Thursday, July 21, 2011

going diagonal

The steel erection is in its fourth day, and it is going quickly. With most of the primary framing in place, we’re getting a good sense of the scale and proportions of the house. We’re also getting a sense of how the house reacts to the changing light conditions throughout the day, as well as how the different space relate to the landscape.

The erection crew installed most of the diagonal bracing in the house today. The diagonal members resolve the lateral forces induced by wind blowing against the sides of the house. Without the diagonal structural elements, the house would wrack and torque. It would not be pretty.

The diagonal bracing, however, is very pretty. We made an effort to make it a prominent part of the kitchen clerestory, which is the major space where the diagonal bracing is visible. It will be very cool, but it may also make the house uncomfortable for serious adherents to feng shui, for whom x-shaped diagonals are a serious liability.

Today we met both Mo Sutton of Mo Steel, who fabricated all of the steel in the house, and Jay Sanchez of Litecrete, who are erecting the frame and will install the roof and wall panels. They’re both a delight to work with, and their crews are terrific. The steel erection has been a wonderful experience so far.

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