The Wall Street Journal picks up on a new, female-oriented spin on the "man cave:" backyard greenhouses where the plants themselves are often an afterthought. Explains the WSJ: "By day, they are sunny, private, plant-filled sanctuaries filled with the sound of classical music or NPR. By night, they are sparkling spaces for cocktails amid exotic foliage. Either way, they are worlds away from the rinky-dink eyesores that backyard greenhouses used to be, all flimsy plastic and wobbly poles."


Core77 marvels at the winners and finalists of eVolo's 2012 Skyscraper Design Competition. The winning entry? Zhi Zheng, Hongchuan Zhao, and Dongbai Song's "Himalaya Water Tower" concept that envisions a "skyscraper located high in the Himalayan mountain range that stores water and helps regulate its dispersal to the land below as the mountains’ natural supplies dry up. The skyscraper, which can be replicated en masse, will collect water in the rainy season, purify it, freeze it into ice and store it for future use." Wild stuff ... that's it pictured up top.


TreeHugger imagines the possibilities with KuL Designs' self-watering modular wall planters made from recycled HDPE plastic. Love.


Curbed Atlanta notes a hot piece of real estate that's now on the market: The Eden House, a LEED Gold 3-bedroom abode in the Ormewood Park neighborhood on Atlanta's east side. The David Buter-designed home, which is also Earthcraft certified, sports a green roof, a rainwater harvesting system, solar water heating, high levels of insulation, recycled building materials, and superior air purification systems. And there's the kitchen which Curbed notes as being rather unfortunate. 


Jetson Green picks the brain of Sam Hagerman, president of the Passive House Alliance US and co-founder of Portland-based green remodeling/contracting firm Hammer & Hand


Dwell launches a LEGO model home building (mid-century modern, natch) competition. Designs can be submitted up until March 29; the creations of the five finalists will be displayed at this summer's Dwell on Design conference where the grand prize winner will be announced and awarded with $250, a poster of Ice Cube posing with an Eames House Bird, and an arsenal of LEGO architectural sets.  


Apartment Therapy shares 10 patio or balcony gardening ideas ideal for greenthumbs without actual gardens (i.e. renters). 


The San Francisco Chronicle tours a stately but code-breaking 1904 Victorian that's been treated to a sleek and sustainable 21st century renovation (the original facade was kept intact, mercifully). New additions include solar panels, radiant heating, LED lighting, rainwater harvesting, etc. Very Danny Tanner meets Ed Begley Jr. (the home's actual owner is an alternative energy industry exec)


Architectural Record sits down for a quick chat with Kate Stohr, the founder, along with Cameron Sinclair, of Architecture for Humanity. What's on Stohr's mind at the moment? "We are concerned about the growing number of abandoned, decommissioned military sites around the world. There are thousands across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. More than 200 bases were downsized or closed in the United States alone last year as part of the Base Realignment and Closure ruling. We all need to start thinking about innovative and sustainable redevelopment of these sites, which are often an economic and environmental drain on the communities that host them."


And then there's this totally non-green home related video, presented without comment (I couldn't resist ... it's the most adorable thing I've seen in ages):





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

Playing catch up: Intermission of adorable
This week: Water-dispersing skyscrapers, energy-smart Victorians and the backyard greenhouse as 'lady cave.' And for something completely different, an orphaned