Friday, August 31, 2012

Modern Architecture

We are seeing a lot of modern architecture built lately.  It will be interesting to see how it stands the test of time.  With Modern Architecture, the detailing is restrained and usually visually clean.  For this reason, the detailing becomes really critical to the overall look of the home.  We are  beginning to notice homes that are experiencing water intrusion issues as new techniques and finishes are being tried.  In the Northwest, with such a lot of rain and wet weather, it is important to still really think through any building penetrations. 
Ice and water shield has been installed behind the finish panels to provide a waterproof sytetm.
This is not to say that fresh and clean looks are not possible, just that like anything new, there are always going to be a few architects that ignore the laws of nature and have issues with water.  This seems to be a lesson that we have to learn and relearn over the years. 
I personally love the change of pace that modern architecture provides.  This is one of  the things that make the business of architecture so fun as styles and tastes continue to evolve and change. 
This trellis does not actually penetrate the building wall so we do not allow water to enter the wall cavity.
Even with a more restrained modern aesthetic, there is still lots of room for those special places to take time our of your day and enjoy the beauty of the pacific northwest.

Friday, August 24, 2012

How we communicate architectural concepts to our clients

Today, architects have a variety of tools to communicate their design ideas to clients.  Many architects have left the color sketches and renderings and gone the route of computer generated 3D models.  These models are not really Three Dimensional as they are presented on a 2D computer screen.  For many of our clients this is a difficult way to visualize the final product.  More often than not, this is not an effective way for us to communicate our ideas to the client. 

For this reason, our office often produces quick "study models" these are cardboard models built to scale to show our design ideas to our clients. 

Models can be simple or complex just like our projects.  The beauty of this technique is the client instantly can grasp the design concepts.  It is rewarding to see our clients faces light up when they see their model for the first time and watch their smile broaden as they begin to understand what the finished product will look like. 

This technique is especially effective for remodel projects as it is difficult to "erase" the vision of what the existing home looks like. I am convinced that this presentation technique works so well because the model is not complete in every detail, many of the colors and textures have to be imagined as the client needs to "fill in the blanks" with the model. 


This is an important part of the process as we often still need input from the client to fine tune the concept to really tailor the design to suit the tastes of the owners. 

We like to think of the design process like a good book.  We write the first few chapters to introduce the characters, set the story direction but leave room to add the special things that personalize a home for each of our clients.

Many of our clients take their model around to show to their friends. We have even heard of the models traveling to thanksgiving or Christmas dinner so everyone in the family can see the new project as it is built. 
It is pretty fun to watch our client try to explain how a bit of turkey gravy ended up on their  model.  We don't mind as this model is a great way that we engage our clients in their new project. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Finished photos from the spiral stairway project

Any of you who are following our blog have seen the wonderful spiral stairway under construction in our Juneau Alaska project.  We as a final treat, check out the photos of the finished product!  The stairway was built on site around a huge spruce log that was harvested on the building site to make room for the new home.  Timber frame inside and out was provided by New Energy Works.  They fabricated the frame in McMinnville Oregon and packed everything into a container and shipped it up to Juneau.  The timber framers even provided a crew to erect the frame on site.  Everything had to fit just right and the owners could not be more pleased with the result.