In the wake of the New York People’s Climate March and the United Nations Climate Summit this week, the ever-growing demand to curb mankind’s impact on the natural environment is at an all time high. The New York Times this week published an article outlining soon-to-be hard hit cities, and cited Alaska as the safest haven in the threat of climate change:
“Scientists trying to predict the consequences of climate change say that they see few havens from the storms, floods, and droughts that are sure to intensify over the coming decades. But some regions, they add, will fare much better than others. Forget most of California and the Southwest (drought, wildfires). Ditto for much of the East Coast and Southeast (heat waves, hurricanes, rising sea levels). Washington, D.C., for example, may well be a flood zone by 2100.”
“The best place really is Alaska. Alaska is going to be the next Florida by the end of the century.”
Alaska, the next Florida? Maybe even the next Brooklyn? (Our words, not theirs). If you have not yet had your climate change wake up call, this is surely it. With this in mind, it seems as though Anchorage-based Mayer Sattler-Smith is one step ahead, whether they know it or not, with a slew of innovative designs seamlessly integrated into the Alaskan landscape:
This project consists of a renovation and addition to a small 1950s suburban house in one of Anchorage‘s older neighborhoods. Exposed concrete block walls, wooded bedroom views, and a light-drenched sunroom, greenhouse, and deck maximize sunlight in an otherwise dark landscape.
This modern yet cabin-like south-facing house is situated for heightened solar exposure. The first floor elevation, generated by the shadow line at winter solstice of Mt. Gordon Lyon five miles to the south, ensures that the house receives light even on the shortest days of the year.
This project consists of six condominium units located in downtown Anchorage. Each unit is designed to take full advantage of views of the Chugach Mountains or city skyline, and, again, to maximize access to daylight. The massing of the project turns the focus of the community inside the development. Each unit has an open floor plan with private outdoor space on the upper levels. Amenities include radiant floor heat, a free-floating fireplace, skylights, and colored glass accents with individual colors for each unit.
This project prioritizes three distinctly different “activity zones.” The private zone groups activities such as sleeping, bathing, and studying. This area is distinctly separate from the rest of the house. The semi-private zone accommodates group activities such as dining, recreation, entertaining, and family socializing, in one, single large space. The utility zone is a multi-functional space which can contain the car, lawnmower, bicycles, etc. Its location in the plan allows it to function as an overflow activity space as well. As per usual, this building also maximizes sunlight with a prime southern exposure.
This dwelling, long and narrow stretched out from east to west, again maximizes the southern sun exposure. The main body of the house is oriented to the south and opens at the narrow end to overlook Cook Inlet and the Alaska Peninsula Mountain Range. The house offers several different outdoor experiences: A-grade level experience that extends from inside out; covered south and west deck at the upper level; and a deck at the north side, providing a wind-sheltered space with a fireplace and barbecue.
Perched atop a tree-lined hill, this home seamlessly combines materials like wood, exposed concrete, and glass to maximize the unobstructed view towards a nearby snowcapped mountain range.
There’s something for everyone in Alaska, even your beloved pooch. Flee the continental United States’ impending doom with Fido, and pamper him in climate change-safe haven.