I have been sorting through old pictures today and found some nice pictures of architectural plants that I collected.
Posts Tagged ‘landscape’
I was very happy to see this recent project full of people enjoying the newly connected living spaces and yard. The owners also built several nice cabinets and shelving themselves. These are just phone snapshots of the space…..and yes it does look like they might need a new couch at some point. Turned out great! (Thanks Berkeley Craftsman)
I did these sketches a while back for a client who wanted to divide a shared yard and create more privacy
Appraisals make me grumpy. It seems brutal to reduce the value of a house to square footage, numbers of bedrooms, and whether the bathroom floor has tile. There are so many intangibles that contribute to the value of a house. For example the two large trees in front of my house that shade my bedroom in the summer with their dense greenery then turn bright orange yellow and red in the fall. Of course there has to be some way to quantify a house’s worth for banks.
One guideline that seems pretty silly is the rule that square footage that is even slightly below grade is not counted as square footage. This realestate agent’s article has some funny comments. One guy actually seems to have hired a bulldozer to unearth his house so that he could qualify for a loan. Another homeowner determined that he has no square footage because his entire house is dug into the earth.
I thought of one of the inspirations of my youth, Malcolm Wells. He was an architect in Massachusetts who built most of his buildings underground. Here are some of his words about this way of building (from his website):
“…By letting our structure hog all the sunlight wherever we go, we stamp out much of the natural riches of our land. Weather is not kind to building materials. They need to be protected by a blanket of earth. Otherwise, ice cracks the freeways, water rusts bridge structures, floods rage because water cannot soak into impervious ground….”
“…We live in an era of glitzy buildings and trophy houses: big, ugly, show-off monsters that stand—or I should say stomp—on land stripped bare by the construction work and replanted with toxic green lawns. If the buildings could talk they would be speechless with embarrassment, but most of us see nothing wrong with them, and would, given the opportunity, build others like them, for few of us realize that there’s a gentler way to build. It’s called underground.”
Built into a valley with steep hills all around, Bisbee has very interesting sectional properties (archi-speak for lots of level changes and three dimensional relationships between structures and spaces.) Every view is slightly different and the absence of significant trees makes the effects of the topography more dramatic. In addition to the elevation changes the curving streets make things even more picturesque.
I am going to treat you to a few days of pictures of this creative and historic town in Southeast Arizona. I climbed the hills in the late afternoon and enjoyed stunning views of the coppery mountains with houses in sun and shadow. This first series captures some of the colors. As you can see, turquoise and green are popular colors. Warm, rich reds, yellows, and oranges also are common choices. Even the hills are many different colors. Some are vivid rusty red-orange, and others are a less flashy brown with green shrubs dominating the pallet.
This was a collaboration with Matt Hornby Garden Design and Construction.
It wasn’t hard to improve upon the existing decks and yard, but the budget was a challenge.
These are before photos of the deck and yard:
So the idea was to make the upper deck just big enough for a couple to sit and enjoy the evening, and to make a nice big lower level deck. the structure supporting the upper deck and the upper deck itself will help to create zones for different sorts of outdoor living. There is also a patio and a lot of garden that doesn’t appear in the sketch model.
Now I’ll have to go back and visit to get some more photos of the finished project.