Tuesday, July 29, 2008

introducing a new design: Hus1

The first of a new collection of house plans on the lamidesign.com/plans site. The new collection is to be modest in size, large on livability, family friendly, eminently build-able, with a contemporary modern presence and a bit of retro mid-century dash as well. The first in a series, introducing the Hus 1. The result of my year long study of the Swedish housing industry, and my love of mid-century modernism, the Hus1 puts these influences together with practicality and livability of the many small 50s and 60s homes in my own neighborhood. The basic two bedroom house will start out at modest 1,350 sqft, or the larger 1,750 sqft 3 bedroom plan shown below. Both have the option of an additional 500 sqft master bedroom upstairs which in the larger plan allows the downstairs master to serve as a family room. A very livable home, the L shape creates privacy for its rear terrace where family life can flow out from the living areas. Conventional construction makes this house easy to build, and the iconic traditional form won't scare the average home builder. Look for Design Prints to come available on the site soon. Well, you will hear about it here when it happens! And yes, this is the house for which we have been experimenting with new drawing styles. Not quite sorted out yet, but when its done the new collection will have a distinct graphic look apart from the original collection of designs.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

considering new drawing styles for new designs

As we wind down on completing the plans in the original collection of houses I'm looking forward to creating new collections with new themes to tie the designs together. I'm looking at drawings from some of my favorite design references looking for inspiration for new graphic styles to use to distinguish and reinforce the design themes in the new collections. One of these sources is Case Study House #24 from Arts & Architecture magazine. CSH #24 was published in 1961 and never built, but it was always one of my favorites. Half underground, half sheltered by earth berms, the house was surrounded by walled courtyards. These courts admitted light to the glass walled house but kept it completely private even in close proximity to a neighbor. I've always loved the drawings of this house, a close up of the oblique plan projection above - an axonometric it is called.

And here the plan. It reveals the footprint of the house and courtyards. I also love the simple delineation and labeling of the floor plan graphic. If there are any house drawings that you love please share them and I will make them the subject of future entries.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

0859 Unger Studio - structure clad, with balconies

We are winding down on the conceptual design work for the Unger Studio today. Posted are current images of the state of the design. The building will be clad, as its location requires it to be insulated. The owner is considering steel insulated sandwich panels similar to what we use on the EcoSteel projects. The balconies are intended to be made from an industrial mezzanine system. The roof is a self supporting corrugated steel arch, a very economical structure. Normally its used to create inexpensive space under roof and would come all the way down to the slab in a quonset hut like fashion. We are experimenting with several appropriated building technologies in this project to try and keep the cost to a minimum. We will continue to report on how that plays out.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

$1500 Plans So Long, and thanks for all the fish

Today we announce our impending price increase. The price of Construction Prints will be increasing from $1,500 to $4,750 on 24July2008. Yes, this is a significant increase, on the order of 3x, but still a small fraction of the cost of a home and they remain a tremendous value in comparison to custom design charges. The new pricing is part of a marketing agreement we have made with stock house plan vendor Houseplans.com who will now also be distributing our designs (by also we mean that we will still be selling plans direct from our site as always). This is part of an effort elevate the level of design offered in the form of stock plans, not only modern houses, but of all styles. This has been a goal of mine since starting this venture, and for the first time in the leadership at Houseplans.com I have found a similar vision. Yes, they offer the usual array of mediocre design, but they are behind this idea and are committed to marketing better designed home plans in a different way - a way in which design is more important than square feet, or bedroom count. The offering that they will assemble will completely out-class the offerings of other vendors and it is my sincere hope that this brings pressure to bear on them to improve their game. The end result, I hope, is the enlightenment of the buying public to better design, the creation of demand for better designed homes, and the inevitable move of the market to fill that demand. End game - better designed homes readily available for everyone, particularly for my camp of modernists. This really brings the introductory phase of our house plan venture to a close. We now have 8 different designs and 3 variations on one design available in Construction Prints for a total of 11 different plan sets, and another on the way in Design Prints only right now. And there are more great designs on the way. Customers have stepped up to the plate, and if you have been watching our blog you will have seen many houses under construction at all ends of the country. Our house plans have found their way into media, appearing in the New York Times, Dwell, This Old House magazine, soon Metropolitan Home, and numerous blogs covering design online. Our thanks go out to those early adopters and the journalists and bloggers that have covered them. As well as this launch has gone it has been a struggle to create the designs, market them, and maintain the sites to promote them, all while running a local architectural practice to keep our roof above our heads. The new pricing will allow us to dedicate more time to producing more product, so truly good things lie ahead. Thank you for following this adventure with us.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

OK Tray House - exterior complete

And from what I understand from the Owner the interior is largely finished as well. He send along a pair of photos from the Tray House from a few weeks ago.

I can't tell from the photo if the siding is cedar or doug fir, but it sure looks nice. The owner has promised a few more pictures soon and says its moved along quite a bit from here. The progress must be inside as the exterior looks quite complete. He said the construction debris from the site has all been removed. In the meantime visit the Flickr set for the house and re-live the progress!

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

0859 Unger Studio - interior shell

I've mocked up the container box modifications, and the interior partitions and doors, stairs and rails. Next we have to layout the infill panels that enclose the spaces between the boxes, and also separate the high bay of the workshop from the office on the second level. The workshop.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Upcoming Project Round-Up

Things are going to start getting pretty interesting around here as several projects start to happen. Here is a quick round-up of what will be coming later this summer. Our first bona fide shipping container based project is well into the design phase with intrepid client John Unger. John is an adept metal artist and will be fitting out much of the house himself. 3 stories, 6 boxes, including a 2 bedroom home, office, and workshop. A complete and modern renovation to a Virginia Farm House. Yes, that is a big honking window in the side of the existing house and its going to take a bit of exposed structural steel hoonage to hold it up. Yup, and to hold up one of those sexy hanging fireplaces too. A new compact, and efficient EcoSteel house, should be going in the ground late summer in Maryland. This is the one I think, the one that has some legs, the promise of being anybodies affordable prefab. The new 3030 House: 30ft x 30ft plus porch footprint, just under 2000 sqft, 3 bedrooms, and a nice open plan living space. Fits on narrow in-fill lots, or in new compact communities. No onesies though. We want to sell these in bunches. And the Massachusetts EcoSteel Plat House which started last fall is rolling again. The steel order is in and due on site at the end of the month. So keep your eyes peeled for these projects coming soon.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New Mexico EcoSteel House - more photos

Another round of photos from the New Mexico EcoSteel House. An interesting point of view, most of these were shot from a lift that was on site for the interior work. Most of the exterior photos are from this elevated point of view. As before more shots in a photo browser below the click through:

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