Michelle Krochmal, AIA, LEED AP ID+C

Michelle Krochmal, AIA, LEED AP ID+C

Brooklyn, NY, US


AIA Architect Barbie Dream House Design Competition

Below is a description of a dream house designed for Architect Barbie.  This entry was a finalist in the design competition open to AIA members that concluded August 1, 2011.

Architect Barbie, AIA, LEED ID + C, is one smart, green gal.  She designed and built a beautiful and energy efficient home/ office.  To avoid the LA traffic, she shortened her commute a quick hop across the hall.  Barbie’s house is intended not only to be where she lives, creates and plays but also an educational facility to demonstrate how we can all live greener.


Barbie is constantly tinkering with her home.  She is always looking for new ways to cut down on her utility bills, grow healthier food and take advantage of sustainable technology. 

Some of the green highlights of her home are:

• Rainfall cisterns to irrigate her plants and for her pets
• Low-flow toilets and faucets to further reduce water usage
• Solar panels on the roof
• Composting bins to reduce waste and fertilize her garden
• Energy Star appliances and windows
• Renewable bamboo floors
• Spray foam insulation
• Natural lighting and ventilation
• Low-e glass windows
• Recycled content and salvaged finishes

The house has an elliptical cross-section, made possible by its concrete construction, a rare material in California because of earthquakes.  However Barbie wanted to explore technological advances in concrete design and worked with a structure engineer to ensure the safety of her uniquely shaped house.


Barbie has a vegetable garden and several fruit trees. She also has plenty of bicycle parking so her friends can visit and her home is next to a bike path that goes all the way to the beach!

Barbie’s favorite thing about her home is her canyon view and the abundant natural light.  There is plenty of cross ventilation and lots of shaded windows, in addition to a covered porch.  Fortunately it doesn’t have to be screened because there are very few mosquitoes in California.  


Despite her environmentally friendly ways, Barbie’s one vice is her love of automobiles, and she has a three-car garage to house them.  Thankfully, there is an electric charging station for her plug-in hybrid.

Barbie hopes that her house will be an inspiration to her neighbors and potential clients who value design and sustainability.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Malibu, CA, US