This weekend found us braving the rain and cold in Washington D.C. at The Solar Decathlon sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. There were 20 college and university teams represented in a competition to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home. What we saw was truly mind-boggling and will cause reality-shifts all over the globe! Our son is an adviser for Team California, a collaboration between California College for the Arts and Santa Clara University. New materials, new aesthetics. All of the teams were able to power their own homes with the sun. Off the energy grid, so to speak. The homes made use of recycled "gray water" (run-off from showers, dishwashers and washing machines) to create peaceful water gardens on decks and porches. Some teams showed the harmony of feng shui by creating indoor and outdoor spaces that were interlaced. Most homes were highly flexible, taking advantage of shades and panels dependent on seasons and lighting conditions. One of my biggest surprises was a combination washer-dryer machine that accomplishes both tasks....apparently already in use in Europe. Saving space and energy. Challenging our very limited notion of a beautiful home. Less being truly very much more. One never knows how these experiences will show up in the visual arts, but tucking them into your brain is a wonderful thing and can only lead to more thinking outside the box.
BTW....The Brimfield Laudromat is no longer in business, and, yes, I have a drawing for just about everything.