Sunday, January 30, 2011

MoTrad House - rafters landing

As the rafters begin to go in you can start to get a sense of the massing of the house.

If you take a look at the project page at our web site you'll see more illustrations of how the house will finally appear. This may help you make sense out of what the rafters are doing here.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

MoTrad House - second floor cometh

The second floor partitions, and the roof in as much as it is tied together with the partitions, have begun to be framed up. Very soon the overall massing of the house will take shape. Already you can start to get a sense of the second floor spaces.

So click through to see the most recent photos from the second floor.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MoTrad House - second floor platform done

Not big news, but what this means is that since the second floor platform is in place you can now get a good sense of what the rooms on the ground floor feel like. Some new interior shots and a comparison to the design sketches.

So click through to see more of the main spaces from the ground floor shot from different angles. And I'm going to try to post a short video clip of the ground floor that the owner posted.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

USA New Wall - a proposal for a high performance commodity wall system

We've been kicking this idea around for about a year, ever since we created our 0970 Lagom House for a design contest. Inspired by our study of Swedish construction we wanted to create a high performance wall for the US market that lent itself to panel fabrication, and was accessible to any builder using the skills and experience they already have.

Why not use new materials and techniques? How can you make a New Wall that everybody is going to know how to build? We want to create a wall that can be widely adopted, something that any builder can start building tomorrow without any new training, without finding any new suppliers, with out changing the way they run their business. If we want the greatest number of builders to build more efficient houses we need a wall they understand immediately, we need a wall that they can purchase materials for from their existing suppliers, use their existing sub-contractors, and a wall that is familiar enough for them to reliably price and schedule. New materials and new techniques throw off all of this and become barriers to adoption. We don't want barriers. We want everybody to start building more efficient houses. Continue reading for a detailed explanation of this simple but robust wall.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MoTrad House - damn the snow, keep on framing

Snow over the weekend, and more coming today, has not slowed the pace of framing at the MoTrad House. The main level of the second floor platform is on and decked, and I suppose we can expect the master bedroom level to follow shortly.

I expected this project to move along more slowly than usual as the owner is doing GC duty himself. But I've been wrong at the framer is moving at a good clip, and the excavation and foundation work was well coordinated and happened quickly as well.

More photos if you click through to read the rest.

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Saturday, January 08, 2011

MoTrad House - framing up

A quick transition to framing, and the walls are now rising quickly.

The height of the walls here gives us a little clue about the relative ceiling heights. The rear portion of the house at the kitchen and living room enjoy an extra hight ceiling due to the master suite being a few steps up from the rest of the second floor. Stay tuned for more as the carpenters always seem to make short work of the framing. You'll find a photo-browser with more images after the link.

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Friday, January 07, 2011

Letters from Sweden - The path lies in revising our roles

Scott, my partner is studying Swedish housing, posted a comment at the Green Building Advisor blog post on my look at Swedish walls. His comment was very thought provoking, so much so I thought it important to repost it here. It is all about how the roles required to build houses in Sweden are different than they are here. As such the expectations are different, and coming to grip with that will probably be more important than any of the hammers and nails involved in changing what we do. In the end buying a house in Sweden is more like buying a kitchen in the US.

I think that any benefits from the Swedish methods are going to be because guys like the ones reading this figure out how to make all this both profitable and beneficial to their lives - because it is good for customers, profits, and their own sense of enjoyment of work. There are some important cultural and trade practice issues. James mentions "replacing skilled labor" by the idea of ordering his walls ...

I wanted to comment about how I saw this kind of factory based building impact the lives of the people who build houses in Sweden, as far as I could tell from my time there.

The Swedes had managed to change the supply chain in light residential construction and consequently they changed the nature of the work involved in building a house.

The closest way I can describe it is to compare it to the work of cabinet installers in the USA. The builders in Sweden come to the job with the same level of "kit" to build a house that we would take to install a kitchen. It is not that cabinet installers in the USA are unskilled - they just need different skills than framers.

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