Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Charette Weekend

Wall Sections!!!

So we spent the past weekend holed up in the glass corner charetting and trying to make some real decisions about the project. Saturday we played out some options of penthouse, greenhouse and roof-structure versions and tried to figure out what exactly the building code would allow us with the different designations or combinations of the three. We ended up deciding to move forward with the assumption that we are building a 'Penthouse' and that it would be fully enclosed with heat, sprinklers, etc. The 4 season use is really important to us so we tried to develop the project in a way that it would be possible to use the space even in the winter. We also took a first shot at making some wall sections and thinking about exactly what sort of materials and structure we are using.

the crew, filling in the 'Matrix of Desires'

Jon, Ralphie, Star and Margot.

Sunday was about executing the scheme in 1/2" scale model and sections / structural drawings. We also tried to generate some cost breakdowns based on the wall sandwiches and structural systems. The first version we put together was a very standard sheathing / steel stud / gypsum board wall with a steel W beam structure (to hold up the PV roof). Star did a preliminary sizing on all the steel W's and we ended up with some pretty deep beams unfortunately: W18s for the ceiling and the floor girders and W12s for the floor joists. The girders span 25' because for a bunch of reasons we decided to drop point loads on the bearing walls below the roof (instead of sitting right on the roof planks). We used this section to generate some rough costs for the enclosure and we came out around $150/sf which i think sounds about right.
Version 1: Ranchtacular

Our second version was a shot at something a little more 'architectural' which exposes the structure on the inside and uses a much lighter hung panel facade. We also tried a very different method of touching the roof plank on this version as well. We decided to use a steel deck and poured concrete 'spread footing' as a way of dispersing the load of the columns so that we don't have to drop them right over the bearing walls below. This also allowed us to keep the interior floor plane flush with the outside - eliminating the ramp that we would have needed if we were using the 18" deep beams like on version 1. There are still lots of problems with this system (insulation, drainage, etc.) but it was good to get a first draft down on paper.

Version 2: spread footings and wall panels

1/2" scale model after some . . . 'editing'

Yesterday we met with David and talked through all the crazy stuff we generated over the weekend. We have a 'Working Pin-Up' with Stephen and Anne tomorrow to show them where we are at in advance of the mid-review next week. It'll be good to meet with them in a little more relaxed setting and hopefully they will be happy with the direction we are moving. Since the nature of the enclosure core is still really unresolved, we split up into 3 groups today to test a couple different ideas that had been floating around. Johnny, Paul, Jason and myself tested the core as a 'Roof-Structure' rather than a 'Penthouse' (the level of enclosure is the difference: in a roof-structure you have to have more than 80% of the surfaces 'open'). So it was primarily about working with the roof structure and trying to integrate the PV panels in a more exciting way than just slapping them on top of an already existing roof plane.

Its getting somewhere I guess. We are all meeting tomorrow at noon after our morning class to do some designing and to get the 1/2" scale model to a place where it can communicate what we're up to to Stephen and Anne who are coming in at 4. Anyway - right now I have to go finish up drawings for Construction Tech tomorrow morning so I should get back to it.

P.S. Jon got the official Design Workshop website up and running this weekend as well and i think it looks great. Go see it!! Theres an awesome time-lapse animation in 'week 8':

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