I have resumed work on Providence house with an eye toward the stock plan market. Here is a video flyby of the sketchup model as it stands. There are a few adjustments I need to make to the windows and trim. It is a structural model as well with floor and roof framing so you can get inside and see how simple the framing is.
I have been a big fan of Steel for siding for a while now. It is often hard to convince clients to try it. Someday, I hope to use Core-ten Steel on my own house either in flat panel form or 7/8″ corrugated sheets. Here is a blog of interest: SIPs House It is a process blog about building a very cool small house in Portland, Oregon. The architects are SEED Architecture Studio. Of particular interest to me is the exterior siding. They Used Core-ten steel panels for part of the exterior. Core-ten is a steel that rusts to form a protective coating. It is very low maintenance and very beautiful. Pricing is unknown – they found a very cheap source. Locally, I have been unable to find it very cheap but I should pursue their link for a potential source. Look around and you may see examples of it in your area. There is a railroad bridge near the exit 3 rotary in Brattleboro made with Core-ten that is beautiful (other than the teenager spray paint thing) Here is a link to the SIPs house blog entry on siding. Also check out how they used old barn boards – beautiful!
Along the lines of; How I spend my time when surfing the net, I spend some time every week looking for what’s out there in the architectural world with focus on residential and small scale projects.
Here is a Firm whose website is great, the work they do is inspiring and they have a great blog that fosters thought and conversation. They are located in Seattle.
TED:Ideas Worth Spreading is a collection of talks and presentations that help me keep the world in perspective.
We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.
also GoLogic homes in Belfast Maine is worth checking out. They have some great prototype small passive house designs. When I look to the future of my own firm, This is a great model for one possibility. Although if I were to go this route I would worry that it closes me off from being the small town architect for lots of people and doing more non-residential projects.
Here is my new business card created by EM Letterpress in New Bedford, MA. The picture doesn’t do it justice I’m afraid. It is incredibly beautiful. I am not worthy. I went to school with Eli of EM Letterpress and he went on to not practice architecture. Check out their website and flickr photos.
check out lots more letterpress at ETSY.com
After about 8 years of post secondary education, a number of years working for other architects and a decade of running my own design firm with over 100 projects to my credit, I am starting to become a good designer. It is not that I am so un-talented that it took me so long and so much effort to reach this point. It is more a recognition of the standard I hold myself to. See my previous post “What Architects Don’t Know”. There is a certain amount of frustration when I see ads for local building firms offering design services or even architectural design (illegal) and realize that most people think of design as not much more than a floor plan or drafting. I’ve always been a good drafter but drafting is just a tool in my toolkit to get the job done, not an end in itself as some hand-drafting cermudgeons seem to view it. (more on that later) Floor plans whether for a new home or other project take more skill, talent and experience but are also a small part of the whole picture. I am often in a situation where I make a simple move on paper that will save the clients thousands of dollars and save the builder a headache during construction and no one but me will ever know it. Thus this blog. It allows me to pat myself on the back a little bit once in a while.
I am a fan of Marianne Cusato. She is the creator of the marvelous “Katrina Cottages” and has recently published a most helpful book “Get Your House Right” And she is a master at getting good press. I would love to work for her designing a series of small homes for a northern climate starting with my Providence House I recommend checking out her work at MarianneCusato.com
Architecture is one of those professions where the more you know the more you know you don’t know. Many architects don’t know this. There are some who “float” and others who are in a constant state of continuing education. I am reminded of this by the large number of architects who state on their websites “We have always been green” but then you look at their projects with a trained eye and see otherwise. Geothermal heating or solar Photovoltaics on a house with 2 x 6 walls, probably insulated with fiberglass batts is an infraction I commonly see. Those architects who read this and don’t see the hyppocracy in this example would be the example of “floaters”
This doesn’t happen to me often enough and, unfortunately, this is not my client. I have been following the process of a house being built in Northern VT on the blog Building Green in Vermont They had been working with a designer and had come up with a rather large and boring house (in my opinion) then this happened:
And the bids we received for materials like siding, roofing, windows, etc. were higher than we could really afford. It became clear that the best thing to do was reduce the size of the house.
The more we thought about the prospect, the more excited we got. We are all about going green and yet we missed the most obvious strategy of all…reduce the building’s footprint. In addition to cutting the materials needed for construction and thus saving resources, a smaller house means lower energy usage. It also means disrupting a smaller part of the site.
I think they went from 2160 square feet down to 1568, ended up with a much nicer house that any realtor worth his job would tell you they could sell quicker and for more if given the chance. I expect the owners would never give a realtor that chance. this is what they ended up with
My apologies for not posting much recently, overworked and sick kid are my two excuses. Here are some quick model views from a current project. I am developing two schemes for an addition/renovation to a small house, part of which used to be a “sugar shack” (In VT where you make maple syrup in February and March) Here also is a link to my picassa album with some project photos.
I Just put out an introductory mailer. Click on the image to see. There is a very pretty flash slideshow of images that I produced in Photoshop.
This is rather cool and local. Unfortunately when high end modern happens around here (rarely) it tends to have a big city architect behind it. I hope to change that. Although to be fair it was for the architect’s own family.
I just added a link to Gouin (Go-In) Green a process blog where some folks are building a SIP modular house. The house is rather vanilla but the blog is full of excellent information and $ #’s which I always appreciate. It looks like they actually used Alpen Windows which are super good and they talk about how they justified the extra cost. There is also a long discussion of radiant heat in a super-insulated house in the Features section
I really like metal siding, very sleek, low maintence, and good shadow lines. It can almost look like tight crisp clapboards. There is some question as to who installs; the roofer or the carpenters? The wood above got stained dark brown and the wood around the door was stained red!
My daughter got these nifty building toys for Christmas and immediately set about seeing how tall she could build. Broke one piece when it finally came crashing down. I had to bring the stool over so she could reach higher. Dig the “no place like home” shoes.
This is what the web is all about. Guy Marsden has a sprawling website (over 200 pages) that I highly recommend only if you can relax for a while. Guy is everything from an artist – he worked on “Star Wars” – to an inventor/engineer. Much of the site is related to trying to be realistically self sufficient. I found lots of low-budget-do-it-yourself information as well as things for the more engineery types among us (of which I am not one of) (yet) such as his conversion of his gas lawn mower to solar charged DC batteries. ( my solution is simply to not mow the lawn) I found lots of good materials and product resources as well. This is something I’m always looking for as much of my work is very budget oriented and I am faced with questions such as ” should I spend twice as much on triple glazed windows or is there a shade or window quilt or storm window or panel that could do the job for 1/4 the cost?”