Sunday, August 17, 2008

Universal Design - Accessibility

Here is a home designed for Universal Design in Washington D.C that was sponsored by AARP:

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:

Here is a link for Universal Design:

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:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Piecing Together Community in New Orleans

Wayne Troyer Architects (WTA) has completed a facility for the Homeless in New Orleans that provides good design under a restrictive budget. It really shows that good design does not need to cost a lot.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Water + Life Museums - Sustainable Design

Here is a project using sustainable design that will qualify for LEED Platinum:

Living in Shipping Containers

This is a interesting and unique idea for a house:

Of course, if you could ship your house to other areas of the world, then it would be fairly useful.

Gehry's Serpentine Gallery Pavillion

Frank Gehry's latest work looks like a trash pile of cool materials:

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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bachelor Living

Here is an interesting project completed by GKV Architects. It is primarily designed for men, and preferably bachelors:

The building is a luxury residence in downtown Manhattan called the Sky House Condominiums, which were designed by Bruce Fowle, FAIA, and the model apartment is the project shown in the article.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Here is a very cool miniHouse that can be connected to the back of your truck and set on site without a foundation:

Plus, it is not a trailer, but it still qualifies as a Recreational Vehicle.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Abod

There is an interesting little house that was created to provide housing to destitute areas by BSB Designs and the link is located here:

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:

For information on accessibility in homes, please review the design manual for the Fair Housing Act located here:

Flood-Proof Houses

There is an interesting article located here:

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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

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 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 decided to tackle setting up the alarm myself. The forum provided help for the individual systems, and also
recommended using the very helpful technical support, that was provided for free. Whenever I ran into a problem, I would email tech support and within a very short time an answer would arrive that was very easy to understand.

I was able to hook the system up within a weekend, and it has worked beautifully ever since. I have even ordered a few more pieces of equipment to add to my system. If you like to tinker around the house, then you can really save some money. They also offer a monitoring service for under $10 a month.