Archive for the environment Category

DIY Deck Chairs from Pallet Wood

Posted in design, DIY, environment with tags , , on June 2, 2013 by killahfunkadelic

Reduce, Reuse – ReSpace: Habitat’s “LightWall Pavilion” To Be Sold at Auction

Posted in architecture, art, design, DIY, environment, North Carolina, raleigh with tags , , , , , , , on May 15, 2013 by killahfunkadelic


Online bids are now being accepted on the “LightWall Pavilion,” the Grand Prize winner of the inaugural ReSpace Design Competition made entirely of salvaged materials. The Competition was sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, the American Institute of Architects’ Triangle section, and Architecture For Humanity’s Raleigh chapter. All proceeds will benefit Habitat Wake.

On Saturday, June 1, from 9-11 a.m., AuctionFirst, the real estate bidding agency for the “LightWall,” will host a Preview Tour in the parking lot of Habitat Wake County’s ReStore’s parking lot at 2420 N. Raleigh Boulevard, Raleigh, NC 27604, where the pavilion is stored.

Scott Hefner and Abe Drechsler, two NCSU students studying Environmental Design in Architecture, designed the pavilion, which measures 18.5 feet long, 11.5 feet wide, and 11 feet tall, and is destined for a variety of uses – from a gazebo-like structure in the landscape, to an artist’s or writer’s studio, a playhouse, a meditation retreat, etc.

Materials, donated or salvaged from around Wake County, include:

  • Framing lumber salvaged by Habitat Wake’s DeConstruction program
  • Interior Maple gym flooring from Chapel Hill High School
  • Diagonal floor sheathing for exterior siding from the DeConstruction program, and manufactured siding donated to the Habitat ReStore in Raleigh
  • Weather barrier and roofing donated to the Raleigh ReStore
  • Old pallet racking from the Raleigh ReStore and reused glass bottles from various bars and restaurants in downtown Raleigh. The bottles create the “light wall” that filters sunlight and bathes the interior in colored light.


Joel Lubell, a builder and volunteer at Habitat, conceived of and organized the ReSpace Competition “to raise awareness of reuse materials while showcasing creative and successful small space designs inspired by their use,” according to his website Lubell and a small army of Habitat volunteers built the structure during a 48-hour construction blitz.

Matthew Szymanski, chairman of AIA Triangle’s Young Architects Forum committee, added his feelings about the competition: “We wanted to make ReSpace more than a contest. We wanted it to be an experience that would change people, and tying it to reuse has done that.”

Szymanski firmly believes that once designers and builders have worked with salvaged materials “they’ll be more likely to do it again and again and again.”

Joel Lubell noted another value: “The materials all have a story. They all come from somewhere. You get an idea that something came from your local area and it’s got history to it.”

The contest’s jury included North Carolina architect Ellen Weinstein, AIA, who admired the LightWall’s minimalism. “I just found it to be a simple and elegant structure in the landscape,” she said.

According to the young designers, “simple” was a necessity. Both students were extremely busy as the deadline for submissions neared, so they designed something quickly during a two-hour brainstorming session, using markers and trace paper.

“We reasoned that we didn’t have enough time before the deadline to add too many layers of complexity,” Hefner said. “Little did we know that the LightWall’s inherent simplicity would be one of its strongest traits.” The entire structure fits on a lowboy trailer for shipping anywhere in the country.

“This will be a fascinating auction,” said auctioneer Sarah Sonke. “The success will depend upon bidders’ imaginations – what wonderful purposes they see for the pavilion.”

Bidding will end at 8 p.m. on June 11. The website ( includes information on how to bid and videos of the competition and “construction blitz.”

For more information on this and future ReSpace Design Competitions, go to


Crabtree Creek Timelapse

Posted in environment, North Carolina, photography, raleigh with tags , , , , on April 4, 2011 by killahfunkadelic

I recently discovered this beautiful time lapse video compiled by Raleigh photographer Forrest MacCormack. An entire video compiled of stills shot at 1 second intervals– Forrest captures some gorgeous scenes that offer a fresh take around Raleigh’s Crabtree Creek, Lassiter Mills falls, and the Neuse River. Check it out.

UPDATE: Here are Forrest’s notes on shooting and editing the video— check out Forrest’s blog here.

DIY- Rain Barrel Stand and Installation

Posted in DIY, environment, raleigh with tags , , on April 30, 2009 by killahfunkadelic

01porch_beforeThe recent North Carolina drought and subsequent water shortage in the Raleigh area is still fresh on our minds as we head into a new summer season, already in a rain deficit. Last year we installed a TwoDrips 275-gallon rain tank on our front gutters and it’s worked great for washing cars and watering plants, but we also need something a little more convenient for watering our container garden on the back deck. Above is the deck corner that will work perfectly with a little downspout redirecting.02stand_unstainedHere is the rain barrel stand design I came up with to elevate the barrel as high as the space would allow, about 3 feet, built out of treated lumber. Keep in mind that the rain barrel, in our case a 60 gallon tank purchased from a local nursery, will be very heavy and will require an extremely stout base. 1 gallon of water weighs 8.33 lbs, so 60 gals would be about 500 lbs. Although putting this weight on a deck is not ideal, it is the only space that would work in our situation so the bracing below on the deck was reinforced to compensate for the additional weight. 03stand_cu3′ tall 4×4 posts form the main stand corner supports, 2×6’s form the top outer frame. 2×4 joists closely spaced form the bottom supports for the base of the barrel, and as you can see in the detail, they are recessed a few inches inside the top frame to allow the base of the barrel to fit snugly inside the frame without the chance of sliding off. The 4×4 inside corners were trimmed also to fit the barrel base.04drain_cutoutOne modification that I added to our rain barrel was the addition of a much larger overflow drain. The existing overflow was sized for a garden hose, way too small for the volume of water that comes off our roof, especially during a decent rainfall. 3″ black PVC pipe was chosen, and should handle a heavy rainfall (black was chosen over white PVC merely for the aesthetics).05drain_partsBlack 3″ PVC drain termination parts, and a square of vinyl screen to keep mosquitoes out.06drain_caulk08screen_cu2Be sure to add a silicone or similar caulk sealant where the drain terminates into the barrel. The screen can be held in place between the two coupling ends that are screwed together on either side of the barrel.09staining_standAfter staining the stand with a nice weather resistant rosewood stain, we are ready to hook up the downspout and drain assemblies.10drain_finishedThe overflow drain assembly shown completed, the remaining pieces sealed with PVC pipe cement. 11gutter_sealantThe downspout parts connecting to the overhead gutter are then assembled and sealed with a gutter sealant to prevent leaks. 12cable_strapTo secure the downspout in place to the top of the rain barrel I improvised a cable strap secured to eyelet screws and small cable clamps as seen in the above image.13rain_barrel_and_standThe completed rain barrel and stand should now give us enough height to allow easy watering. All I need to add now to complete the design is a hook to hang the hose from, and a little rain would be helpful to ween us off of Raleigh NC city water completely for the container garden!

Update 5/20: A few heavy rainfalls later and the intake and overflow screens are getting clogged with pollen and fine debris washing in from the gutters, so have had to clean them a few times. Solution: drilling a few extra (narrow) intake holes on the top of the barrel, and relocating the overflow screen from inside the barrel to the end of the overflow pipe on the outside to allow for more frequent cleaning. Also, am clamping a length of a panty hose leg over the end of the downspout to catch the fine particulate before it clogs the barrel screens. This is a system that has worked great on our 275 gallon tank: simply unclamp the hose periodically and empty in a trash can.

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It’s Lights Out for Global Earth Hour March 28th

Posted in culture, environment, raleigh with tags , , on March 26, 2009 by killahfunkadelic

Raleighites, when was the last time you flicked off all the lights and lit some candles instead? Last time we lost power you say?

This Saturday it’s your chance  to make a small gesture, and a big difference, on global warming. Right here in little ‘ol Raleigh North Carolina. And all it takes is one itty bitty hour with your power off. Earth Hour 2009 is a global initiative that takes a simple idea, but on a grand, global scale: what if everyone in the world shut off their lights for just one short hour? One household may not seem like much, but multiply that by tens of thousands, and that one simple act can have an enormous impact. And make a big difference. Just think if all the offices in Raleigh NC alone could turn off their lights for one hour. Last year over 36,000,000 participated worldwide.

So this Saturday night, from 8:30-9:30, consider powering down your lights and *gasp* your TVs and computers, and lighting a few candles instead. Make a date with Mother Earth (or that someone special) and get down.

UPDATE 3/30: The Boston Globe has done a great collection of before and after photos of major landmarks during Earth Hour from around the globe. Check it.