Monday, September 20, 2004

A design study for a new Steel House

A study for a modern steel house - a new prefab entry. This is a facade study for a house design that I am currently engaged in. It is a large four bedroom house with two master bedrooms that I am working on as a design consultant to Northern Steel, a international metal building manufacturer. The prototype will be built this winter and could be in production immediately afterwards. The house will be built using their >EcoSteel system. They have encouraged me to post more information about the system so I have revised this blog entry. Northern Steel has taken the initiative to adapt metal building conventions to residential design. Their "EcoSteel" system as it is called leverages standard metal building construction for use in the relatively light residential construction setting. This allows them to extend the efficiency that is practiced in this kind of commercial construction. I am collaborating with Northern to develop modern designs utilizing the EcoSteel system as we all agree that it is a natural for the given construction aesthetic of the system. We don't have all the details yet as we are still working through this. Browse through the rest of the site and I think you will get a feeling for their business. I think this is a unique entry into this modern prefab movement. They already prefabricate and erect metal buildings nationwide so there is no warm-up period. Everything is in place and it should scale up immediately as demand warrants. I am interested in your feedback however and I can direct interested parties to the manufacturer. Continue reading "A design study for a new Steel House"

thoughts about Julia Child's kitchen

What does Julia Child's kitchen have to do with this re-modern movement?

I was in DC last week, visiting the Smithsonian, and I really enjoyed seeing Julia Child's kitchen. It had to be a big kitchen for its time, although it is sort of dwarfed by the average mcmansion kitchen of today. But it really struck me as to how it was such a great kitchen - such a good work space and such a good living space at the same time. Unlike the open plan kitchen living spaces that we think of being modern this one had a large space with a very long table, 3 separate pantries, one for food, one for baking, and one for dishware (a butler's pantry) and was separated from the other living spaces in the house. The work triangle - the frig, sink, and stove were at opposite ends of the kitchen - not the tidy work triangle kitchen planners often strive for. The stove was not in the prominent center place but in a niche at the far side. Cabinets were haphazard, some base cabinets were without doors for direct access to pots, there were few wall cabinets, a lot of peg board for hanging all the pots and tools - it looked like my dad's workshop! Countertops were either butcher block or stainless, and the floor was Armstrong congolium tile - a good solid vinyl flooring, but not the "classy" stuff people seek today. It was very casual and comfortable, but the antithesis of the year 2000 kitchen. I suppose people today will not be happy with such a functionally motivated, un-designer kitchen, but for somebody truly into food and cooking it could not be better designed.

But the big impact on me was the whole Julia Child story - when she started people in the US really had no idea how french cooking was done, and the imagination and creativity that could be applied to food. And I look at todays world and how many restaurants there are, and how much focus there is on food and cooking, and how much more savvy about food people are. I don't know how much credit goes to her, I'm sure other people contributed to this change, but what a transformation of popular culture it represents. It seems if that was possible with food and cooking, then we certainly must be able to do the same with the way america thinks about houses? no?

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blogs are back up and running!

After a few weeks of downtime the LiveModern blog tools are back online! We have been away from the blog for a few weeks so we have a number of loose ends to catch up on. We left off with the completion of the 0367 Porch House Construction Prints. It was completed in mid August and the status was set on our site to "Prints Available Now". The development of the 0380 Cube House will follow soon, and you will be able to track it here as before.

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