If you are interested to learn more, check out these resources: Little Retreats by Jane Tidbury; Tiny Houses by Lester Walker; Compact Houses: Architecture for the Environment by Christian Del Valle; and Little House on a Small Planet by Shay Solomon.
The conference was all about sharing visions, creative ideas, opportunities and challenges on land development for Western NC. Seminars included topics such as sustainable green communities, market changes and niches, and why the Southern Appalachian region is one of the hottest destinations for retirees. A discussion on consumer preferences in resort communities covered expectations, changing amenities, and trends towards smaller homes. Asheville mayor Terry Bellamy kicked off the conference with a welcome to Asheville, and NC Congressman Heath Schuler was the keynote speaker during lunch talking about the future economics of the Southern Highlands. I especially liked the seminars on Private Mountain Communities by Harry Redfearn, WNC Real Estate Update by Neal Hanks of Bevelry Hanks & Associates, and also enjoyed the presentation by Allen Holcomb of Moss Creek. I am looking forward to attending this conference again next year, because as ALDC’s slogan suggests. “knowledge matters”.
Focus: Art, Community, Architecture
I found the presentation on the history of the Village of Best, presently known as Biltmore Village very interesting. The village was designed by Richard Morris Hunt and Frederick Law Olmsted, the architect and landscape architect for the Biltmore Estate.
Enjoyed a presentation by architect Matt Frederick, author of 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School. Interesting discussion on Radical Urbanism with regards to human-scaled neighborhoods inter-woven into the social fabric, and incremental growth allowing “organic development”.
Other seminars of interest included: Integrated Project Delivery that used virtual design with (BIM) Building Information Modeling with Rivet, and also 4D simulation. Another valuable session presented Graphic Recoding with topics in innovation, creative thinking, systems thinking and mind mapping complex ideas.
One of the highlights of the conference was the keynote presentation by William Cecil and Jack Cecil, the great-grandsons of George W. Vanderbilt and present owners of The Biltmore Company and Biltmore Farms. They took us through an historic journey of the Biltmore Estate’s past as well as sharing their philosophies and vision for the future for both these unique companies that are so important to Asheville and WNC.
This was the first live virtual online conference I have ever attended. It was divided into four venues which you could navigate through. The first venue was the Main Hall. Here is where you viewed personal profiles of attendees and obtained announcements; accessed your personal briefcase where you could store white papers, case studies, and personal files.
The second venue was the Exhibition Hall where you could explore exhibitor booths and gather information about the company, it’s products and view presentations. As you entered the booth an audio/video greeted you, and you could also speak live via chat or email with a booth representative, and even chat with other attendees visiting the same booth. There was an information kiosk where you could sign up for newsletters, view demo videos, gather contact information, obtain website links and even sign up for prize giveaways like i-pods.
The third venue, and most interesting to me was the Conference Hall. This provided both live and on demand webcast seminars. You could also download podcasts for later listening. The presentations were audio video webcasts synchronized with Power Point slides. These were also interactive presentations where you could submit questions to the presenters and received responses.
The last area was The Resource Center which has a press room, announcement board, the agenda to view, and even had a networking lounge where you could communicate online with other attendees. Overall I thought this approach to attending conferences was fantastic. It saved time and money traveling, allowing me the convenience of attending from my home with no environmental impact. I especially enjoyed the keynote “Achieving Success in Green Building” presented by motivational speaker and author Jack Canfield. Another seminar of interest was “A New Technology for Building Green Affordably” presented by Global Building Systems Inc. Can’t wait to attend the next virtual conference event.
Charlotte, NC Feb 2010 ~ S.E. Wood Solution Fair
The Wood Solutions Fair in Charlotte, NC featured ground breaking wood projects from around the globe including the world’s tallest wooden building in England. If you are an architect, an engineer or a builder, this was a great event. It offered seminars related to design with wood ranging from inspirational architecture to innovative use of wood, and from sustainable forestry to Green sustainable design.
I really enjoyed the seminar on inspirational architecture by Alison Brooks of Alison Brooks Architects Ltd. (UK) which discussed her projects that exploit the potential of wood. She showed some very interesting mixed use residential projects incorporating urban agriculture, sky gardens and roof terraces. And oyster fisherman cottages utilizing unique organic folded geometry.
Another seminar which was thoroughly entertaining by another UK architect was given by Andrew Waugh of Waugh, Thistleton Architects who designed the worlds tallest modern mixed use wood building. The entire structure was built using KLM (cross-laminated timber panels) where the walls are essentially acting as beams which offers entirely new possibilities with regards to load transfer. The project was constructed by framers from Austria. http://www.klh.at
Southeast Wood Design awards were also presented exemplifying outstanding use of wood. I thought the Jury’s Choice Award for the Camp Twin Lakes Treehouse in Georgia by Lord, Aeck & Sargent, Inc. Architects, a treehouse that connects campers with nature, was of particular interest.
Asheville, NC Feb 17, 2009