Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Development of an Idea

The "library tower" came about, as we were working out the hallway and common areas between all the bedrooms. We tried to assemble here a few sketches and drawings to illustrate how an idea like this develops. The first images shows the first quick attempts to hold on to a fleeing idea. Following is a preliminary sketch we presented to the client. And the last image shows the whole building section as it was used in our construction drawings:

The end result is a world of books and toys that surround a playfully climbing set of bookshelves. It ends in an elevated platform that is surrounded by large windows, a perfect spot to cuddle up and get lost in a good book. Note how the shelving is set into the walls, the floor and the ceiling. On the opposite end this corridor juts out over the backyard and existing terrace in a low "red box". This is the extension of the play area into a nook, which is also defined by a window.
This area is also integrated into the hallway, as you can see in the plan. In conjunction with the bank of floor-to-ceiling windows in the extra wide hallway an area of play is created. It makes good use of the square feet that have to be allocated to circulation and offers a rich and wonderful environment.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Floor Plan

Here is the floor plan. The steps on the bottom left lead up to this new second floor. Since the garage below is a little lower than the main floor and we are dropping the new second floor down, lower than what the existing garage ceiling is, the stair is not a full staircase. You are only climbing a half story up. This helped increase the connection of the new children’s world to the rest of the house. The stair ends right next to the breakfast room and kitchen area.
You can easily make out the three bedrooms and the bath. Look also at the wider hallway that turns into the “library tower” and the little”red box”, on the top and bottom of the plan respectively. More about those later.

The Preliminary Design Sketch

This is the preliminary design sketch of the addition. The existing house’s layout is basically an “L”-shape. The smaller leg goes off from the back of the house and houses the existing garage and guest suite. In this sketch you can see the mass of the existing house on the left. You are standing on the terrace located in the inside corner of the “L”, and you are looking towards the addition.
On the first floor the garage and guest suite remains. The garage door is on the opposite side of this view. The existing first floor is going to be re-clad to match the second story addition and unify this wing of the house.
You can see some of the basic elements of the design here. A modern and simple general look, the wide open hallway with its large windows. The “awning”. The little “red box”. And the climbing “library tower” sticking up in the back.
This addition will create three bedrooms for the three young daughters of the homeowners, a bath for them, and an area that playfully integrates circulation, the library and plenty of play area.

Getting Started

As we are getting started on the construction of this addition, we decided to offer a blog on the progress of creating a modern dwelling. A lot has happened already. And as we are posting moments of the upcoming steps, we will also throw in information on the work leading up to now.

As all our projects, we have had initial meetings, contract negotiations, and site analysis. We measured and documented the existing house, gathered zoning and other restrictions and information, and had lots of discussions and meetings on the wishes and needs of our clients.

In this case we also developed several concepts to find the best way, place, and form for all the whishes our clients asked of the changes to be made to their house. This version, we decided on in the end, is a second story addition over the existing garage and guest suite wing.

What followed was a design development with hand drawn elevations and floor plans. These lead to fully fledged construction drawings.

As we moved into the construction phase, we worked out a full cost analysis that resulted in a lot of meetings with sub contractors on site and options for the home owners.

We will expand on all of these steps in future posts. In the meantime enjoy following us as we are getting ready for some demolition work and new construction. Don’t forget to visit us at