who’s next?

the birth of the verbiage to go with the house design for fregreen’s who’s next? design competition…….keep in mind this is a work in progress:

shedIT: affordable housing without compromise

re: american dream

The single family home is a defining element of the American lifestyle. The challenge in housing is to provide a single family house that is truly “affordable.” To succeed, the design must engender the sense of home, as much as it provides for basic needs. The design serves the inhabitants which varies diversely, but whose typical patterns abide. Spaces for personal privacy, as much as for common purposes, must be provided. This is readily accomplished by providing for private rooms and the careful assemblage and separation of common spaces. However, exponential consumerism growth has resulted in over inflated homes of inefficient structure and an abundance of superfluous space. The past decade saw consumers desiring, and in most cases, demanding, more than the essentials of a house- they expected larger and larger quantities of square footage. With those expectations come no questions as to the value of the space nor the long term effects on the life-cycle of the house and the environment as a whole. The current econ climate has seen a resurgence of consumers wanting more efficient homes with less space but more quality. Only spaces necessary are provided in the design. They are sustainable and reduce overall energy consumption and pollution.

A plan based on a traditional paradigm makes sense. However, details redefine the familiar plan organization. The four-foot wide gallery is not really a luxury- it allows for niceties that decorate the typical family dwelling: bookshelves, umbrella stands, planters, childrens toys, collections, artwork, sound systems, storage units, etc. Pocket door closures between the dining and living room achieve privacy, and conversely, a linkage when open to effect a single spacious room. A space at the top of the stairs for play, television, or study, affords a secondary common area. Some may elect to close off for storage, others a sitting area for the adjacent bedroom. Though a compact dwelling, the typical “three piece vanilla bath” is enlarged significantly to accommodate room for two working adults, a nurse assistant, accessibility for walkers and wheelchairs, and useful for parent-child training periods.

Cost efficiency is primarily achieved by the minimization of the plan. The simplified framing plans allow for time efficient construction. The employment of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) often results in a cost savings, and the prefabricated roof trusses add further savings. Additional cost savings are achieved through the reduced roof pitch design, utilization of common, readily available materials-asphalt shingles, cement board siding, and casement windows. In some locations, a slab on-grade may replace the crawl space and result in more savings. The structural design economizes with an intermediate bearing wall on the first floor, allowing for minimal floor joists, nominally 10″. The best opportunities for reducing long term costs in the building commence during the design process. To this end, the proposed design is indeed livable, buildable, sustainable, and affordable.

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