Monday, December 24, 2007

Read: Family Design - Flip Artists

I ran across this article at via Design Sponge and knew it should be shared.

These parents have a beautiful home with excellent furnishings and 6 kids. They've done a great job understanding their needs and aspirations and working towards them. It also looks like they had an ample budget to get there, which helps. What aspirations can you incorporate into your home?

"Flip Artists - A Manhattan couple with six kids under 9 discover that they have a sixth sense when it comes to real estate." Remember to click on the House Rules slide show to see the rest of the house.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Research 02: Make Something

Along the way lets put our creative juices to work. This activity comes from a classmate at Tulane and is similar to how I keep in touch with design trends, learn about new designers, and store up design ideas for later use.

  • Pick up a design magazine at the bookstore or newsstand. If you are feeling adventurous pick out one that you've never read before. I like Metropolis and Dwell, but look for something that will let you discover something new.
  • Comb through the pages and tear out any image that looks interesting to you. Create a pile of seed images to draw upon.
  • Now collage these images together to create a room. It could be any room, even one that doesn't make too much sense.

For those of you who have never done anything like this... a collage can be as simple as you want it to be. Just tape or glue the images adjacent to each other in order to create a composition the can communicate a message.

Let the message develop itself. Don't take it too seriously.

After you develop the collage give yourself a quick review. What do your selected images say about what you might want in your home? When you examine why you placed one image adjacent to another, what does this tell you about where these kinds of adjacencies can occur in your home.

Save the collage in your Design Stockpile.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Jargon: Punch List

Punch List and Punch List (at Wikipedia)
In construction the punch list comes before the owner accepts the building. The building is ready for the owner to occupy but may have some details that need to be corrected, repaired, or replaced. The Punch List lists these items for the contractor to correct. Generally the item does not meet the quality standard of the inspectors which can be the architect, the owners, or both.
Sometimes the item may not constructed according to the design but the owner can live with it. In this case it is appropriate for the contractor to offer a fair credit for the work installed incorrectly as a condition of acceptance by the owner.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Research 01: Find architects you like

"Find architects you like" is a quest. In order to develop a collection of inspiring images we will have to find architects you like. Once you find photos of work that you like there's a good chance that you'll like other work by that architect.

This is where we will begin to fill up your design stockpile (sketchbooks, manila folders, or whatever) with photos of spaces you love. Try at least two of the following suggestions:

Once you find a website start poking around in the projects area to find image of things you like. Print them out or copy them to your hard drive. You may have just found your architect.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Research Activity Explainer

I'm playing with how to engage you readers. I will try different things until I feel I am having an impact. So I've come up with a Research activity. Maybe its a poor word choice. Please don't be intimidated.

When working on an Exercise activity you should always have whatever you need to complete them. Its just you and the Exercise. To complete the Research activity you will need to draw on resources outside of yourself. Most of the time the internet will provide these resources, but I may ask you to use some other resource in particular.

Like other activities the results of the Reseach activity should be saved your personal design stockpile.

If you've got a better name for this activity let me know. Here are some synonyms for Research.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Jargon: Scope of Work

Scope of Work
The Scope of Work is the part of the contract that explains what work is to be completed in agreements with architects, designers, contractors, and subcontractors.
You should understand what it says. It is what you are agreeing to pay for (and nothing else).

These descriptions might be an exhibit or ammendment to a contract or in the body of the contract. They can be very detailed or general in their language. It might be called Scope of Work or Work Scope but it can be called anything or nothing. This description is the first place you will go to when you disagree about what is included in the price you've agree to pay.

Developing the General Scope of Work on the AIA Kansas Website

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Excercise 03: Content, What's in your house?

There's a good chance that whatever your dream home might be, the place you live now meets most of your basic needs. To get from home to dream home we must first understand these needs, so let's learn from your current home.

Take a tour of your home as though you were a buyer. Look for the qualities you like or don't like in a home. If it helps give someone the tour. It may help to visit model homes or houses for sale to recharge your inner house shopper.

Now take these few steps to outline your current living conditions:

  • write down names of all the different rooms in your house (ie. kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living...) in a list on the left hand side of a piece of paper. Leave a few lines between rooms
  • then list all the activities that go on in each room on the right hand side
  • now for each room (on the left) circle the most frequent activity listed on the right

This is what you do with your home. Think about which needs of yours you home doesn't meet very well. Getting more of these needs included into fewer rooms creates a dream home.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Read: Mixing the Sacred and the Profane

Mixing the Sacred and the Profane: Metropolis Magazine
Renzo Piano talks about how the city informs his decision making in design.
Visit his firm's website to see some excellent work.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Jargon: Programming

Architectural Programming
Architectural Programming is an essential step in the design process. It includes developing an understanding of what uses a building will encompass and how they are related and it results in an objective outline that describes the scope of the design project. During the programming phase of building design you define the problem which the design is meant to solve.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Excercise 02: Scale, The very big

This week think about how your home fits in to the big scheme of things.

As you go about your day take note of the way you interact with the city as a result of your home's place in it.

Think about transportation, health and emergency services, groceries, entertainment, everything...
  • At the end of the day on Wednesday make an "everything you did list" of a typical day. Use one or two word present tense verbs to describe the things you did. For example: driving, shopping, etc. Make the list as long as possible, stretch your mental muscles.
  • At the end of the day on Thursday make a list of all the things you really enjoy doing. Use one or two word present tense verbs as above. Limit the list to the top 12 things you enjoy the most.
  • Over the weekend compare the lists. Write down what it would take to move something from your things you really enjoy doing list to your typical day list. Re-imagine your relationship with your city if it helps. Describe how your home, its location, and lifestyle effects your two lists.

Let me know how it goes. Check the comments and I'll post my results.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Read: Passive Survivability

Here's an idea that has been given prominence after the major infrastructure failures of Katrina.

Design homes to provide minimum functionality when the infrastructure around them fails. - EBN 15:5 - Passive Survivability: A New Design Criterion for Buildings

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Exercise Activity Explainer

Remember that this blog is a work in progress. So I will be coming up with ideas to try out on the reader to see if they are helpful. I'll be asking you to do things that bring you into the design mindset. We'll start with Exercises.

An Exercise is an activity any reader can complete with a little time, self-reflection, and pen and paper. I will be asking you to concentrate on some part of your life-style in order to reveal and document your aspirations for living.

Keep whatever documents you develop from the activities in your Design Stockpile. We may come back to some in the future.

If you've got a better name for this activity let me know.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Excercise 01: Change Your View, Drive to Work

At the begining of this process I would like you to break away from the everyday. By snapping out of your typical day you will be better able to take in the design ideas to follow.

For the rest of the week take a different route to work.

It may take you longer, but it will be worth it.

Look around. Notice billboards, schools, neighborhoods, and roads. Imagine how the people who live around there are the same or different than you. Imagine their home life.

  • Compare the different routes in your mind. How are different parts of the city arranged? Find something you really like and identify the thing you most dislike.
  • Begin to undersatnd why you take your particular route. Think radically. How could other routes become more appealing?
  • Notice people. What are they doing? What are the wearing? Where are they going? Who are those people?
(I came across this idea while listening to Killer Innovations, a Podcast by Phil McKinney.)

Welcome to The Year Before My Architect...

I want to welcome all of you to my experiment: The Year Before My Architect.

My goal is to introduce each of you to my perspective on the world of design and architecture, give you skills that will help you attain a home that is truly yours, and produce a physical collection of ideas and images that describe the home of your dreams.

I've had a little trouble getting this off the ground. I keep wanting it to be perfect before I move forward. I've let that become a crutch. So instead of attempting to birth a perfect idea into the world, I'll begin by stumbling.

So far I am thinking I will come up with a couple activities per week to get you thinking about architecture and how you want your house to be designed.

Some will be about collecting images from the web or from magazines, some will be questions that will help you discover more about what you want, and still others will look at how we organize our lives. I haven't worked all these out yet but the idea is to provoke you to think about what you want from your home. I will try to post these activities regularly, and to adapt and grow and change to meet your needs. Let me know how I'm doing.

As we go along you can incorporate assignments into a Design Stockpile. (It will be like a sketchbook of design ideas.) After some time working with and documenting life-style ideas you should have a great resource to bring to a designer, builder or Realtor. Better than that, you should have a better understanding of what will be best for you and your family.

Thank you for taking your valuable time to read my blog and work through some of the activities. If you do find the information here helpful or interesting please tell someone about it.

Take care and good luck,

Paul Cline