Monday, January 23, 2012

Interior walls, roof drain, porch roof, windows, etc., etc.

Yep, quite a wide variety of work has been going on since my last post. Interior wall studs and door frames have been done for a while:

These are views from the bathroom in the back corner, looking towards bedrooms and the courtyard. All major interior walls sit directly below 4x12 beams and between steel columns.

Also part of this work was adding 1/2 inch ipe (an exotic dark wood) strips at all these connections with beams and columns. This detail will be visible in the finished house.

The idea for this detail started as a way to fill the gap between the bottom of the beam and the top of the wall - created by the 1/2 inch steel plate that holds the beams. Then it became a theme that I carried down the columns as well - a simple visual transition from one building element to another.

This is my favorite detail with the ipe - a "cross" where the ipe is seen running up both sides of the column and then carried out in both directions by the steel flange under the beams.

I like that you can look in through a window and see a skylight and the sunny courtyard beyond. I'm noticing lots of these kinds of "transparencies" in this house. Here's another:

This is looking from a north window through the Great Room, through the opposite window in the Great Room, through the entire courtyard, through the (future) glass wall, through a bedroom, and finally through the bedroom window to the trees on the opposite side of the house. When the house is complete (and the curtains are open in the bedroom) this view will still be there.

Now back up to the roof.

The gutters and membrane are complete. As I mentioned in the last post, I intend to put wood decking over this membrane, but if it takes me a while to get to that, the white color of this roofing will do a great job of reflecting the sun's heat and reducing my power bills. The roofers are currently installing the corrugated metal panels to the inside of these parapet walls.

This is the roof drain that handles the water just on the Great Room roof. Show me another house that has a roof drain and I'll... well, it's pretty rare. This house wasn't even going to have one, until I told my roofer my plan for getting water off of this part of the roof, and he said it wouldn't work. I decided to defer my 0 years of roofing experience to his 30.

The drain is located at the center of the east side of the skylight. The internal gutter for this part of the house wraps around the skylight and is carried by the drain down a pipe through the attic space and through the rear brick wall.

Well, someday that will happen. The roofing and gutter here are actually done now, but my very busy plumber has not been able to come out yet to install the pipe. So when it rains water just pours through the drain onto my Great Room floor. Which is concrete at the moment, so no big deal.

The porch roof will be corrugated metal, which required 2x3 wood "stripping" on top of the joists, seen here. I didn't anticipate needing these, but they look pretty cool. I centered them over the columns, with a space in the center - of course.

And finally, the first work of 2012: windows.

The operable window units are all in now; the glass wall facing the courtyard is currently being fabricated in the shop, and the fixed windows for the stone wall are on order. Shown here are the units in north wall of the Great Room. As you can probably guess from looking at them, these are commercial grade, aluminum-framed windows. I went through a long process before finally settling on these. My goal of using all-natural materials made this decision especially difficult. The cheapest windows of course are vinyl. No way. How about all wood windows, with exposed wood on the interior and exterior? Exorbitant. So I thought of aluminum, which would match the exposed metal theme I have running through the rest of the house. But for those I had to look away from the residential market. These aluminum casement windows with double pane insulated glass turned out to be a lot less expensive than residential wood windows - and better performing.

Here's that north to south transparency I showed before, now with a reflection.

I think the glass on these windows is a full 1" thick, by the look and feel of it when opened. One benefit of casements is that you get twice as much ventilation compared with a typical double-hung, where only half the window can be opened. And oh yeah, because I have been bitten by mosquitos in January on this site, there WILL be screens on the outside of all operable windows.

This is the fixed east window in the Great Room. The frame is so narrow it's hard to tell there's a window unit there at all. I like that. This is the window I intend to cover with some sort of translucent "rose window" to glow as the sun rises.

The windows in the wood walls, facing the rear and sides of the site, are exactly half the height of those in the Great Room. This height off the floor works for the kitchen and bathroom, as well as the bedrooms. All these windows are awaiting sealant around the edges, of course.

A lot of these windows were installed swinging the wrong way (opposite what my plans show) - in fact most of them, including this one. I pointed this out and all have been fixed except for one; apparently a mistake was made in the order.

Flashing tape was put around the wood window frames before windows were installed.

This part of the house has always reminded me of a train car, even more now with these small horizontal windows. This is appropriate given my concept for this part of the house as something in motion, growing and becoming - especially along the earth, horizontally. The horizontal wood siding planned for these walls will only strengthen this expression. Contrast this with Great Room's tall vertical windows, and brick walls capped with a filigree that rejects the horizontal line.

Of course I had to get myself reflected in my new glass, with the courtyard in the background.

I was surprised that I could see this much of the house from my neighbor's yard. I think almost none of it is visible from here in summer. I like seeing the southwest corner of the porch from here.

A porch that is open on the sides as well as the front (and on ground level) seems especially inviting. In this case the porch invites you not just to step up to a platform along a front wall, but offers a path back to where the house wraps around you, and along a clear glass wall looking into kitchen and halls. Is this a way architecture can express vulnerability?