Eco-friendly homes

Photo by Taalman Architects

IT House—the creation of architect Linda Taalman AR’97—combines two powerful and important concepts: sustainable living, and prefabricated housing. In the past 15 years, IT House has built over 20 sustainable homes throughout the US. The first IT house (which you can now rent via AirBnb) was built in the aptly-named Pioneertown in southern California, just north of Joshua Tree National Park.  

IT Houses are built of high-performance parts fabricated off-site and assembled on-site to create an efficient aluminum and glass structure. Taalman’s firm seeks to create spaces that enable the dweller to be directly tuned to their environment without the large carbon footprint of traditional building methods. The firm also specializes in energy system design, and the first IT house and many of its descendants are solar-powered. 

Other iterations of the IT House are designed with the demands of particular landscapes and clients in mind. There are versions with two stories, and others can be added to existing structures; for example, to convert a garage into a small residence. Visually, the IT Houses sit lightly on the landscape, never overpowering their setting. The same can be said of their environmental impact due to the highly thoughtful design that shows Taalman reaching for a kind of Hippocratic modernism—one that does no harm.   


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  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.