If your new here at Life of an Architect, say hello to the KHouse Modern project. This is the project that I will be featuring as we go through the design, construction document, and construction process. It’s been just over a month since my last update and quite a lot has happened.
If you want to play catch up, you can read all the previous KHouse Modern articles.
(note – you can click on any of these images and a new window will open with the images 2x larger)
This is a look down the driveway – it’s really the service corridor to the house. This house actually has two detached garages; one off the main street which is the main garage and the owners daily point of entry, and the other off the alleyway at the rear of the lot where the owner can store a secondary vehicle and maintain a working shop area. The cantilevered concrete wall at the end of the driveway is a screening device so that the owner doesn’t have to look at trash cans, air-conditioning equipment, electrical meters boxes, etc. as he comes and goes from the house.
This is a look towards the front elevation of the house. There are 3 main materials on this house; the darker colored material on the left is the garage and is metal siding, the lighter buff colored material is a 4″ x 24″ masonry stretcher (think of it as a really long brick), and the light gray color is cast in place concrete. The drawings are currently out for final pricing so it’s possible that the materials may change but at this moment in time, these are what we have detailed into the project.
On the right hand side of the image above is the master bedroom wing and deck.
For the view able, we are standing in the side yard looking at the master bedroom wing directly in front. The cast in place concrete wall on the right is an outdoor seating area at the end of the deck – it’s easier to see in the next images. One of the things we are trying to incorporate into our drawings at this stage are lots of little details to address coordination items that normally show up during construction administration. While it might not be very sexy to look at downspouts and foundation vents, they do exist and we want to make sure that their locations are addressed now. In the rendering above, on the left-hand side, you can see where the downspout and the foundation vent are in close proximity to one another. When we rendered this image, we saw that the downspout ran down in front of where we located the vent and as a result, we went back and moved the vent over to the left. Not that big a deal really, but it’s these little details are the reason why I like to think we are good at what we do.
In the original design, we had this entire walkway as a cantilevered concrete walkway. We ended up changing it out to be a Ipe wood cantilevered deck – which I think was aesthetically the right decision because the wood softens the transition between the built house and the yard. One other item that we are considering is the texture on the concrete walls that are in use on the project. We currently have them detailed as board-formed concrete – the texture of which would soften the effects of the concrete while allowing the concrete to visually anchor the exterior pathways. The way the board-formed concrete texture is created is that a 2×6 board is sawn down the middle and then attached – sawn face pointing out – to the inside face of the concrete formwork. These boards are then sand-blasted to increase the amount of texture. It is not a cheap process but it visually makes a huge difference.
This is the view looking back towards the house from the rear of the yard. On the right-hand side is the only two-story portion of the house, the detached guest quarters with the secondary garage. This space is functionally separated from the main house by an outdoor cooking area that is under a shared and connected roof.
We completed the permit drawings a week ago and successfully acquired the permit before the end of September. The drawings are currently out for pricing and the project will most likely break ground within the next 4 weeks. So far, this project and the client have been terrific.
For some of you that read this site, you’ll know what I mean when I say that this project has been developed using “Revit” – a brand name for a drafting program that we use to prepare our design and construction documentation. This type of drafting software is more generically referred to as Building Information Modeling – or BIM. Since I’ve come over to the office, we are in the process of changing a bunch of the existing standards. Part of what we have been attempting to address is how our drawings look. This is something that is particularly important to me because I think that if our drawings look like we took the time to craft their appearance, the contractors know that they need to take time to pay attention to what we drew. We have been working on our graphics, the symbols we use, how our dimension strings look – lots of little tiny details. If you don’t draw, or if you aren’t in the business you might not appreciate the effect proper line weight can have on a drawing – it not only looks better but the drawing is actually easier to read and therefore, understand.
As a result of the time we have been putting in to fix our standards, we have had to have meetings to make sure that we monitor how this time is spent so that the client’s deadline isn’t adversely impacted due to these modifications. These efforts and revisions benefit all of our projects so this doesn’t go down as time spent on this project .. it’s an internal cost that we have decided is worth absorbing because we want to set the bar high.
One other item that I might try to cover was the software we were using to create our PDF’s from Revit – they looked terrible!! We just made the switch to Bluebeam Software for Revit and it made a huge difference. We kept making line weight adjustments to the drawings but when the plots came back in from the reprographics company you couldn’t see the changes we had made. We had some heated conversations in the studio – I wasn’t seeing what I wanted to see and some people thought it was the fault of the reprographics company. We received some advice that we should try using Bluebeam to create out PDF files so we downloaded the 30 day free trial, created some test plots and *BOOM* things look terrific!