The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is on hand for the grand Earth Day opening of the Bullitt Center, a 52,000-square-foot commercial building on the fringes of city's Capitol Hill district that's being heralded as the greenest office building. Ever. In the world. Built to ulta-stringent Living Building Challenge standards, the Miller Hull Partnership-designed structure was deemed by Gov. Jay Inslee during its dedication as "the beginning of the end of small minded cynicism that says we can't beat global warming." That would be it in all of its self-sustaining glory pictured up top and featured in the video embedded below.

Co.Design takes a gander at the BIG & small house, a lovely Los Angeles abode that makes the best out of its somewhat petite (by L.A. standards, anyway) footprint and a minimal budget. Noting that "the shift to smaller spaces seems to be permanent," project architect Simon Storey of Anonymous Architects goes on to explain that "I love to use the analogy of the kind of cars. Originally manufacturers didn’t care about smaller cars. But now you can get really astonishing quality in small packages.”

Jezebel notes the sagging usage of the term "master bedroom" amongst home builders in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Apparently, an increasing number of builders are opting for decidedly more politically correct terminology such as "owner's suite" when describing the "big" bedroom in floor plans — a phrase that doesn't carry with it unsavory connotations of the sexist and racist variety. I guess "oversized sleeping quarters for he grown-ups with the Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. 

Architizer wrangles up eight green walled-buildings for Earth Day. 

AOL Real Estate tracks the big growth of tiny home communities. Remarks Lee Pera, a founder of Boneyard Studios, a mobile micro-home enclave located in Washington, D.C.'s Stronghold neighborhood: "It's all about economic freedom and flexibility, and deciding what's essential and important in your life. It's about moving more of your life to the community and the outdoors rather than designing your home to meet every need you have." Pera adds: "With the economic downturn that has forced many to lose their houses, the high cost of real estate, the mobility of young professionals, and many people wanting their parents or children to live nearby or with them but not in the same house, we think small structures like tiny houses and accessory dwelling units are a viable option for a certain segment of the population."

EarthTechling marvels at a recently completed rooftop solar array atop an IKEA distribution center in Perryville, Md. At 768,972-square-feet and 18,576 PV panels-strong, the installation is the largest yet for the North American arm of the solar-happy Swedish purveyor of meatballs and MDF side tables. With a generating capacity of more than 2.6 megawatts, it's actually one of the largest rooftop arrays in the entire country and certainly the largest in Maryland. And given that the average home solar system is a mere 5kW this basically means that the array atop the Perryville distribution center is equivalent of 535 home solar systems. Not too shabby, IKEA, not too shabby at all.

EcoBuildingPulse profiles the Modern Cottage, an impressively insulated prototype home from developers Scot Cohen and Brenden Maloof that combines the efficiency and speed of prefab building with the myriad perks that come along with stick-built construction. Says Cohen of the hybrid approach taken with the upstate New York vacation rental/showhome (it's also for sale for $879,000): "People love big walls of glass, and 10- or even 15-foot-tall ceilings. You can’t do that with modular alone." 

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

This year's Earth Day leftovers [Friday link clump]
Stories that you may have missed: IKEA flexes its PV muscle, builders bid adieu to the master bedroom and the greenest office building in all the land opens.