Tuesday, February 15, 2011

a perspective

The steel prefabricators for our project prepared this rendered perspective, which gives a good sense of what the house should look like. The structural frame is steel, and the walls and roofs are made of panels with thin steel faces on either side of a thick layer of foam insulation. We'll discuss the advantages of steel in later posts, but for now, consider a few compelling things:

the house should be unattractive to termites, a major problem in South Florida

the lack of cavities in the exterior walls should help us avoid the mold growth that plagues houses here in the subtropics

the great tensile strength of steel allows the house to resist hurricane-strength winds with a minimum of material (our walls are 3" thick, while our neighbors' houses have walls that range from 11" to 15" thick)

most of the steel structure, and a good portion of the steel exterior panels, is recycled

the finish on the exterior should last many times longer than the paint on a stucco house

the steel surface of the roof is an ideal substrate for the photovoltaic panels, which adhere directly to the roof with a strong (read: hurricane-proof) mastic

the steel frame and panels are designed to go together quickly, which might save us time during construction (we're a bit skeptical at the moment) and thus could end up cutting costs

n.b. - We don't know who the blonde woman is. Maybe a real estate agent. She appears to drive a BMW SUV.


  1. Great information. The comment about the blonde lady was hilarious.

  2. yes, i like the architectural info + the snarky comment on the woman in the rendering.

  3. Holly & David, the idea of having this blog is remarkable. I love it!

  4. This is so fantastic. You've found a way to blow my critique of the solar decathlon paradigm out of the water.

  5. Thanks, Stephen. We ought to start a discussion of the solar decathlon - want to craft a guest post?

  6. I don't know what to say, I didn't know you were so into sustainable building in architecture. Spieglehalter would be proud.

  7. David, I had little idea of the magnitude of your task -here- lots of good luck. May I ask a q. - I know Buckminster fuller didn't ask this question- what does your building look like?
    I recently attended a special lecture by Peter Salter on 4 de-luxe apartments where his expertise was made most evident however I was surprised to find his response to my similar question to the one above which brought about only a continuation of his talk along the lines of his preoccupation with finishes and feelings. ( As you may have guessed I do not know florida).

    yours john

  8. Wow. We've never been mentioned in the same company as Fuller and Salter. We are psyched!

    Holly would answer this question differently, but I'd say that we were less interested in how the house looks than in how the world looks from inside the house. Think of those compelling collages Mies did of the Resor House, or Corbu's sketches from Brazil. We always thought of the way the house would frame views, capture the changing colors of the sky and guide movement between interior and exterior spaces of mediate the turn between the front and side streets. We've always been interested in how the house works perceptually or phenomenally, but not in the thing as an object with its own discrete aesthetic concerns.

    Is that what you've been thinking?