I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it doesn’t count if it doesn’t get built.
I am talking about architectural projects although I am sure this phrase applies to some other areas as well. One thing that I don’t spend a lot of time on is going back and revisiting projects that had some life to them at one point and for one reason or another got put in the drawer only to never see the light of day again.
I call these “dead projects.” Granted, it’s not a very clever title but it does have some style to it.
Maybe it’s a little dramatic but that’s just what they are … and it’s painful to go back and look at these projects and think of all the “what if’s?” and “maybe’s” … except that is exactly what I am doing here today.
All of the images on today’s post were generated by me back in 2009 for a repeat client of the firm. He is a modern style home builder who went to Rice University to get his degree in architecture (in case you haven’t heard, Rice has one of the best architecture programs in the country.) This was going to be his own house and if there ever was a client who heartily embraced the design process, this is the guy. Even though I have put up maybe a dozen images in today’s post, there might be 50 -75 electronic files on my computer. These just represent a few of the design ideas we went through. I also have a 95% complete set of construction drawing’s to go along with these images.
There were massing studies, window studies, material studies, square footage studies, etc. and on and on.
The downturn in the economy, followed by the collapse of the residential market, led to this project going in the drawer and becoming a dead project. That was a sad day, I thought this project had some real potential to it. One of the features that I was particularly drawn towards was the building massing for this project. Clear expression of forms, straight-forward geometry – things that I gravitate towards when given the chance.
One of the design features of this house was a lattice screen wall along the west elevation of the house. This particular lot was on the corner and faced a really nice park. It would stand to reason that you would want to open the walls up facing the view, introduce as much glass as you could … except it was facing West. So what to do?? Introduce a screen wall (at least that’s what I would do) that would allow you to capture the views while providing some level of protection against the sun.
*yes, in the image below, the lattice screen needs to turn the corner – thanks*
The massing is dictated by two overriding principles: 1) let the plan shape the massing, and 2) have the massing dictate the materials. Even though I don’t generally try to add materials to my SketchUp models, you can get an idea where the different materials would get placed. The reason I don’t like adding materials to my models is that these are study models and when the client sees them, I want them to remain focused on the point in hand – which at this stage is usually massing and concept … not the brick color or stone patterns.
Yes … I think this project would have turned out pretty nice.
This is the lower level floor plan -
This is another version of the lower level floor plan – (I have dozens on these.)
Upper level floor plan – this version explored the idea of having a semi-private patio as well as having a small office type space in the Master Bedroom.
This version removed the semi-private patio off the Master Bedroom and introduced it on the East elevation off the Master Bathroom – a room that would be greatly enhanced with nice early morning light.
While it pains me to go back through any of my “dead projects”, at least this one might have a happy ending. The client recently came back into the office and asked us to dig it out and revisit the project. In the few years since it was mothballed, the client has decided to get the square footage under 4,000 and remove some redundancy (like 2 sets of vertical circulation) that was adding cost and square footage to the project. While this project – as it exists today – is still dead, like the Phoenix, it has risen from the ashes to be born anew.
Wonder if I’ll still get to do the screen wall?