Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Timeline - House Model

Three Years Ago

House Model
During the winter of 2011, we decided that a scale model of the house-to-be would be helpful for a couple of reasons: To help Dorothy and I visualize the rooms and furnishings in 3-D and to facilitate communication with potential consultants, vendors and permitting authorities.  We had just put our dog down so her bed became a convenient container for the model.  I constructed the model from wood and Plexiglas with green carpet 

representing organic surfaces.  Miniature furniture, cabinets, built-ins, appliances and bathroom fixtures were detailed.

Roof and AGS Components
The silver portion of the roof represents metal on the south, single story, half of the house.  The overhangs, which keep the summer sun from penetrating, make it 

difficult to see the south walls with the roof in place.  The "metal" roof though is removable in sections. The "green" (earth contact) roof over the north half of the house hinges out of the way. The white "pipes" sticking out of the ground behind the house represent individual solar chimneys for the Annualized GeoSolar system (first post on AGSsecond post on AGS).  The "pipes" in front of the house in the second view represent the conduits for the AGS system which were left uncovered for demonstration purposes.  The concept at the time of the model was for the garage and main entry to face east as shown in the third picture but were reconfigured to face south in the final iteration.

Timber Framing and SIPs
The fourth picture, with the north roof hinged away, shows the "timber frame" supporting the heavy earthen roof.  In the very beginning, we dreamed, not only of a timber frame, but of exterior walls and a roof done with structural insulated panels, which are both green and typical for timber frame homes. However, sadly, SIPs,  the earth contact roof and the frame all had to be jettisoned shortly after the model was completed when early quotes clearly showed that our budget could not support them.  It was hard sacrifice to make because we both like the rustic look of a timber frame and felt that we were already compromising by using the frame for only half the house.

Miniature furnishings were added to the model to help visualize the spaces in 3-D. The picture at the right is included to show the amount of detail given to the furnishings.  It also shows the timber frame from a different perspective.  The screened porch (lower right) made the cut for the final construction drawings but the aquaponic greenhouse (lower left) did not.

Even a small house yields lots of good lumber
Building Director Buys In
The Building Director, who is solely responsible for issuing building permits and doing the inspections, met with us at the building site with the model in front of us 

Good looking "bones" for salvage
and was okay with our design.  We had shared our general concept with him before buying the property and had met with him several times in the interim as our plans developed but the model was a positive communication step.  And it was at that meeting that the Director pointed me to a house that had defaulted to the City and needed to be torn down. Within a couple of months, the deal to tear it down was done and, two months later, the basement was ready to fill and I had added substantially to my stash of recycled lumber.

The model proved invaluable in an unexpected way as mentioned in another post -- Early Professional Drawings.

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