Sunday, September 25, 2011

landmarks and leftovers

At some point last night, tin box recorded its 10,000th page view. A lot of our traffic comes through postings on Facebook, where we entertain a fair number of good questions from our friends and family. We wanted to share some of that correspondence.

Architect and scholar Lucy Creagh asked whether we would have a topping out ceremony. This is a common event up north, where builders put an evergreen tree on the top of steel frame to mark its completion. Sometimes the whole crew with sign their names on a ceremonial last beam when it gets lifted into place. The practice has its origins in northern Europe, but must not be common in Latin America, since our erector was unfamiliar with it. We might have a quiet little moment with a Sharpie when the last two pieces of steel arrive.

Enlightenment scholar and art historian Laura Auricchio asked whether our courtyard made reference to ancient Roman houses. The brief answer is that our courtyard differs in three major ways: the outer walls of the house are pretty transparent, and so the courtyard isn't the innermost layer of space separated from the outside world; the house surrounds the courtyard on just three sides, with the fourth open to the yard; and the shed roofs are sloped away from the courtyard, so that rainwater doesn't drain into it. We thought about Roman and Spanish prototypes, and realized how the configuration of the roofs has big aesthetic and spatial consequences, because of the scale they give the courtyard. Our references are more to the modernist house designs, like Schindler's King's Road House, Wright's Usonian houses, and Mies's courtyard houses. We'll try to write more about this later.

Giancarlo Del Vita, an architect whose practice spans at least two continents, asked about flooding. Yes, we are close to the Atlantic, and our ground level is just ten feet above sea level. However, we designed tin box so that the floor is a full two feet above the 100-year flood elevation, and we believe it would take a truly unprecedented disaster to flood the surrounding area to this level.

And long-time friend of tin box, architect and green building expert, world traveller, athlete and alligator expert Cathy Bell, keeps updating us with info on awesome lighting technologies, like the Plumen bulb.

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