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60 bag moss architect biodegradable packaging

“Packaging” is a sort of ho-hum word to describe the shell for treasured goods being shipped across the country, or halfway around the world. It’s also a poor descriptor for the seductive sheath that researchers pour gallons of time into and designers stay up nights agonizing over. We’ve definitely made consumer choices based on packaging alone, simply because said item looks better on our dresser.

But nearly always, the shelf life of the packaging is a lot shorter than the time it took to dream up. That’s a lot of Styrofoam/plastic/etc. in a lot of garbage cans.

This week’s edition is about genius alternatives to vessels that far outlast their cargo.

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The web may not be climate change-combat’s poster child, but it may be its knight in shining armor. On the one hand we know that outlet usage has increased a lot since the internet and its buddies (smartphones, bluetooth keyboards, ipods) burst onto the scene; on the other, it has saved trees, and more to the point, whipped global communication into a frenzy the likes of which the pre-internet world never dreamed of. Even more to the point, sourcing and spreading data has become a whole lot easier. But the connotations of data, once a word reserved for Dexter’s Laboratory, have changed, too. The Internet has infused it with a new sense of community, accessibility, and at the very least, made it prettier. The idea that the web community and data interact with each other as that data is being accrued is revolutionary for anyone wishing to tread lighter on our planet.

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The enlightened man’s entertainment center can hold your treasured classics and cherished vintages. Designed by moss and fabricated by Demeter Millwork, our new wine and book storage shelf is constructed of materials sourced from within 100 miles of Chicago. The wood is reclaimed Walnut (framing members and siding) from a demolished barn in Northern Indiana.  The mortise and tenon holes, nail marks, and other graces of time are visible on the piece.  The base is a 4-door cabinet (designed to store 5 carboys and 1 5-gallon stock pot) with adjustable shelf and the upper storage is half book shelf and half wine storage, capable of holding about 6-8 cases.  As installed at moss HQ the wine shelf portion acts as a guardrail for the adjacent stair mid-landing, so you don’t fall off after enjoying too much of the wine.  Similar to our other wood furniture, no fish were harmed in the making of this piece. Photos inside. Read the rest of this entry »


Water Hazard is an ongoing architectural research project by moss.  We are studying water related issues to become better stewards of this most precious resource.  Below is the latest dispatch.

If you have been airborne over our country’s midsection, or just looked at a Google aerial you probably noticed the green circles that dot the otherwise brown scrub.  What are those?  Some kind of large scale version of Connect4?  An extreme close up of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte? Nascent efforts of an uncreative UFO crop circle team? Only when you’re at ground level do you find the culprit for those irrigated green discs.  The story of the green circles and the remediation efforts inside. Read the rest of this entry »

Our third annual PARK(ing) Day installation at Southport and Addison is on Friday, September 16, 2011, 9a-5p (video above is a mashup from our 2009 park-ification).  This is totally going to be the best year yet!  On site bicycle repair, in-park dining tables, live music, and food.  Be sure to be there to help us re-imagine public space.  Missed our coverage last year?  Check this out.  Or our treatise on urban parking?  More to come.

With all the pressing problem our country faces, House Republicans have decided that energy efficiency just doesn’t make American sense.  Introduced by U.S. Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas) who is, frighteningly, the the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Michael Burgess, (R-Texas), the BULB (Better Use of Light Bulbs) Act seeks to repeal the Bush-era Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.  The 2007 act, contrary to the Texas dynamic duo’s belief as a “de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb that has its origins in Thomas Alva Edison’s laboratory”, merely requires new bulbs to use 25 to 30 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs starting in 2012, and 65 percent less energy by 2020.  There is no language in the original 2007 act that bans incandescent bulbs, even if it should have.  Read the rest of this entry »

Moss reveals the Lakeview Area Master Plan to the Lakeview community and Chicago.  The master plan, in its entirety, is available here.

NewSchool of Architecture reporter writes a favorable profile of one their grads.  Yours truly.

 

 

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We have been selected by the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce to prepare a master plan for the Lakeview commercial areas!!  Along with our consultant partners, PLACE, we will lead the sustainability and environmental review portion of the planning process.  We are using this year’s PARK(ing) Day to kick off our efforts.  So if you are a Lakeview-ian and have some thoughts about your ‘hood, come talk to us.  Stay tuned, we’ll have updates-o-plenty.

Parking. Its a sore subject here in Chicago.  In 2008 the City decided to privatize it’s 36,000 parking meters – in reality leasing an 8′ wide section of asphalt from the curb to the sometimes-present-bike lane – to a group made up of Morgan Stanley, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Allianz Capital Partners for a $1.16B. Since then, everyone in the City, nay, the world, seems to have developed a disdain to the selling off of public assets.  And rightly so.  Bloomberg News discovered just last month that we Chicagoans got royally hosed on the deal.  It turns out the private group will net $9.58B over the course of the 75-year term.  Oops.  This is more than twice what Alderman Scott Waguespack estimated the City would loose in profits when he denounced the deal and subsequently voted against it in the City Council.

This doesn’t stop the City from praising itself for the move, as Chicago’s CFO, Gene Saffold, touted, “The concession agreement was absolutely the best deal for Chicagoans”.  Going on to wax delusional, “The net present value of $11.6 billion in revenue over the life of the 75-year agreement is consistent with $1.15 billion the city received.”  Um, yeah.  You say this guy does the City’s accounting, eh.  Meanwhile, the Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General called the deal “dubious” since Saffold, “failed to calculate how much the system would be worth over 75 years.  The present value of the contract was $2.13 billion, more than the $1.15 billion the city received”, according to Bloomberg. Read the rest of this entry »

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