (set to open when the Green Exchange launches next summer), we designed an elegant wall of curving wood - turkey shout out - which acted as a backdrop for the space.  When the GreenChoice branches in Lockport and Cicero were being designed, we utilized the same element to maintain a consistent look and used the reclaimed wood to complete the look.  

 

Check out the before and afters!



Solar Panels on the Brain!

2 Point Perspective - Solar Panels

We have solar panels on the brain! And, as we just made the down payment, will soon have solar panels on our roof! Everyone has been talking about solar panels lately so I was shocked to find out just how few people, even those in the green movement, actually have them. With our home's location on a Landmark street, we had to get approval, but with the low profile panels (installed horizontally), you can’t see a thing from the street!

Have you thought about solar panels? If not, you may rethink after you hear about the benefits and the payback time.  With a 30% federal tax incentive, a 30% DCEO state rebate, and often with manufacturers’ rebates to boot, the paybacks really can hit the 5-7 year period. After that, every kilowatt you produce is free energy! Plus, you get to feel good about the fact that you are using clean power instead of coal (cough, cough) or nuclear (toxic waste, anyone?).

So what about the worries that many people have? Here are a few honest answers.

-Will the incentives stick around? Probably for a while -Will panels get more affordable? Yes, but the incentives may wane simultaneously. -Do I have to be a multi-millionaire? No. Some installers even help with financing. -Is panel quality going to improve? Possibly, but most panels now come with a warranty stating that in 25 years, they will still be operating at 80% efficiency. Not too shabby.

Solar panels do require a down payment, which is probably the primary reason that most people don’t move ahead. But if you do have a few bucks lying around, instead of investing back in the wildly unpredictable market, consider investing in our planet. As energy prices continue to rise (and they will), your investment will pay back quickly.

And, of course, don’t forget about the best feature of solar panels… bragging rights!


"Designer" Pumpkins

As you all know, fall is the time for creating all things pumpkin, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin cookies, and of course the famous pumpkin jack-o-lantern. Last month 2 Point Perspective was asked to contribute a pumpkin of our own design for a CREW (Commercial Real-estate Executive Women) event.  “Last Call for Fall” was held at Aqua Tower and architects and designers from around the city were asked to submit their "designer pumpkins" to be a part of CREW’s annual fundraiser.

Since the pumpkins would be going to a lucky guest and brought back to his/her home, we were not to create an overly cumbersome, crazy architect type jack-o-lantern.  This was for the best, as we realized creating Aqua Tower out of a gourd would be rather difficult!

In preparation for our pumpkin entry, team 2 Point decided to have a lunch time carving session and we skinned, shaved, sliced and scooped our practice pumpkins until we carved our finale piece!

Our pumpkin literally meant the world to us

We hope whoever got to take it home enjoyed it as much as we did!  And a special thanks to CREW for including us in their event!

How 2 Point Saved Halloween! (kinda)

You may think that Architects aren't super heroes...and you would be right. However, I was talking with a lovely recent client of ours, Paula Johnson, and she did make me feel like a super-star just for a moment!

The story starts with a cute, modest home in the historic part of Highland Park. The Johnson family had been living in the home for a few years, with one continual gripe.  The home had no front door.  Really.

There was a back door- as you might suspect-  on the back of the house.  But the other entry door was quite a mystery.  (Sorry, not a spooky Halloween mystery, but a 'no one could find the door' type mystery.)  The door wasn't on the front of the home, nor on the driveway side.  In fact, you had to walk across the front lawn, and along a property-line sidewalk to get there.  The upside was that they didn't get a lot of solicitations!

After assessing all their home frustrations, we created an updated floor plan that gave the Johnson's a front door, an entry vestibule (good for energy savings), and a front porch.  Not to mention a much appreciated master bathroom!

With the updates to the front of the home it now looks friendly and welcoming, and has a lot more character as well.  But the thing that made my day was when Paula said:

"We can't wait for Halloween now that we have a front door!"

Happy Halloween to everyone!

Local Food and Local Architects


With the grand opening of City Provisions Deli last month, chef Cleetus Friedman and team have taken local food to a new level! Here at 2 Point, we were proud to be the architect, for what is sure to become a Chicago institution.

2 Point Perspective - City Provisions Deli

When you stop by (1818 West Wilson), check out the amazing bloody mary mix, the chocolate-cherry granola bars, and the blue-cheese stuffed olives that nearly started a war here in the office. (Next time we’ll buy 2 jars, okay!) We hope you’ll also look past the tasty food to the “city-meets-farm” aesthetic. We were going for a look that would embody the local and sustainable food for which City Provisions has become known.

Now when Friedman carries in locally grown tomatoes and strawberries, they’ll be shelved on reclaimed wood and lit by energy efficient bulbs. The clean, straightforward floor plan is brought to life with materials that tell a story: repurposed wood from demolished buildings, farm-inspired murals that utilize low-VOC paints, and a energy-saving tankless hot water heaters. Every aspect of City Provisions has been constructed with an emphasis on keeping it sustainable, keeping it local, and keeping it green.

If These Walls Could Talk..


The homes we choose, and what we then choose to do with them says a lot about us! How do you live and what are your priorities? Where do you relax and what helps you relax? What are your triggers for stress? What do you need or not need?

2 Point Perspective - Emotionally Intelligent Home

All of these questions define the psychology of your perfect home. Whether you’re designing a new home or redefining your domicile, what considerations are at play when you create your list of “must haves” vs. “nice to haves”? What do these things say about practicality? Status? Security? Efficiency? Are you creating a home that will welcome visitors, or seeking a sanctuary and private space?

A growing body of research concerns emotionally intelligent design, and highlights the increased understanding and importance of neuroscience in design and decoration. In this arena, a host of considerations are at work, from optimizing space to accentuate the positive and deliver mood and health benefits, to design or purchase decisions that ignore practicalities and unknowingly mine the subconscious. The architectural dream-scapes of the film Inception come to mind.

While our perfect homes would all have different layouts, amenities, and aesthetics, understanding the reasoning behind our preferences is a key in getting them right. Like any possession, a perfect home does not create a perfect life; however, most of us would agree that coming home to an abode that promotes harmony and order would support a more peaceful existence.

Whether you know that you’d like vaulted ceilings and dramatic entryways, or cozier nooks that bring people together, working with an architect who asks the right questions and analyzes your answers can help you to understand what your perfect home is all about. Next, you're on the road to making it a reality!

Your perfect home says a lot about you. Are you listening?

Mindful Live! Presents Carbon Nation.

2 Point Perspective - Carbon Nation

On Thursday, September 23rd Lisa Elkins, our principal LEED AP, participated in a panel discussion for Mindful Metropolis on the subject of the film Carbon Nation. The film was presented and party goers were able to discuss the effect the film will bring to the green community and what future plans Carbon Nation will have on climate change solutions. Carbon Nation is a documentary movie about climate change SOLUTIONS. Even if you doubt the severity of the impact of climate change or just don’t buy it at all, this is still a compelling and relevant film that illustrates how SOLUTIONS to climate change also address other social, economic and national security issues. We meet a host of entertaining and endearing characters along the way.

• Carbon Nation is an optimistic (and witty) discovery of what people are already doing, what we as a nation could be doing and what the world needs to do to stave off climate change by moving to a low carbon economy.

• Public opinion is sliding the wrong way – far fewer people are concerned about climate change than even a year ago. Carbon Nation offers an entertaining, informed and pragmatic primer about why it’s incredibly smart to be a part of the new, low-carbon economy: it’s good business, it emboldens national & energy security and it improves health & the environment.

• Carbon Nation’s optimism and pragmatism is appealing across the political spectrum. While other good films have been about problems, blame and guilt, Carbon Nation is a film that celebrates solutions, inspiration and action.

Other panelists included: Jim Slama of FamilyFarmed.org and Jason Rothstein author of Carless in Chicago.

Gold - Not Just A Color (Ora Dental Studio)

2 Point Perspective - Ora Dental Studio

2 Point Perspective co-hosted Chicago’s eco-friendly movers and shakers last week to celebrate the launch of the greenest dental studio in Chicago-land. Ora Dental Studio is setting the bar for eco-dentistry practices, and they have a strong commitment to their patients as well. Their eco-dentistry approach follows the Green Guide for Health Care, and their new Wicker Park office space speaks volumes in it's super "green" status.

 

In a successful collaboration between eco-dentistry and eco-architecture, Ora Wicker Park was on course for LEED Silver Certification but made it to Gold Certification.  Additionally, it received a GreenDOC certification as well as a CleanMed Conference's Environmental Excellence Award for their commitment to sustainability.)  Architectural tours through the space highlighted design elements such as the eco-resin doors used for the treatment rooms, a multitude of recycled materials, and efficient lighting which filters around sculptural drywall soffits.  While not quite as glamorous, 2 Point made sure to include a super efficient mechanical system, Energy Star appliances, low flow plumbing fixtures, and a dedicated recycling area.

Guests dined on Tocco catered hors d’oeuvres and sipped Lynfred Winery’s Organic Wine and Peak Organic Ale. The real success of the evening was the honor of celebrating another first for green architecture in Chicago!

From "Big" to "Big Enough"

The American Dream has long centered around the home, and no one beats America when it comes to dreaming big. Literally.

Since the 1950s, homes have doubled in size, and we’ve continued to fill them with more and more stuff. However, since the recession, people are finally beginning to question if they really need all that extra space.

In Daniel Pink’s fantastic book, A Whole New Mind, he notes the paradox that "while living standards have risen steadily decade after decade, personal, family, and life satisfaction haven’t budged. That’s why more people – liberated by prosperity but not fulfilled by it- are resolving the paradox by searching for meaning.”

That meaning is much easier to find when your family members aren’t nine rooms away watching the flatscreen in their bathroom.

From an eco-perspective, unnecessarily large homes mean that additional building materials are manufactured and transported, and additional furnishings must be purchased to fill the additional square footage. Once completed the space must be heated, cooled, and cleaned for years to come.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that everyone live in a 600 square foot one bedroom home (though several of my architect friends in Europe live in stunning small spaces). Different people have different family sizes, lifestyles, hobbies, and each home must be able to accommodate their needs.

A good architect can create a clever plan that accommodates a clients needs, has a graceful ‘flow’, and minimizes square footage, and can help to ensure that your home reflects the things that are meaningful in your life.

Rather than getting stuck in the ‘bigger is better’ mentality of the recent past, try shifting to a ‘better is better’ state of mind. Get one handmade table instead of a cheap knockoff you’ll replace in a few years anyway.

And all those scary upfront costs that come with going green? They can nearly disappear if you trim back the square footage a bit.

If you’re building or moving, step back and ask yourself if you really need a guest kitchen or a playroom for each of your children. Rather than spending all your time heating and cooling and maintaining your big house, spend it enjoying the things that give you meaning in a home that is ‘big enough’.

'Carbon Nation Premiere in Millenium Park'

We are very excited to announce that one of our clients, Karen Weigert, is a producer on the film "Carbon Nation". It will be showing tomorrow, August 10th, in Millenium Park. The show is free to the public, live music will start at 7pm and the screening will begin at 8.

Carbon Nation is a positive, solutions-based, non-preachy, nonpartisan, big tent film about tackling climate change while boosting the economy, increasing national & energy security and promoting good health & a robust environment.

The festivities will feature performances by comedian Hal Sparks, the star of Shrek The Musical and The Happiness Club, a green carpet event with celebrities and the director, producers and stars of Carbon Nation.

Join us! We'll be there.

via 'Carbon Nation Premiere in Millenium Park'.

More Than Just 2 of Us

Many of you who have worked with us know that Ron and I are the lead architects at 2 Point, but there's no way we could handle all the work that comes into this office without the help of our amazing architecture team. Our team goes above and beyond for every project. Last weekend we had our company retreat (thus the casual attire in the photograph), and it was a great opportunity to step back from our hectic project schedule and talk with the hard workers that keep us afloat. From CAD renderings to 3D models to LEED checklists, these 4 help us take care of the crazy amount of things that need to be done every day.

So thanks to (from left to right) Matt Tillman, Ben Guler, Emily Wilbrandt and Ji Noh for all they do! We wouldn't be here without you.

These guys show a level of dedication that keeps us going green and going strong, we couldn't do it without you.

Vendors On Point - Evergreen Oak Electric

We formed a great partnership with Evergreen Oak a long time ago. We've used their products and services for years and we've never been disappointed. In fact, we loved them so much that in 2008 we redesigned their showroom. Evergreen Oak (our future Green Exchange neighbors) embodies a strong commitment to lighting design and technique, as well as a dedication to sustainability.

Vendors On Point

2 Point Perspective - Colori

A feature that gives you the inside scoop of some of 2 Point's favorite vendors. Colori -   Michelle Quaranta has a revolutionary way of looking at paint, from how it’s manufactured to how it makes you feel at the end of the day. Her holistic vision of paint not only creates stunning spaces, but also healthier home and work environments. In 2006 she opened Colori as part of the Coatings Alliance cooperative, and became a vendor we know we can always count on. This is a store that will not only help you find which colors are best for you, but how you can keep your white (or brown or yellow or red) walls green.

More Than Just 2 of Us

Did you know that I am not alone in my quest to spread 2 Point’s message of green architecture throughout the Chicago area?

In addition to an amazing group of architects, we have a marketing team in place to help spread our message. These great people have been instrumental in helping 2 Point get organized, gather the latest eco-info, and helping to turn our archi-speak into a message that normal people can relate to … plus they take a great picture!

Thanks to Patrick Rock, Claire Friedman, and Brian Felt for all they do!

These guys prove that work can be fun when you believe in what you are doing.

Green Exchange Lease Signing

Exciting news! Today we updated the lease for our upcoming Green Exchange office space… as we’ve grown we realized that we will definitely need a bigger space than we originally thought!

The 250,000 square foot building will hold dozens of green tenants, including 2 Point and several of our current neighbors at 1030 W Chicago. The building at 2545 W. Diversey Parkway is pre-certified as LEED-Platinum under the USGBC’s Core and Shell program.

2 Point is also proud to be the architect for several of the tenants moving into the Green Exchange (GreenChoice Bank, Evergreen Oak Electric and the gX Shared Office to name a few…).

Want to know more? Go to the Green Exchange website for the full scoop.

Radon Realities

The low down on new laws to protect you and your family


2 Point Perspective - Radon Detector

Here’s the bad news: Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. While Radon is an old topic, due to recent legislation in Illinois, we’re getting a lot of questions about it. The good news is that it is relatively easy and inexpensive to test for Radon in your home, and not terribly expensive to mitigate more serious cases...

Read the rest of the article at A Fresh Squeeze

First Exchange

You can feel it in the air, a general uplifting of spirit.  Whether it stems from a more optimistic economic outlook or from the fact that spring is just around the (albeit long) corner; is for you to decide.  But personally, I am enjoying the start of 2010! One project which gives great reason for this excitement is the Green Exchange.  After an unavoidable delay that stalled the project for several months in 2009, the 'gX' is back on track and making plans to open fall of this year

2 Point Perspective - Green Exchange

For those of you who don’t know of the Green Exchange, it is a retail and office space dedicated to eco-friendly and sustainable businesses.  A ‘green Merchandise Mart’ if you will.  All Green Exchange tenants are committed to environmentally conscious practices and the building is itself an eco-friendly structure.  Some green features include a solar thermal system, 41,329 gallon rain cistern, and state of the art recycling system (the high efficient heating/cooling, windows, and lighting fixtures all go without saying).  The shell building has been pre-certified to a level of  LEED Platinum!

In a city that has the objective of becoming the most environmentally friendly city in the nation, the Green Exchange will act as a physical manifestation of the ongoing eco-rhetoric.  The entire green community is excited about it and 2Point is thrilled to be not only a tenant, but also a designer for several of the spaces inside.  (Of course we must give a shout-out here to GreenChoice Bank, Evergreen Oak Electric, and the GX Shared Office which will be managed by The Delta Institute!)

So, for now I invite you to join my excitement.  In the future, I look forward to inviting you to join the grand opening festivities for this project  Let us enjoy these small victories, and hope that this is just the first of many steps in the right direction.

More information about the Green Exchange; including the history of, tenant profiles, and green features can be found at www.greenexchange.com.