Aug 17, 2011 | Post by: admin No Comments

Architect Barbie chooses Bamboo

Barbie’s Dream House has bamboo flooring. Does yours?
Aug 11, 2011 3:00 PM

If you don’t have a three-year-old at home, you probably missed the addition this month of Architect Barbie to Mattel’s 50-year-old line of fashion dolls. The goal of the launch, according to the El Segundo, California-based company, is to get girls interested in the male-dominated field of architecture—just 17 percent of the members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) were women as of November 2010. To help the cause, AIA orchestrated an Architect Barbie Dream House Design Competition. The winning concept, announced last week, has plenty of grown-up appeal, plus many features recommended by Consumer Reports.
Designed by architects Ting Li and Maja Paklar, the 4,881-square-foot abode overlooking the Pacific Ocean is hardly doll-size. But it makes up for its excessive volume with the use of several sustainable products and building practices (see the diagram). For example, there’s Zero-VOC paint throughout the house, some formulas of which fare well in Consumer Reports’ paint Ratings.
The house is also fitted with bamboo flooring, a fast-growing grass that can be harvested in as little as four years compared with decades for oak and other trees. Several bamboo products top our flooring Ratings. In terms of water conservation, Barbie’s dream house features low-flow toilets, which make the recommended list in our toilet Ratings.
The house occupies a minimum footprint by cantilevering over a bluff, which also generates cool breezes. Operable shading devices limit solar heat gain, decreasing the need for air conditioning. To further reduce CO2 emissions, Barbie rides a pink Vespa, which Consumer Reports has called a fun and fuel-efficient way to get around town when weather permits. Given Barbie’s sunny Malibu zip code, that should be most days.

—Daniel DiClerico

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