Thursday, January 20, 2011

BAPOW, huge timbers await design!!

I've always loved the process of design build. The challenge of interpreting the needs of a client, evaluating the conditions of the site and refining the details to suit the materials.

FrEdLey Residence: Woven wire mesh from old rock crusher; salvaged spruce for the cap, deck planks and door; and cedar siding from a barn that will be 100 years old this decade.

All of my projects have recycled or reclaimed material or a found object of some sort incorporated into the design. Quite often my furninture starts with a found object.

The design of this table was entirely driven by the 'half holes' that were for some use in another life.

I use the language that comes with these materials or objects to inform the design, asking the material what it wants to be.

The design of this building changed to accommodate salvaged materials too good to pass up.
ShantyTown, salvaged steel and wood
Other times I see the value of the material and iterate my design to create a home for these materials. The design of the FrEdLey Carport changed when I purchased some amazing old growth 2x8 spruce in quantity knowing they had outstanding qualtities but that there were currently no 2x8's in the framing plans for the building.

Iterating the design led to the angled posts to hold up an interim beam and the paired rafters to provide generous safety margin for un-inspected wood framing, both distinct elements in the final building.

FrEdLey Salvaged steel and wood
What distinguishes two different projects where the same materials are used? In the shanty town image, there is recycled wood and metal panels. Above and below are shots from FrEdLey where recycled wood and metal panels were also used. The resulting difference is striking.

It's about the details and the connections.


But the whole reason I started writing this article is to emphasize how the material informs the design.

As it happens, I have some material that is so amazing, I need a design. Acually I don't need a design so much as a client to fund a design utilizing these materials!

Here are couple of shots. This wood is beautiful, huge, available and quite affordable. If you or anyone you know is interested, please have them contact me, dbBrad, for more info.

Some large timbers awaiting a project.
B.A.P.O.W. is an acronym I use regularily to describe pieces of exceptional wood. It stands for Bad Ass Piece of Wood. That is clearly what we have here! Just waiting for a project.

Huge timbers, 23"x23" Old Doug Fir. BAPOW!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Staw Bale Experiment

In an effort to be as green as possible and to continue investigation and research into affordable, healthy and sustainable housing, I've built a new office for dbBrad and Mr. Greenguy.  The new office will be fully insulated, utilize recycled windows and straw bale walls left uncovered!

Mister Greenguy building new office.
The recycled, organic walls take place under an existing roof that was creating covered outdoor space.  As such, all the structure was in place allowing my walls to be non load bearing.  This gave me lots of options one typically doesn't have.

Exposed straw bale walls.
Using surplus recycled wood purchased previously,  I was able to create semi-structural siding for my straw bale walls that match the existing buildings materials and help support my straw bales.  Most importantly, it ties the straw portions and the framed portions of the building together.

Large 5' x 10' south facing window will provide heat and light, compliments of Island Sash and Door.  You can also see the Therma-max Rigid Insulation already in the rafter bays.
Recycled windows from Island Sash and Door facing southwest will let in lots of sunlight for passive solar heating on clear afternoons.  Though the windows are single pane, they came with storm windows which essentially create a thermal pane window.  The storm window also helps isolate the aluminum from  the cold air since it doesn't have a thermal break like newer metal windows.

Walls with supports under construction.
My primitive semi-temporary walls are a bit of an experiment.  They are supported at the bottom by  pressure treated boards set on firm ground which also hold my vertical boards which go all the way to the top and attach to the existing roof.  The idea here was as the straw settles over the next few years, I can add more at the top to accommodate settling.