The Planter Playhouse for Dallas CASA

August 2, 2011 — 11 Comments

This is week is a Dallas CASA Parade of Playhouses week. Today I wanted to focus on another playhouse that my office is doing – The Planter House – designed by our new associate Scott Taylor.

scott taylor avatarThis is Scott, or at least how Scott would look if Scott drew himself (FYI – if I could draw this well, I’d make myself a lot better looking). Scott starting working at my office around the beginning of July but I have been keeping track of his movements for quite a while. He has actually made two other appearances on my site, first for some graphics he made for the Architecture on Tap series hosted by the  AIA Dallas Associates group and then as the winner of the Life of an Architect Graphics competition – although I never used any of the graphics … yet.

Scott submitted a design for the playhouse competition last year and for some unknown reason, his was not selected. Once he came on board with us here, the first task he had was to prepare construction drawings on this playhouse so we could get one of our contractors to build it. All of this is very exciting considering that there was only 4 weeks between the start of the construction drawings and when the playhouse had to be delivered.


CASA Planter perspective

.CASA Planter perspective

I thought it would be interesting to show another set of construction documents for a supposedly simple project. Since this was literally the first task we set Scott on, he used my construction drawings for the Bug House as an example so these are set up remarkably similar to my own. That’s the thing when trying to design something complicated and have it look simple – it takes a lot of drawings. For me, these aren’t just for the contractor benefit, I find and solve solve design problems when I create my construction documents.


CASA Planter House construction drawings


Just like an architect to need To add to the complication, this design has a water storage system and a hand crank that forces the water up to the roof where there are a collection of six 16″ flower pots up there. Tight schedule, complicated design, new guy … 3 ingredients that generally don’t add up to awesomeness. Luckily, I know how this playhouse is turning out and I am excited to see the finished product.


Planter House contruction progress front

This playhouse is being built by Dallas contractor Howard Gorman with Gorman Homes and is being underwritten by Briggs-Freeman Realtors.  Since the entire thing is being assembled in a warehouse, it’s difficult to get into position to take a good photo. These are more about documenting the process. This is a view of the front – you can see the location of the exterior staircase leading up to the roof terrace where the flower pots are located.


Planter House contruction progress rear

This is a look at the rear – there will be a large sheet of polycarbonate paneling covering up the opening here but this shot gives a hint at the water storage tank and assembly.


Planter House storage tank and pump

A close up look at the water storage and hand pump – despite the fact it would be easier to simply spray the water up on the roof from a hose, this is about the kids having fun. That upper most pipe coming down from above (shown on the left) is actually a drain line from the roof. Yes, we are actually capturing the run-off from the sprinklers and natural rainfall into our 15 gallon storage tank. Unnecessary and excessive? Or fun and awesome? I’ll let some lucky kid tell me the answer in about 4 weeks … but we think we already know the answer.



Print Friendly

even better stuff from Life of an Architect

  • Kisenger

    Quick observation. The handle of the pump looks a little hard to access. Like it should be turned 90degrees. Maybe it’s just the photo. Looks fantastic and can’t wait to see it in person.

  • Eric

    OK, one of us is too uptight (it could be me ☺).  I would argue it’s you guys by throwing tasks at kids with this design. I have four girls, with no more than none of them interested in planting anything…Nor do I know of any other kids with such interests…Utilitarian at best, Marxist at worst. How about a place for baby doll-raising or sand architecture? Why are we always trying to throw everything “green” at kids? Can’t they just be kids?

    I can hear it now…”Get out there and check your tomatoes!”…”We didn’t build that place for you to play in it!”But maybe I am the one who is too uptight with my criticism…

    • I don’t think you’re wrong – that’s why the playhouse I designed has nothing to do with performing any chores. I can appreciate that anyone who designs these sorts of buildings tries to find something to spur the imagination of children. Even if the pots are never planted and the storage tank never filled, there is still a lot of creative play that can be developed through this form. 

      Check back in tomorrow and take a look at the photos for my playhouse – it has a theme (the Bug House) but if the person who wins it has a morbid fear of insects, all that business can be cleared out and some new personality can take its place.

  • architectrunnerguy

    The playhouse aside (nice design BTW), you all need to inform Scott that if he’s going to get anywhere in this profession he needs to acquire some heavy framed glasses and he needs to dress all in black (well ok, except for a possible purple tie). And most of all he needs to get rid of the smile. The pensive, brooding look is what he should look for.


    • all right Doug – I passed along your comments to Scott and I think he is going to develop “a new look” in the next couple of days. When it comes in, I will add it here.

      Thanks for the heads up

  • I vote FUN!  I will want a rain catpure system on my shipping container castle.  I hope you are taking notes.

    • yes – I have a running list of requests for that day in the future when you’re on your 10th book and give me a call –

      “It’s time…”

  • ARCHCowboy

    You picked up a great addition with Mr. Taylor.  A very talented gentleman.

    • I know – he keeps telling me just how much. I just wish he would stop singing around the office

  • Anonymous

    Mhmmm tough. Not sure I would know which one to vote for…. the Bug House or the Planter House. Both are really awesome, although I definitely like the rainwater collection system of the Planter House.

    • and to think, either one could be yours for only $5 – the cost of a single raffle ticket.