Point Clouds as Memories of the Site

Point Clouds as Memories of the Site

We are using a point cloud survey of the site for a new house design we are working on outside of Durango, Colorado. It has been an amazing way to bring the site back to the office so to speak. We still spend a lot of time walking, photographing, and taking notes on site at different times of day. Taking the time to let the character of the land, vegetation, and place soak in, understand the path of the sun, the views, etc. cannot be replaced. But once we bring all that back to the office, the point cloud model acts as a kind of trace of memories of our time on the site. Because of its detail and our ability to examine it from any angle in 3d, combining the point cloud with our photographs and notes jogs very specific associations that we can hold onto and consider as we design the house in relation to the land. Point cloud surveys have quickly become one of our favorite new tools in the architect's toolbox.

Seattle coffee shop concept

Seattle coffee shop concept

We are working on conceptual designs for a new coffee shop in Seattle, it will be a beautiful, warm space designed to showcase single origin direct trade coffees from around the world and pay homage to the interconnectedness of coffee farmers and coffee drinkers.

Interior airtightness Options

Interior airtightness Options

A lot of projects have a hard time justifying using a service cavity to separate wiring and other service runs from the main wall cavity, though it is still considered best practice. 

The Intello air/vapor barrier method is one way: https://foursevenfive.com/how-to-stay-airtight-without-a-service-cavity

Another is the airtight drywall approach, seen here: https://buildingscience.com/documents/information-sheets/air-barriers-airtight-drywall-approach

While airtight drywall is not as "smart" as the Intello option, it can work well if done right. When you are weighing your options for airtightness remember that you have to design an assembly that controls air and water vapor movement while allowing drying, and the details will be specific to your construction method and climate. If you accomplish all that, you can save up to 35% of your energy costs over standard construction - well worth the extra effort.

architecture with a mission

architecture with a mission

"And so really designing this Fire Rescue 2 started me thinking about, are there ways that design could help improve the relationship between community members and police if we looked at the architecture? Not that it can solve everything. But I think, you know, maybe it can be part of that dialogue in creating — relationships between police and community members which are not just the confrontational relationships."  
Jeanne Gang

 

The way we shape our environment shapes us.  No, architecture can't solve all of our problems but with most of most people's lives spent in and around buildings, it sure does have a profound effect. Jeanne Gang has spent a good bit of time thinking about this, check out this interview with the NY Times here. - http://nyti.ms/2aa9aq5

More Than a Wall

More Than a Wall

Our good friend and frequent collaborator Ben Berman of BermanBuilt had a design question for us: can we come up with a wall that can move out of the way when more open space is needed, go into a closed position when separation and privacy are needed, make some jogs around a couple 90 degree turns, and incorporates a bunch of douglas fir flooring that he has stockpiled?

Our solution: a wood tambour wall. Wood tambour is typically constructed as a series of wood strips (or flooring, in this case) that are joined in a way that allows it to articulate and curve (or in this case, jog around some turns in the room). Most of us are familiar with wood tambours on old, roll top desks. This is much like a horizontal version of that.

We'll be building the mock-up over the next two weeks, so stay tuned as we work out the kinks and get this custom piece figured out!

 

Rendering as Design Process

Rendering as Design Process

Usually in the architecture world we think of renderings as sales tools or representations of the final design.  Since we work in 3D from the beginning, we create as many views as we need to help understand the details and spaces. We then generate quick renders, not worrying too much about the image quality, and draw over them digitally with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. While we still always start a project with our sketch books and trace, as we get into the building model this all digital work flow speeds up the process, saves resources and generates lots of feedback from our clients. In the end, we are always searching for better ways to understand and communicate the design so that the whole team can put together a better project.

New Seattle Office!

New Seattle Office!

We're getting excited to start construction on our new home in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle! We've started to work out some final details that really help to define a space, including one wall in particular that needs to do a lot of different things: let light through, act as a visual accent to demarcate the entry to the offices, and define a path of circulation.  As the details shape up, we're finding great inspiration from artists like Gabriel Dawe and Lenore Tawney (works pictured here).

We'll be sure to post more as we start to build mock-ups!

Mancos, Colorado passive house, or passivhaus if you prefer

Mancos, Colorado passive house, or passivhaus if you prefer

The preliminary energy analysis on the Mancos Valley passive house is looking good, we are coming in under our targets on both annual total energy use and space conditioning demand. Now we are working on optimizing solar gain and shading, daylighting, and cost effective building assemblies. It's an incredible learning experience to put so much study, science, and simulation to the test. We're really looking forward to building a beautiful and extremely comfortable and efficient house with our clients here.

Flashing!

Flashing!

We're really into flashing. Architectural flashing, that is. It's central in good waterproofing practices, and proper flashing details are critical in rainy regions like the Pacific Northwest.

In these photos of a remodel we're doing in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, some excellent flashing installation work can be spotted behind the new rainscreen. We try to educate our clients about the importance of all these waterproofing measures, especially with remodels, wherein many seemingly great ideas combine to either add water intrusion points (which can occur with new window installations) or prevent your home from drying out the way it probably had for years (as happens in a previously drafty home that is now packed tight with insulation).

It all comes down to proper detailing of your building envelope. Not exactly sexy stuff for the homeowner thinking of a remodel. Racy stuff for your architect.

Studio 804

Studio 804

Our hats are off to University of Kansas's Studio 804, springing from the same tradition as Auburn's Rural Studio, and making architecture an overall more socially and environmentally conscious endeavor.

Check out their 2015 success story, now attaining net-zero certification after a year of testing, here.

      Why is your office too hot, your kitchen too cold? Meet Pointelist and find out.  Pointelist is a high density sensor network that measures temperature and relative humidity and makes the data available in the cloud.  They are looking for beta testers with compelling study questions that can be up and running in two weeks. So, we want to apply and we want you to help.   If you have an interesting, confusing, or challenging situation with your building that you think could apply to their beta testing program, we’re all ears. We’d love to help you figure it out, while at the same time increase our collective knowledge of building physics. Oh, and of course make our homes, schools, and offices more comfortable and energy efficient, which is the point after all!  Read more about it at  pointelist.com  and send us a message with your idea.   

Why is your office too hot, your kitchen too cold? Meet Pointelist and find out.

Pointelist is a high density sensor network that measures temperature and relative humidity and makes the data available in the cloud.

They are looking for beta testers with compelling study questions that can be up and running in two weeks. So, we want to apply and we want you to help. 

If you have an interesting, confusing, or challenging situation with your building that you think could apply to their beta testing program, we’re all ears. We’d love to help you figure it out, while at the same time increase our collective knowledge of building physics. Oh, and of course make our homes, schools, and offices more comfortable and energy efficient, which is the point after all!

Read more about it at pointelist.com and send us a message with your idea.

 

Happy Arbor Day

Happy Arbor Day

Good design often enlists the simplest solutions. Take this @billmcdonough quote, for example. Fitting for ‪#‎ArborDay‬

Design Kickoff

Design Kickoff

We just started designs for a new home on this fantastic spot along the Mancos River. Amazing site, amazing clients - really looking forward to making a beautiful and incredibly energy efficient house here!

A house for $20k

A house for $20k

Amazing to see the ongoing success of Rural Studio's $20k house program. It's based on a simple concept: house folks who need it.

Check out a recent article in the Houston Chronicle about the program's recent work.

http://bit.ly/1YhQ8hr

Sound designs

Sound designs

Even subtleties like sound can have a big impact on how we experience a space. Don't think so? Just try comparing the two different door sounds in this article.

https://t.co/LdYwmBi64z

Sustainable Big Box Stores?

Sustainable Big Box Stores?

Are the underpinnings of big box stores and sustainability antithetical? Whole Foods Market is at least attempting to combine them. They'll join a growing number of retail chains that utilize their often vast rooftop real estate for generating photovoltaic power.

http://nyti.ms/1LcpN2W

The City of Cortez, Colorado Land Use Code Update

The City of Cortez, Colorado Land Use Code Update

If you live in the Cortez, Colorado area, stay tuned for the next public meeting about the Land Use Code update process, likely in April. We are on the citizen's advisory committee and encourage all of you to bring any planning and zoning ideas or issues up at a public meeting. Hope to see you there.

http://www.cityofcortez.com/index.aspx?NID=478