Here are a few pictures of some projects that we recently finished or are about to finish. Dan Hoffman Photography is presently preparing photos for some of these projects.
We will be prefabricating the prototype of the OPENhouse at our shop and shipping it to our Client's wooded site in Northern Wisconsin. We look forward to developing more variations of this concept!
Concept: The Open House was develped as a study in building and living simply by emphasizing
construction logic, energy efficiency, flexibility, and outdoor engagement in its design.
Flexibility: The Open House is adaptable. The external structure serves as
an outdoor room and front porch, as well as a framework for future infill. As occupants move in they will
have the opportunity to modify their home to fit their needs. On the interior, storage units are created
to maximize the use of space and residents are able to organize multi-use furniture and work spaces as
they see fit.
Sustainability: The Open House connects residents to nature. The design includes an outdoor room to
increase living space. A south facing polycarbonate wall is shaded by horizontal fins that act as a
scaffold for plant growth. Rainwater can be collected from the gutter on the sloped roof and used as
needed. Openings in the shelter provide pathways for passive and active ventilation.
Construction: The exterior structure and the infilled shelter are both constructed using basic building
techniques that make use of readily available materials. Materials can easily be swapped out depending
on what is accessible/affordable in a particular region.
We just returned from the Wisconsin Convention of the American Institute of Architects. It was a great convention filled with stimulating speakers, conversing with old friends and meeting new ones. Some of the distinguished speakers included Matthew Hufft, Gordon Gill and Steven Chung (host of the PBS show "Cool Spaces").
We were honored to recieve a Merit Award for the Nest. The Awards Ceremony included a Pecha Kucha presentation by each of the design teams. It was great to hear everyone present their outstanding work!
It has been 5 years since we completed the first E.D.G.E. and we are continuing to hone and adapt the ideas that we explored on this project. The E.D.G.E. led to the Essential House, which led to the Nest, which is presently developing into the Sensible House (coming soon). The ideas studied in these prototype projects inform all of our work. Over the last 5 years we have explored kits, prefabricated modules, and site built versions of the E.D.G.E. However, difficulties with shipping costs, zoning and variations in building codes have led to current delivery method for the E.D.G.E. Providing a service to assist clients in creating their unique E.D.G.E., designed and adapted specifically for their site. We have done this from Texas to Maine, optimizing the design to meet the owner's needs, site and budget.
Often times a potential client's first question is about price. Due to all of the variables of locations, local codes, local construction practices, soil conditions and site requirements it is difficult to have a quick answer to the question without further study and client interaction. We find that without involving the client and evaluating the site, you can't build the optimum solution, in most cases. We never intended that the E.D.G.E. would be a singular solution that would adapt to all locales and climates, without adaptation. The original design was developed in the context of northern Wisconsin, but the core ideas are relevant anywhere. We have developed many variations on the core themes of the E.D.G.E. and continue to develop more solutions.
We know that for many people, reaching out to an architect is a big, scary step. If you have a real project, contemplating purchasing a site, or have a site, we would be glad to talk to you via the telephone (715-341-5588) to discuss how our services can enhance your project.
If your needs mesh with our principles, we will work with you to develop a design process and a rate of compensation to work on the project. We can do as much or as little as you want. From helping you envision the overall concept to developing a specific detail. If you find that we need more interaction, we can develop a plan for continuing and completing your project.
We recently completed an experimental project called the Nest, a small shelter that is off the grid.
Sited on a hillside, overlooking Lake Superior, the Nest is an experiment in contemporary elemental shelter. It’s geometric forms are in dialogue with the surrounding natural setting. Constructed of modest, utilitarian and economical materials; it is an armature for experiencing nature, that simultaneously acts as a counterpoint to technological complexity.
The ensemble is composed of three primary elements: a box, a screen and a wooden boardwalk. The box, envisioned as a sheltered container for living, is a wood-framed construction, clad in black metal that floats above the landscape on 8 piers. The south-facing facade is animated by two 12 foot high wooden doors that close off the building when not in use. When opened, they form a protected porch; revealing a wall of operable glazing. The box is flanked by a filigree shower screen, which supports a sand filtered water cistern for the outdoor shower. These elements are woven together with the landscape by a meandering angular wooden boardwalk that morphs from path to bench.
The container-like structure is organized into three vertical zones. The lower level is a multi-functional space that can be reconfigured for different uses by the occupant. The structural framing is exposed on the interior and a series of built-in furniture elements are inserted. Folding wooden chairs are stored on wall hooks. A toilet, wash basin, table and bed fold out from the walls to accommodate the rituals of daily life, and are stowed away when not in use. A ladder along the wall leads up to a landing and sleeping loft with generous glazing to the north and south. A second ladder allows access from the loft to a rooftop observation Nest, which provides a commanding view of the surrounding trees, sky and Lake Superior in the distance.
Utilitarian and simple strategies keep the building "off the grid". Lighting is provided by solar lanterns that are charged outside during the day, and are brought inside to light the interior when night falls. A dry-flush toilet and water jug eliminate the need for plumbing.
In a hectic world, there is a pleasure that may be found in slowing down and simplifying. As a contemporary reinterpretation of the archetypal “little cabin in the woods”, the Nest facilitates a primitive lifestyle, in which nature can be experienced. By going "off the grid", the Nest provides retreat from fast-paced urban living and allows occupants the opportunity to connect with their roots.
We just got back from the 2014 AIA National Convention. The days were filled with interesting and inspirational speakers from around the world, discussing the future of architecture.