30 May 2010
So I had to prepare some construction drawings to pass along to the contractor who will be building this playhouse. His name is Barry Buford and he has his own construction company – Buford Builders, Inc., and he and I have collaborated on projects before. Barry has successfully bid and built some of our best projects and he built one of the playhouses I designed for CASA last year (surprise – it was the ORIX USA Japanese theme playhouse). Since I put together the AIA/ CASA playhouse competition event, I wasn’t going to design a playhouse this year; but ORIX USA asked for us specifically I couldn’t say no – it’s a good cause.
Since I basically used my sketchbook to work out the concept and beginning geometry, I did most of the fine tuning in a modeling program called sketchup which I use all the time and have been for the last 10 years. I could have exported the sketchup model straight out to AutoCAD but I am fairly particular about the pen weights in my drawings so I like drafting out my own details. It is important to me that on these intrinsic playhouses that all the fine details be worked out and that everything is resolved. This is important in all my projects but particularly so on a project of such small scale.
When these playhouses get built, it’s easy to think of them as things instead of a collection of parts. From the earliest stages of design, I think about what materials I want to use while keeping a budget in mind. The materials I select and the design I try and put together is intended to reflect all the actual joints and patterns that the materials will make when they are used in the construction of this particular playhouse. I think about things like:
- If I move this pattern to this spacing, I can get all the pieces I need from a single 4×8 sheet of material, or
- I can layer this assembly and use fewer 2×4′s for structure support and create the imagery needed with lighter members (which will cost less), or
- If I put a batten pattern on running horizontally, I can protect the playhouse from people entering it while it’s on display (CASA playhouse requirement), which will be more cost efficient than installing plexiglass around the bottom.
So here are the construction drawings I prepared for Buford Builders. I realized that because of the time left to get this built, and the fact that I am leaving for Paris in a few days, I needed to get these drawn and over to Barry pronto. I spent about 4 hours drawing these – I don’t know if that seems like a long time or not. I like to think I draft really fast but these were a little fussy. I will go over them with Barry to discuss options and some of the finer details we need to get right but I’m lucky that I have Barry building this for me (and so is CASA and the eventual owner of this little beauty). Barry is one of the very best contractors I have ever had the pleasure to work with – maybe the best. If I won the lottery and was able designed my own house from scratch, there is no doubt that I would get Barrry to build it for me. I have seen him go out of his way – to his own financial detriment – to make sure a client is happy. I have never met a more honest, direct, and genuinely considerate person in my life. If everybody’s experience with a builder was like working with Buford Builders, contractors would would have a fantastic reputation.
I will come back through later and post some progress photos and certainly some final construction photos. I am really happy with how this playhouse is shaping up. I hope everyone else is as pleased as I am.