Origins of the Original Green Idea


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dirt road through tropical jungle

  Many people now agree that achieving sustainability is a bigger challenge than just buying more efficient devices. Steve Mouzon coined the phrase “Original Green” several years ago to describe the sustainability that existed before the Thermostat Age. The Original Green is the most important initiative being pushed forward by Steve Mouzon and Wanda Mouzon.
   Steve is the founder of the New Urban Guild in Miami. The New Urban Guild is a group of architects, designers, and other New Urbanists dedicated to the study and the design of true traditional buildings and places native to and inspired by the regions in which they are built. Involving a number of designers brings authenticity to a place that simply cannot be achieved when all buildings are designed by a single hand, no matter how talented that hand may be. The Guild was instrumental in the creation of the Katrina Cottages concept, and continues to foster the movement, including sponsoring the Katrina Cottages website. Steve’s Katrina Cottage VIII, which is first design of the next generation of Katrina Cottages, was awarded a 2007 Charter Award by the Congress for the New Urbanism. The Guild Foundation is the non-profit educational arm of the Guild; it sponsors a number of workshops, tours, and seminars that fill several of the gaps that previously existed between theory and practice. It also sponsors the Guild Tool Foundry, which is a growing collection of place-making tools that can be downloaded free of charge. The New Urban Guild website explains all of this. A new Guild Foundation website is now being built.

   Steve and Wanda are principals of Mouzon Design, which produces a number of town-building tools and services. Their house plans have been featured repeatedly as Home of the Month in Southern Living, Coastal Living, and Cottage Living. Steve is Town Architect at several new hamlets, villages and neighborhoods around the country, using a unique method that communicates principles, not just particulars. Mouzon Design’s Premium Tools Collection is a subscription service to robust new place-making tools that heretofore were unaffordable when commissioned by a single development. A Living Tradition is a framework for a new type of pattern book that is principle-based instead of taste-based, and therefore contributes to the creation of new living traditions. Its most recent edition, A Living Tradition [Architecture of the Bahamas] won a 2008 Charter Award from the Congress of the New Urbanism.
   Steve has authored or contributed to a number of publications in recent years, including Biltmore Estate Homes (Southern Living), Architectural Elements: Traditional Construction Details (McGraw-Hill), 1001 Traditional Construction Details (McGraw-Hill), Traditional Construction Patterns (McGraw-Hill), Gulf Coast Emergency House Plans, A Living Tradition [Architecture of the Central Gulf Coast], and the award-winning A Living Tradition [Architecture of the Bahamas]. Steve is also continuing to shoot new editions of his Catalog of the Most-Loved Places. The Catalog typically includes every structure built before about 1925 in various historic towns or districts. There are currently dozens of volumes in the Catalog with several more soon to be released. The Catalog began in the American South, but has expanded in scope to include Bath, England, Pienza, Italy, Antigua Guatemala and St. George’s Bermuda. He lectures frequently across the country and abroad.

   All Steve Mouzon titles in print can be found on Amazon’s Mouzon Design Storefront.

© The Guild Foundation 2013