The new American Dream: 100K(+ 20) | Starter Home

Usonian by joelzook
September 3, 2008, 4:27 pm
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Several books in the library examine Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian Houses. Wright’s ambition was too make quality designed housing affordable to the middle class. By creating a set of rules used in his designs, he was able to make houses more affordable for his clients. This rule set change and evolved over time as labor became more expensive and materials cheaper. He later made houses later in the Usonian style for wealthy clients. The basis of design remained similar but the size and materials generally made the houses much more expensive. Regardless of Wright’s style, his motives at the beginning of this phase were good. The country was going through a recession and Wright lost several commissions for large projects. He then turned to houses for work and made them affordable. Since this studio has been given a strict budget it is important that we look at wrights example not to the letter but in spirit.

Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons by cyu14
September 3, 2008, 2:58 pm
Filed under: precedents, Technology | Tags: , , ,

The Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons, located on the Loyola University Chicago campus, was completed in December of 2007.  Solomon Cordwell Buenz designed the building to optimize energy efficiency while keeping the majority of the building transparent on the east and west facing sides. A key feature of the building is its concrete ceiling panels. These panels provide a three-in-one solution that is both sustainable and energy efficient. The panels are pre-fabricated to allow for ease of construction and reduced waste. The vaulted shape of each panel provides a greater surface area for the radiant heating and cooling tubing installed within. Additionally, each vault when used with upward lighting increases the distribution of light, reducing the overall strength (and therefore energy) needed to illuminate the building.

Dominus Estate Winery by cyu14
September 3, 2008, 4:26 am
Filed under: Material/Building Systems, precedents | Tags: , ,

 Dominus Estate Winery, located in Napa Valley, was the first U.S. project built by the Swiss duo Herzog and de Meuron.  Completed in 2001, the winery is difficult to access -no visitors are allowed. The exclusivity of the winery adds to the mystery of the building itself. Composed of gabions of three different stone sizes, the winery blends easily into the surrounding landscape and sprawling vineyards. In additon to the ready availablity of stone from the nearby American Canyon, the use of gabions was derived from practical criteria -moderating the temperature changes within the valley.

Quai Branly Museum by cyu14
September 2, 2008, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Material/Building Systems, precedents, Technology | Tags: , ,

The Quai Branly Museum, designed by 2008 Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel, is located near the Eifel Tower in Paris, France. One of the key features of the art museum is a 200m x 12m living wall. The expansive green wall utilizes the Vertical Garden system designed by Patrick Blanc. The wall is composed of a 1cm thick PVC sheet riveted to a metal frame, a polyamide felt layer is stapled onto the PVC as the wall’s sole growing surface. The system does not require the use of soil, but relies on an automated system installed to regulate irrigation of the wall. The wall can support the average plant density of 30 plants/square meter.

Porosity by joelzook
September 2, 2008, 10:46 pm
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Rather than the simple duality of open and solid, many projects take a less explicit approach. I think the idea of a porous building is compelling for it gives the user of the building a greater variety of experiences depending on position of the user and the time of day, season, etc. For example, Le Corbusier’s Chapel at Ronchamp has walls that are unarguably solid, they are load-bearing masonry walls. Yet they let light through in a quietly beautiful way that one begins to forget about the wall itself and focuses on the light it emits.

Le Corbusier, Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp



Earth Centre Conference Building by cyu14
September 2, 2008, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Material/Building Systems, precedents | Tags: , ,

Bill Dunster and his firm ZedFactory, were chosen to design the Earth Centre Conference Building in Yorkshire, England, after winning a competition in 1999. The site, formerly used for mining operations, allowed for the building to be inserted into a hillside using the earth as a protective housing. Gabions filled with reused concrete waste are used throughout the building both as primary structure and as interior/exterior cladding.


The Sprouting Building by cyu14
September 2, 2008, 4:21 pm
Filed under: Material/Building Systems, precedents, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

The use of gabions as a cladding system can be found in Edouard Francois‘ L’Immeuble qui Pousse, or The Sprouting Building, an apartment complex located in Montpellier, France. The use of gabions as a primary cladding stems from Francois’ intention to explore an economical use of materials and nature, while juxtaposing the typical assumptions on where life will thrive. The large sheer, imposing rock face has been seeded and in time the entire wall will sprout, transforming the exterior of the building into a budding garden wall.


An excerpt from Architectural Review explains the gabion construction process: “Panels were assembled in several stages. The steel cages were set within steel formwork and studded with a double layer of frost-resistant pebbles. A layer of sand followed, then seeds of rock plants contained in grow bags. The ends of the cages are set within a layer of concrete that forms the inner face of the panel. On removing the formwork, the sand was gently shaken out, leaving the soil and seeds. Cast-in lifting hooks enable the panels to be easily lifted into position and fixed onto the structural frame. A watering system between the joints of the panels will nurture the emerging plants. The stone cages have a curiously sensual, primeval quality, like the ancient dry stonewalls in fields. It will be fascinating to witness their slow metamorphosis into a modern hanging garden.” (The Architectural Review, May, 2000. Rock Garden – apartment complex in Montpellier, France.)