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

Usonian by joelzook
September 3, 2008, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

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
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,


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.)

Multi-Generational Families by cyu14

In previous decades, an individualist mindset and affordable housing in the United States slowed the once traditional progression of parent-child to child-parent living arrangements. Second and third generation families were not returning to the family home.  A common outcome: elderly parents selling their home to live out their lives in planned communities for the aging or assisted living. The current economic slowdown, longer life spans and changing cultural values are now causing families to re-adjust their living situations. The frequency of multi-generational households is on the rise and Grandma and Grandpa are now competing with their teenage grandchildren for control of the remote.

Families are now looking for ways to either modify or build a home to satisfy the needs of young children along with those of aging parents, accessibility and privacy are resulting concerns. Developer Jim Greenup, of Spokane, Washington, comments on the resulting frustration of current housing types for multi-generational families. “Twenty to 25 percent of families in America are caring for an aging relative, and duplexes aren’t designed right for the concept of joined housing. There are problems, because the bathrooms don’t work right for aging in place, and the stairways and other circulators do not function well.”

Multi-Generational House, Kyoto, 3-- Lab

 In Kyoto, Japan an interesting multi-generational solution has been designed by Hiroe Yoshida and Tomoki Odani of 3 – – lab.  An office space for a young couple and a home for their aging parents is melded into a 259 square foot duplex.  View slideshow.

Moriyama House by cyu14
September 2, 2008, 9:27 am
Filed under: precedents, Social / Cultural Issue | Tags: , , ,

Located on a suburban lot in Tokyo, the Office of Ryue Nishizawa  (also partnered with Kazuyo Sejima to form SANNA) has a designed a community in the form of a house. Ten individual building units, built from pre-manufactured steel panels, are composed to create a flexible living space housing anywhere from one occupant to six additional renters.

Moriyama House - Tokyo, Japan

The premise of the compound explores the boundaries of public and private space. Although each individual unit is primarily private, the ample interstitial space lends itself to impromtu interaction, conversations and gatherings between tenants and the occasional passerby.

The floor plans, as well as 360 degree views, can be found at The Japan Architect.  Additional information can be found in the Dec/Jan 2007 issue of Dwell magazine.

Wheatsheaf Residence by joelzook
August 30, 2008, 7:14 pm
Filed under: precedents | Tags: , , ,

I like this house because it manages to be open and protective at the same time. One simple ribbon folds to enclose the living space and continues to the floor of the deck. In many ways it is a simplified version of some of Endo Shuhei has done with some of his buildings. The exterior of the curve is corrugated metal while plywood covers the inside. This is a compelling use of two relatively cheap materials. Structurally, six metal “bents” were prefabricated off site and shipped to minimize site disturbance. In addition, pier foundations were used to minimize excavation.

Whaetsheaf Residence by Jesse Judd Architects

located: Wheatsheaf, New South Wales, Australia