Building good: Bryan Cranston unveils passive house project in Ventura

Jun 25, 2012 by

Matt Hickman
Mon, Jun 25 2012 at 2:30 PM EST

Bryan Cranston, the actor behind television’s favorite chemistry teacher-turned-meth manufacturer, appears at Dwell on Design to discuss his LEED Platinum-targeting passive house project in Ventura, Calif.

Although I wasn’t able to be there in person this year, the Sustainability Stage at this year’s Dwell on Design appears to have boasted quite the impressive line-up: LivingHomes founder Steve Glenn, architect Chad Oppenheim, Architecture For Humanity co-founder Cameron Sinclair, and the omnipresent Ed Begley, Jr., just to name a few.
And then there was a somewhat intriguing featured speaker at the West Coast’s big modern design event which concluded yesterday in Los Angeles: Emmy Award-winning actor and director Bryan Cranston. Best known for his roles as Jerry’s Seinfeld’s insane dentist, the patriarch of a dysfunctional middle-class clan on “Malcolm in the Middle” and, of course, as cancer-stricken, meth-cooking former high school chemistry teacher Walter White on AMC’s wildly acclaimed, relentless intense drama “Breaking Bad,” Cranston is also behind an ambitious, zero-energy residential building project north of L.A. that’s sure to garner him so accolades from the green building community.

Dubbed 3Palms, Cranston’s under-construction family beach house in Ventura (it’s right on the Pacific) is targeting both LEED Platinum certification and recognition from the Passive House Alliance U.S., making it the first home in Ventura County to do so. And this is refreshing: unlike many other “green” celebrity-owned abodes, 3Palms will be relatively modest in size at 2,450-square-feet (the net-zero energy home is being constructed on the footprint of a leaky, 1940s-era beachfront bungalow that was carefully deconstructed). Although I doubt the project will transform Cranston, 56, into an unlikely figurehead for the stateside passive house movement, his appearance at Dwell on Design — and not to mention the featuring of the project in a syndicated TV series called “Real Green” — will more or less help elevate the actor from a TV methamphetamine manufacturer to a highly visible (and highly likable) green home owner and proponent of energy-smart living.

Says Cranston, a self-confessed green building novice who has also appeared on “Matlock,” “Murder She Wrote,” and “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” on the 3Palms website:

My wife, Robin and I want to combine both form and function, and show the world that sustainable living doesn’t mean that there’s no indoor plumbing or that it will impinge on a modern lifestyle. We have qualified for the highest level of “green” building in the country, and will strive to achieve the highest level of style and comfort too. We know we will have succeeded if our guests ask incredulously, ‘This is a green home’?

In addition to Cranston, the 3Palms team consists of architectural designer John Turturro, builder Bryan Hansen of Santa Barbara-based Allen Associates, and architect of record Larry Graves of Alliance Design Group. (Both Turturro and Hansen joined Cranston on stage at Dwell on Design to chat about 3Palms with Dwell EIC Amanda Dameron). KNB Associates veered Cranston in the direction of the numerous sustainable products and materials, being used in the project. And on that note, over 20 partners including Resource Furniture, Kohler, Poggenpohl, Lutron, and American Clay are involved in the creation of the home.



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