Walk The Line

aah visit

Last week we had the opportunity to go to the factory and see the house on the line. I have to admit, it’s pretty exciting to see things in person and have the ability to walk through the home while it’s on the assembly line. It takes things to a whole new level.

The house is progressing nicely and should be wrapping up production at the factory soon. The opportunity to walk through a space less than 15′-0″ wide really served as a reminder to the scale of the home…in a really positive way. The home lives larger than it feels and this gave us a good sense of how the spaces will truly feel. Needless to say…we are really excited to see these modules show up on site.

aah visit 2

The walkthrough of the house also served as a reminder to the true value of prefabricated home construction. The factory conditions are clean and organized. Workers don’t have to contend with weather or various other site conditions, definitely a positive in my book. We’ll be sharing plenty of pictures and updates as the house really comes together. Stay tuned.

aah visit 3

 

Take the Leap

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Yes, its true. 

This week marks the start of a brand new business venture, one that has been a long time coming and one that affords me the opportunity to pursue concepts and practices in architecture I have been passionate about for quite some time.

Neon Architecture. Yes, Neon Architecture. Why Neon? Why not? Neon exemplifies and represents much of what we are striving for. To stand out. To be bold. To go against the norm. To challenge the status quo.

The modern lifestyle of today is much different than it was even 3 or 5 years ago and its our responsibility as designers and builders to respond to this shifting trend and to do so in a thoughtful, conscientious, well-designed manner.

People want to live in cities. People want to live in urban environments. People want to live in homes that reflect their lifestyle and reflect the way they truly live, from the quality of space to its size to its relationship to the outdoors. They want smart spaces; spaces that are efficient and useful; spaces that they can live in and grow in.

As many of you are aware, 955 Hosbrook is the first house we are executing. It is the prototype for our foray into both the design and construction world. It represents many of these ideals mentioned above and serves as a benchmark for our future development.

955 Hosbrook - site of initial prefab home

955 Hosbrook – site of initial prefab home

955 Hosbrook is built by prefab (modular) methods, meaning it’s primarily built in a controlled, factory setting. Why, you might ask? Prefabricated homes simply afford a greater level of control and precision, being built outside of the elements in a controlled environment with a streamlined process. To us, it just makes sense. The prefabricated, factory built model is a better use of resources, taking advantage of the industry and producing a better built home. We design it, the factory builds it, you buy it. Simplify the process, simplify the product, tailor it to the 21st century…I think you get it.

So, if you, or someone you know, wants a pretty sweet little home…now you know where to look! Ha, but seriously, we feel that designers and builders have genuinely been hesitant to touch this market and this demographic. We can’t continue to do so…and…frankly…why would we want to neglect the way people live today and continue to give them the same home we saw 15 years ago? I know we, at Neon Architecture, don’t think that’s the responsible way to work in the world today.

955 Hosbrook is under construction in the factory and things are in the works. Site work is commencing and, before you know it, the crane will be rolling down the street to set the home…these are exciting times. We are continuing to acquire lots for building and are in the early design stages for future homes to build this year. We’ve got a lot in the works and would love for all of you to come along for the ride.

So, stay tuned for lots and lots of new info in the coming days and weeks. We will soon have a fully operational website where we will be transitioning much of this blog as well as tons of other great info. Let’s do it!

Architects’ Home Tour

All, I am chairing the 2014 AIA Architects’ Home Tour. The event is a bi-annual tour which showcases architect designed homes in Indianapolis.

One 10 Studio

One 10 Studio – Chatham Arch

This year’s tour is a bit unique, in that it focuses on homes in the city and homes in distinct Indianapolis neighborhoods. You’ll find homes in Fountain Square, Chatham Arch, Cottage Home, Herron Morton, Glendale, Broad Ripple, and Butler Tarkington.

To me, the tour is a great opportunity for the general public to see what an architect designed home looks like and to better understand the value that architects bring to the residential world. The tour showcases the ability of architects to bring creative, unique solutions to the house.

If you enjoy this blog and enjoy the work happening here, you most certainly will enjoy the tour. Please check out our website for more info, a sneak peak of all the homes, and to purchase tickets.

Architects’ Home Tour

Also, we are planning a film screening the Friday night before the tour. Keep your eyes and ears open regarding this!

AIA_ArchTour_072014_A0082

Demerly Architects – Broad Ripple

 

 

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!