Architizer helps itself to the Baileys and decides to "put a shamrock on it" with a look at 10 works of contemporary Irish architecture. That's Níall McLaughlin Architects' House at Goleen in County Cork pictured up top. 

Gawker reacts (in a similar fashion that I did) to a recent New York Times op-ed piece penned by celebrated minimalist living proselytizer, Graham Hill. Writes Hamilton Nolan: "The problem here is not the message. The problem is the messenger. More specifically, it is the messenger using his own life as supporting evidence for the message. Were Graham Hill to simply write a fact-based essay arguing that Americans should cut down on material possessions in order to save the environment and gain peace of mind, he would doubtless hear a chorus of support. But for Graham Hill, a young millionaire who was fortunate enough to sell his 'pre-Netscape browser' at the high point of the internet bubble, to say to the average American, 'My journey through the perils of great wealth has bestowed me with wisdom that is directly applicable to you' is simply false." Amen?

Slate says enough with the architectural renderings of tree-clad skyscrapers. Likening the conceptual tree-festooned tower craze to "putting a bird on it" trend, Tim de Chant of Per Square Mile explains why "putting a tree on it" just won't pan out in practice: "There are plenty of scientific reasons why skyscrapers don’t — and probably won’t — have trees, at least not to the heights which many architects propose. Life sucks up there. For you, for me, for trees, and just about everything else except peregrine falcons. It’s hot, cold, windy, the rain lashes at you, and the snow and sleet pelt you at high velocity. Life for city trees is hard enough on the ground. I can’t imagine what it’s like at 500 feet, where nearly every climate variable is more extreme than at street level.

On that note, Gizmag temporarily suspends its disbelief for a look at the "madcap" winners of eVolo Magazine's 2013 Skyscraper Competition. Grand prize goes to Derek Perozzi's Polar Umbrella, a design that's described as a "a floating mushroom-shaped skyscraper, the cap of which provides shade, the intention being to regrow polar icecaps."

Dwell offers up a guide to "7 (Not So Tiny) Small House resources." Am I the only one out there suffering from an acute case of (Huffington Post-induced?) tiny house fatigue? 

Curbed traces the evolution of the "not-so-humble garage."

Pacific Standard regurgitates a study published by two UCLA economists that compares the household energy usage of registered Republicans and registered Democrats: "It’s easy to preach about the importance of energy conservation. But are people in the left really willing to sacrifice personal comfort in the name of environmental protection?" According to the findings, the short answer is yes. 

The Architect's Newspaper notes a close call on the flood-prone grounds of Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House outside of Chicago. A little over four years ago, Mother Nature wasn't too kind on the iconic, glass-heavy home (which sits on stilts by the way) when floodwaters from the Fox River engulfed the home and caused severe damage. And that certainly wasn't the first time. The National Trust for Historic Preservation explains the current situation: ”The house is fully surrounded by river water, but neither the lower deck nor the upper deck has yet to be breached."

Co.Exist praises the good work of actor Gary Sinise's Building For America's Bravest program which constructs smart homes — high-tech customized abodes that are deceptively ordinary looking — for wounded American veterans. Says Sinise: "They’ve given pieces of themselves, and they are going to be remembering for the rest of their life what they were like before this injury and before their service. When they get into these houses, we want to give them independence, which will give them a shot, a chance. Having your own home is where everything begins."

The Wall Street Journal eyes a hot property in Pasadena, Calif.,  that's currently on the market for nearly $4.5 million: The Millard House, a Frank Lloyd Wright design from 1923. Said Wright himself of the iconic four-bedroom abode which was first (of many) modular concrete homes: "I would rather have built this little house than St. Peter's in Rome."

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Corned beef, cabbage and an ample side of links [Friday news clump]
This St. Patrick's Day weekend: Mother Nature strikes again at the Farnsworth House and contemporary homes in the Emerald Isle.