Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sustainable Living: Area 241

When I first read about Mike Basich's house in Transworld Snowboarding's article Open Spaces (December, 2011), I was blown away by the sheer beauty of the back country and the design of this amazing house. Most prosnowboarders are lucky if they get to stay in one place longer than a week, but Mike decided to build his dream home- a rustic, homemade cabin that is truly sustainable. 

Located outside of the Lake Tahoe area at 7,100 ft in elevation, the house was built out of granite rocks taken from the building site. The design of the cabin itself is pretty unique, a pentagram layout based on the measurements a person standing with their arms out reaching towards the sky (think da Vinci's Vitruvian Man). The materials, stone and unfinished wood, were assembled by Mike with the help of family and friends. The cabin is powered by two solar panels (12-volt microgrid), enough for charging cell phones, a TV, and computer; while the water tank is located below the floor of the cabin and links year-round to a creek1. LED bulbs light the cabin and two antique stoves are used for heating (non-electric heat circulating Ecofans) and cooking (an outdoor freezer takes advantage of cool temperatures). Fixtures of the house, including the sinks and toilet were fabricated from repurposed and recycled material. 

Photo: Area 241

One of my favorite aspects of this house are the gigantic glass windows that open outwards allowing fresh air and a gateway to the beautiful mountain view. The size of the windows allows heat from the sun to warm the house. 

Can you imagine sitting in this hot tub (bottom right)? I totally want an invite!

The house is low impact from an environmental standpoint because it is made of stones found onsite (reducing energy to transport materials) and incorporates repurposed and recycled materials. It is self-sustaining by taking advantage of renewable sources of energy and onsite water source. To me, however, it is the intricate design (such as the stained-glass windows and iron star-shaped door handles) and sources of inspiration that make this place a work of art. 

Mike has described the area (known as Area 241) as a creative playground for his company, 241. It has its own rope tow (see how it's built on Off the Grid Part 1) to take riders to the top of hill and a biodiesel- powered Snowcat used to make jumps and sculpt homemade terrain features. 

Photo: Cliff Bar Blog

If you ever wondered how snowboarding, art, and protecting the environment all fit together, I encourage you to watch Open Space, Mike's story. It is very inspiring!

Expression-Design-Art-Environment-Where is it I feel alive the most?

Open Space – A Film: The Untold Stories of Mike Basich | TransWorld Snowboarding

1 Transworld Snowboarding December, 2011