Ideas and Insights

Mount Vernon Carriage House progress

After an extensive structural repair to the northwest corner of this former warehouse and office space, the building is finally getting a facade worthy of its historic Mount Vernon location. We incorporated windows we salvaged from the existing structure, wooden doors from Housewerks architectural salvage, and new millwork to create a balanced composition. When complete, it will be a home and art gallery. Previously it had been a dilapidated commercial address with imposing recessed steel doors, rusted steel window grates, and a cracked and sinking northwest corner.

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How to Cool Off Your Roof

(Image courtesy of EnergyReady, a program of Baltimore’s Civic Works) Imagine lying on your roof, in a black outfit, on a sunny afternoon, in the middle of July.  OK, you can go back inside now where your air conditioner is working WAY harder than it has to.  That hot roof, however, means more than just higher energy bills.  It also means your roof is going to degrade faster from baking in the sun. And it can contribute heat to the whole neighborhood. How Hot Is Your Roof Right Now? Some roofs are much hotter than others.  Factors that can affect how much heat it absorbs are: Pitch....

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The 10 Easiest Ways to Make Your Home Greener

To make your home greener, you don't have to put sod on your roof, collect rain water in a cistern, and use a composting toilet. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things. But there are a few, far simpler ways to start making your home green. When I was studying for my LEED exam, I was surprised by some of the simple changes you can make that can have a big impact. Making your home greener is not just about being environmentally responsible, but will also pay off by improving the health and quality of your life. Here are 10 things you can do today: Change your furnace filters. When’s...

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Bill Bradley’s American Voices

Martin Marren was interviewed for former Senator Bill Bradley's Sirius XM radio show about Adventure Philanthropy, and told the story of his playground building effort in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam:

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Our Roadmonkey Expedition on CNN International

CNN's Natalie Allen covers our playground building effort for CNN International's Freedom Project:  

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Why we love Travertine

One of our favorite materials for floors and walls is natural Travertine. We used it here for the floor, base, and chair rail of this powder room. (The wainscot below the chair rail is a grasscloth wallcovering): So what is Travertine and what are the pros and cons of using it? Travertine is a natural limestone that is formed by the deposit of carbonate materials by mineral hot springs. Most Travertine comes from Italy, but it is now also quarried in Turkey, Iran, Mexico and Peru. Most famously, it was used to build the Colosseum in Rome. Like all natural stone, correctly installed,...

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Behind the scenes of our expedition

CNN's Backstory Go behind the scenes of our expedition to Vietnam to build the playground we designed on CNN Backstory:

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Our Roadmonkey playground featured in the Sketchup Showcase

Marren Architects design for the Catalyst School playground was selected for the Google (now Trimble) Sketchup Showcase! Check it out: See the Sketchup Showcase here!

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Sagaponac House

Hariri and Hariri's Sagaponac House is a crisply detailed minimalist and modern dwelling arranged in an 'L' shape around a swimming pool. According to the sisters themselves, they were raised in Iran "subject to distinct, severe, and clearly reinforced boundaries between men and women, public and private..." However, they seem to have come a long way. According to the women, the main public space in the house is "to be seen by neighbors and from the street, becoming a stage for action and display." The pool area is "a platform for parading bodies to engage in spectatorship and where...

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Roadmonkey CEO Paul von Zielbauer

I once compared Paul von Zielbauer to Sebastian Junger. Like Junger, he’s a world-class journalist who has taken risks to travel to and report on the Iraq war and the U. S. Military. However, In 2008 Paul took a risk of another kind when he left a comfortable job at the pinnacle of any reporter’s career, the New York Times, and founded Roadmonkey Adventure Philanthropy. I met Paul in New York in early 2010. A friend and former colleague suggested that I meet with Paul because he was looking for an architect for a pro-bono project. Paul was in the planning stage of an adventure-philanthropy...

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