Full Steam Ahead

In case you haven’t heard, full steam ahead with prefab and All-American Homes! We submitted the deposit at the beginning of last week and are eagerly awaiting their drawings for review. After we received these and talk with them, I’ll update you on where things stand.

All-American Homes Factory...Impressive!

All-American Homes Factory…Impressive!

Keep your eyes and ears peeled as progress continues forward…more and more posts will happen as we near the start of construction! Get excited!

Factory Meeting

Prefab, Part 2

Hey everyone, we are taking another journey up to the All-American Homes factory today to talk further regarding the house, contracts, etc. Also, we will have the opportunity to see one of the new homes for Tryon Farm under construction. Looking forward to this. Look for some photos and an update soon!! The wheels are still in motion…getting closer.

tryon farm house

House at Tryon Farm

Building Blocks

It seems to be a good time to update everyone on what has been going on behind the scenes for my new home in Fountain Square.

As many of you know, the process of designing and building a new home is a challenging one, especially when dealing with many of the constraints of 955 Hosbrook, primarily being the lot size and budget constraints. But, as you know, I am a firm believer in designing compact, contemporary designs that don’t break the bank. As a result, I have been hard at work behind the scenes weighing options, tweaking design elements, exploring construction techniques, etc, etc.

One method of construction that has quickly moved to the forefront of options and is almost finalized in becoming the chosen method of construction for this house is prefab/modular construction. I have met with All-American Homes (factory in Decatur, IN), toured their factory, and been in numerous talks with them regarding my house. It just so happens, by the way, that the dimensions of my house lend themselves almost perfectly to their construction techniques.

While much of their work is more traditional in its aesthetics, they have certainly not ignored the contemporary housing market and have been involved in a few really interesting projects:

Michelle Kaufmann‘s Smart Home at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago:

smart home

 

Tryon Farm by Edward Noonan & Associates in Michigan City, IN:

tryon farm

As you can see, these projects lend themselves to a very similar aesthetic. We hope to be able to determine if this is our best direction in the very near future so we can then move forward and proceed with the start of construction.

Stay tuned! These are exciting times!

House Update

You may be wondering the status of the house as of late. We had to sort of take a short break and take the time to proceed through the variance process…which we were finally APPROVED for on Tuesday…after being continued for an extra month from September to October (due to requests from neighbors). This is quite exciting and really was a major hurdle we had to leap to take one step closer to construction!

photo(10)

For those of you who may not be familiar with the variance process, a variance is essentially asking the city to make an exception to the zoning code. In the case of 955 Hosbrook, a number of variances were essentially required in order to develop the property.

The current zoning code for the city was last updated in the 1960s, a time when society was in the midst of suburbanization and the automobile dominated culture. As a result, much of the zoning ordinances reflect this ideology. This means that the code is written with much more of a suburban mindset, often making it difficult to develop on small, urban infill lots…which is a really unfortunate side-effect of the zoning code.

The city, however, is very aware of this situation and is the process of re-writing much of the zoning code, in an effort know as Indy Rezone. This is definitely reassuring and I hope to see many of these issues addressed when the results of this effort are revealed.

As mentioned, the size of 955 Hosbrook essentially necessitated variances in order to be developed. Here is a quick breakdown of the variances that were required:

    • Square Footage:  The code specifies a specific first floor square footage minimum and this house does not meet that requirement. The house is 625 sf on the first floor and the requirement is 660 sf (not far off though).
    • Parking:  The code requires 2 parking spaces per single-family residence. This becomes extremely difficult on a 20′ lot, and the proposed design calls for a single car garage.
    • Open Space:  A minimum of 55% open space is required. The proposed design has a net area of 43% open space.
    •  Setbacks: The code has specific requirements for setbacks from the property lines, with the sides being a minimum of 4′ (10′ aggregate), rear being 15′ for the primary structure, and the front setback being 25′ or dictated by average setback along the surrounding block. This proved to be the most contentious variance request with the surrounding neighbors. However, the house design simply took cues from the surrounding neighborhood, with many homes exhibiting the proposed setbacks the house design was seeking. In fact, the scale of the house will fit in better with the neighborhood with the variances than it would have without these, making it an argument of context. As a result, the staff gave full support to all of the requested variances.

So, now that we’ve cleared this hurdle, we can focus on the completion of documents, pricing, and starting construction. We hope to begin construction before winter really sets in. Stay tuned…we are getting closer and closer!

Casework Elevation

Here is the current proposed elevation of the continuous line of casework along the west interior wall of the house. As you can see, this wall serves many of the functions of the house, including: coat closet, pantry, kitchen, tv/entertainment, computer and desk workspace, mudroom storage off garage entry, wardrobe closet, laundry, bookcases and shelving, and built-in window seat.

Interior Elevation

House Elevations

Here are the promised exterior elevations/views of the house (for the most part). Check them out and let me know your thoughts.

The overall design of the house is very much driven by simplicity, taking a simple geometric form and manipulating it through a set of moves. As a result, the exterior design strategy reflects this same language and responds to this same strategy.

As mentioned in the previous post, the design of the house inherently becomes very linear in nature, due to the narrowness of the lot. As a result, the exterior material strategy responds to this condition, reacting to the linear nature while also reinforcing it in certain ways.

The material palette is limited, reflecting the minimal nature of the house. The materials currently being explored include: metal, fiber cement, wood, and perforated metal.

Northwest View

The primary exterior cladding is a vertical metal panel. The vertical nature of the panel responds to the linear condition of the house, not necessarily in opposition to it, but does serve to soften the length of the home and also provides a sense of verticality and scale to the house.

The secondary material is fiber cement lap siding and panel siding, a material very common in residential architecture. The horizontal nature of the lap siding serves as a strong contrast to the verticality of the metal, while still being subtle in nature, due to its dark color. The introduction of this material also serves as an opportunity to break down the exterior, providing moments of relieve from the primary cladding material and creating a sense of patterning on the facade. The panels give the sensation of the windows pushing down from above, up from below, or wrapping around the corner. This provides a sense of movement, activating the exterior.

The third material is wood. The introduction of wood at the recessed/carved out portions of the house serves to provide a sense of texture at the human scale. The wood is introduced at the recessed front entry and at the courtyard carved out between the garage and main house. These spaces are moments where the human scale is important, as they are moments of constant interaction and the wood provides that sense of warmth at these key moments where the user continuously interacts with the house.

The final material is a perforated metal. This metal serves as a sort of screen wall at the front entry. This entry is defined by the carving out of space, revealing the wood material, and the metal screen wall occupies the western edge of this entry porch. The perforations in the metal allow for a transparency through the space and a lightness to the space but still serve to define the front entry visually. Further, the perforations allow for the opportunity to use the material as a climbing surface, allowing vegetation to interact with the wall surface and also to soften this front entry.

North Elevation

East Elevation WestElevation