Friday, July 29, 2011
One point that came up in response to one of my students' questions during our last site visit was how the house responds to the changing light conditions. The interior finishes (white walls, gray steel structure and light gray floors) are intended to reflect the ambient light throughout the day. The large expanses of glass, especially around the living and dining room, the kitchen and the family room, are designed to fill the house with indirect light. The inside walls of the mechanical lofts should catch direct sunlight during sunrise and sunset after the spring equinox and before the autumnal equinox.
We first appreciated the ability of architecture to respond to atmosphere and light in Agra, back in 1991, when we ended up at the Taj Mahal at sunrise:
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
One big advantage to prefabrication is that it significantly reduces construction waste. The primary structure is nearly complete, and so far the crew has only had to dispose of a few tiny pieces of scrap steel. The foundation and slab were poured with a minimum of waste (most of the wood forms were taken away to be reused) and the utilities were roughed in with only a couple of cardboard boxes worth of scrap pipe needing to be carted away.
But we also see tin box as an opportunity to exceed LEED’s education requirements.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Why, then, did I decide to schedule a field visit with FIU students at 3 this afternoon?
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
They have installed a lot of steel since they started putting up the columns on Monday.
Monday, July 18, 2011
The steel erector (Litecrete) used their crane to lift the columns into place (check out the video). Each column was drilled to fit over the anchor bolts by a fabricator (Mo Steel) who also welded various tabs and plate to the columns according to drawings by our prefabricators (EcoSteel). Over the next few days, the erectors hope to bolt together the rest of the primary structure. If we're lucky, they'll also set up enough of the secondary structure so that our window supplier can measure the rough window and door openings and verify the sizes of the fenestration before they order them from the factory. Cross your fingers.
Friday, July 15, 2011
The large pieces of steel are sitting on wood sleepers to keep them off the ground. The smaller pieces are locked away in a storage container. On Monday, we're hoping the erector will start setting the columns in place, at which point we'll find out if the anchor bolts are where they ought to be.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Today we welcomed a new business to our neighborhood, Miami Recycle Bike Shop. Andres Barreda held an opening at his new shop located at 5885 Commerce Lane, which is about 4 blocks from our house in the light industrial area of South Miami. Andres builds and rebuilds bikes out of old frames and parts. Some of them are rare classics, including a double jointed bike style we'd never seen before called a swing bike. The others are just general used bike parts that he can reconstitute into tailor fit designs according to the desires of his customers.
Andres loves all kinds of bikes and wants to share and foster that love in other people. He fixed a flat for free for a neighborhood kid and found used pedals for someone else. In our brief meeting (it was a party after all), he talked about the bike culture in Colorado with the coop bike shops he had seen there. He also mentioned his trip to Amsterdam which according to a quick Google searched statistic claims that there are 600,000 bikes for a population of 750,000.
Andres has also found that he can draw on the talents and resources from the neighborhood. He is in the process of working something out with the auto body shop across the street so that he can use their paint spray booth. He also buys his leather seats for some of his bikes from another local guy. The ostrich ones were sweet!
Welcome, Miami Recycle Bike Shop, we are so glad to have you!
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Except, of course, for copyright infringement.
You can see the original photo here.
Two articles in today's New York Times relate to this cycle of unsustainable energy generation.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
We spent ten days on a cruise thanks to the generosity of the FIU Alumni Association, who invited me along as an "enrichment lecturer" to give a series of talks on the urbanism and architecture of some of the ports of call we'd visit. It was a great opportunity to think in greater depth about a lot of the things that fascinate us - design, cultural exchange, trade, travel - and to explore places we only knew through books and Wikipedia.
The fascinating thing about cruises is the way they bring into sharp relief the importance of maritime commerce and transportation before the invention of the railroad.
At left, a picture of big piles of scrap steel in the Polish port of Gdynia, where we docked about a week ago. Most of the structural steel in our house is recycled from scrap like this.
Here's what the cranes look like in action:
Saturday, July 2, 2011
But for now, enjoy a happy Fourth of July!