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Showing posts from 2008

Universal Design - Accessibility

Here is a home designed for Universal Design in Washington D.C that was sponsored by AARP:
http://www.aia.org/aiarchitect/thisweek08/0627/0627p_aarp.cfm

I know that it is tempting to design homes with doors that are less than 3'-0" or bathrooms that are not wheelchair accessible, but after taking care of my grandmother in my 1970s home, I will make sure that my firm will at least follow fair housing guidelines and at most go with the ANSI 117.1 standards or a Universal Design. Most of the design elements that are in Fair Housing Guidelines are not cost prohibitive and actually make good design sense, so for any type of residential construction this should be required.

For the Fair Housing Design Manual, please go to this HUD link:http://www.huduser.org/Publications/pdf/fairhousing/fairintro.pdf

Here is a link for Universal Design:
http://www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/pubs_p/docs/UDinHousing.pdf


BeauSoleil - Louisiana Solar Home

Geoff Gjertson, who is an Associate Professor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a formal employee of Holly & Smith, presented the BeauSoleil project during a lunch on Wednesday. The BeauSoleil is a solar home that is based on regional architecture and will be submitted to the Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC from 09/17 to 10/06 of 2009. For more information on the project, please go the following link:
http://www.beausoleilhome.org/

Gehry's Serpentine Gallery Pavillion

Frank Gehry's latest work looks like a trash pile of cool materials:
http://www.serpentinegallery.org/2008/03/forthcoming_summer_2008serpent.html

I would guess that walking through the space and experiencing the shadows and light that is created by the unusual structure is unique and interesting. It would also seem that the materials themselves invite a user to touch and feel the warmth of the structure, but visually it is just too much to get past that it looks like a collapsed structure.

Houses are Getting Smaller

The AIA released some findings from their Home Designs Trends Survey from the first quarter of 2008, which discusses how, due to the weakened housing market, there is a trend to build smaller homes, which have greater accessibility for an aging populace, and a desire for spending money on improvements on the outside areas, which may be easier to do than improvements to the interior.

The story is located here:
http://www.aia.org/aiarchitect/thisweek08/0606/0606b_htdsq2.cfm

For information on accessibility in homes, please review the design manual for the Fair Housing Act located here:
http://www.huduser.org/intercept.asp?loc=/Publications/PDF/FAIRHOUSING/fairfull.pdf

Flood-Proof Houses

There is an interesting article located here:
http://hurricane.lsu.edu/_in_the_news/042807_seattle_times.html

It discusses houses located in the Netherlands and Pointe Coupee Parish in Louisiana that utilize a buoyant foundation made of expanded polystyrene to raise the house in flood waters. The house is connected to poles on either side, which keep the house anchored to the site.

Elizabeth English, who is with the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, stated that she has met resistance from FEMA and local building departments, since the housing type is currently not covered under the International Building Code.

Home Alarms

When I first moved back to Louisiana, I was reviewing my home security due to the crime in neighboring New Orleans. I discussed a few different possibilities with the local and national alarm companies, but they wanted to remove all of the current equipment, which was only a few years old, and start from scratch. Luckily, I found a company online that sells directly to the consumer at http://www.homesecuritystore.com/ and decided to give them a try.

The package was delivered to my home in a few days, and once I unpacked it and reviewed the manuals, I panicked. It seemed to be very difficult to program, and I was very concerned that I made the wrong decision. I spent the next few months searching for someone that I could pay to install or just program the system, but unfortunately, I could not find anyone to help.

I eventually went to the Home Security Store's forum site, and there were a large group of average homeowners in the same predicament. I read a few posts, and then decide…