Friday, August 24, 2007

Local talent.
My friend Madison, who I have known since undergrad, has a talent for decoration. At a time when we were all pinning posters on our apartment walls and luxuriating with matresses thrown on the ground, Madison's apartment was a showcase. The most amazing thing was, and still is, that she is able to accomplish these complete tranformations for about what we were spending on the posters and mexican blankets.

Madison lives in italia now. But this has not stopped her talent for interior design. She has completely redone the house in which she lives now, with her husband Chris, and the results are stunning.

Ok, this is her kitchen. She did not merely renovate it, she created it from scratch. She even built the walls that define the kitchen space. The tiles, appliacnes and counter tops are all her creation.

I really like this kitchen. The busy blue interest of the mosiac tiles compliments the industrial feel of appliances. The stainless steel looks almost commercial, but certainly utilitarian.

Here is another look...

I also love what she has done with the bathroom, again, choosing flooring, appliances and finishes.

Oh course, when you have a view like she does, it pays to invest in your home.

Friday, August 17, 2007

This is another image from that Dwell shoot that I am using to get an idea of what the inside of K House might reflect. See here the wood wails? I dont know what you call that material, the wood used on the walls. Is it regular hardwood flooring used on a wall? It might be.

You can see that the Marine Plywood ceiling, or what I think is the Marine Plywood ceiling, is highly laminated. I dont know if I like the way the shine comes off in the images. Om the other hand, it brightens a place up tremendously. Anyway, these images of this house in Dwell are interesting as a starting point. I am curious how K house will be similar or different.

I have been spending time lately cataloguing concrete finishes. Its a fascination of mine. You can dye concrete, polish it, seal it, embed quartz and other rocks, texturize it, darken it, harden it, lighten it. Its amazingly flexible. I dont know what finish we are exploring in the kitchen,but the possibilities are endless. For that matter, I dont know what the interior treatments are like for the vertical element. The bedroom, I think, will have a settled darkness, like a cave, with one end brilliantly lit in day night. The zendo, I think will be open and light, serene and simple, but how that translates into building materials is going to be interesting.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


So, as part of researching images for this project, I subscribed to Dwell magazine, an architectural digest for people who are not architects and need things explained to them in really short easily understood words. I like the pictures.

At any rate, this months issue had two houses which seemed to very closely parallel things that are going on in Plan B. The first is a house in LA which appears to have wood walls, a wood exterior, and marine plywood ceilings.

Note also the lifted ceilings with the windows underneath that open, presumably, outwards. The hardwood floors are like my projects, but there are, of course differences too.

Here, in the Dwell image, you can see that there are portions of white tile, or white stained concrete. Its hard to tell which. I kind of detest light floors like that. Oh course, now that I look closely, it might be carpeting, which, with the added texture, might work, but I am not using carpeting in CR< class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_3">is wider, by far, than mine, thus it employs beams supporting the roof, whereas in Project B, the walls are the weight bearing instruments, and there are no columns.

The one thing this house is doing that I would like to avoid is that sense on internal impermanence. Many of the walls are so thin, they look like temporary structures, without having the elegance of a Japanese screen, but just looking kind of cheap.

Interestingly, It appears that the roof in this house, above, has a skylight. I have never seen a skylight in CR, which could reflect the heat of the climate, or the limitations of previous construction companies.

This image, from another part of the magazine, shows a house that also has aspect paralleling Plan B. You see the tower, which, I believe, is made of Corten steel. This is in LA, again, if memory serves (I lost my copy of Dwell). There is a small porch off the front of the tower, and the full glass wall giving a view to the ocean. More subtley, but still in the spirit of Plan B, is the fact that the builder either planted or left the native flora, hiding and cooling the house from the street. This is an aim of Project B. We [attempted] to leave all the mature local flora, the cocobolos, the oaks, and the other trees. It is to be hoped that with the slope of the hill, the vertical element will, like this tower here, peak above the forest, and, in my case, under the canopy of the larger trees. It will be, this way, camouflaged, cooled, interactive, and complimentary to its environment. Still not sure about the Corten. I am on the fence. Sometimes I love its texture, sometimes I am concerned about the next owner, as I appear to be one of the few people I have met who likes it. I did talk to someone knowledgeable about urban planning in Pittsburgh who told me that it was necessary to rip down a lot of experimental Corten building since the rust stained the pavement around the building and covered the windows onto which it dripped. That would be a mess.
Anyway, I think these two images taken together anticipate my project to a degree.
Let me know what you all think.

Friday, August 03, 2007

TEL/FAX. 229-0303, E-MAIL:

That is the name of the firm that I used. Guillermo thought their survey was really very good. They were at market, so if you in CR and are looking for someone to do soil testing, they have my recommendation.
We have soil reports.
They are in Spanish, so I cannot read them, although loading them into BabelFish is very instructive:

Dear engineer: We presented/displayed the ground study and the results to him, made in located lot in Nosara, Nicoya, Guanacaste, whose 3223.31 area is of m2, with number of real folio [], property of [] where the construction of a condominium of two levels projects. The ground study contemplates to profile of the ground, unified classification, capacity of support, establishments, level of laying of foundations, laboratory tests. In case of some explanation it sírvase to indicate to us and we will take care of to him with much pleasure.

So far so good. I am pleased that they will take care of to him with much pleasure. I suspect that this translation is only going to get worse...

Reach The present study involves tools and technical procedures pertaining to the branch of geotécnica engineering, with the primary target to make an evaluation of the physical-mechanical characteristics of the present ground in the interest site, this way to raise the appropriate geotécnicas recommendations for the technical feasibility, design and construction or maintenance of civil works to develop in the investigation area. It is required to determine type of ground, the capacity of permissible support of the ground in different layers, profile of the land, and geotécnico lineament for the construction of a condominium of two levels. 2 Description of the Work were made three perforations to percussion by means of the method of standard penetration (SPT) according to ASTM 1586, in the P-1 perforations and P-2 was reached the depth defined initially of 4.20 ms. In the P-3 perforation the bounce of the standard equipment also appeared and with the use of the end trepan (TP), the depth reached in the P-3 exploration was of 3.00 East m.s method allows to know the consistency grounds according to the number of blows NSPT, for penetration of 30 cm as well as the continuous taking of samples for classification, description of the ground and laboratory tests. From each perforation samples for the classification of the ground in agreement with the SUCS are obtained (Unified System of Ground Classification), each 60 cm, according to the standard method, when using the TP can be known the support capacity but the sampling accomplishment is not possible. From the recovered samples the natural humidity is obtained, limits of Atterberg, graduation.

Franky, Babel Fish makes more sense than some of the first year associates with which I work.

I will not continue this exercises. The soil report looks very professional and complete. Once Guillermo and DatumZero have had an opportunity to work with the reports, I will let you know what they think and then make a recommendation to work, or not to work with this firm.

In the mean time, we press onwards, now working with a structural engineer to find new and creative ways to make a house that will not fall down.
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