Foundation Work

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The foundation work has been underway this week and will be done by the end of the week. Block work started on Monday, insulation work was yesterday, and, weather permitting, they should be wrapping up the remainder of the work by the end of this work. Guess what this means?? Yep! The house will be delivered and set next week. We are quickly going to go from nothing to a two story structure in a matter of days. Ah…the beauty of prefab.

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955_foundation_3

As you can see, we opted for a crawl space on this house. This was partially driven by economics and also by the prefab process. When working with prefab homes, you have to go with either a crawl space or a basement, as a slab-on-grade simply won’t work. This is because of the way prefab homes are manufactured. In order to build walls (both interior and exterior), you need a floor structure on which to build them in the factory. This necessitates building the floor structure in the factory. As a result, a slab-on-grade simply would not work.

We will wait to do any concrete pours (the garage, garage apron, front porch, sidewalk) until after the house gets set. By the end of next week, the site is going to look dramatically different. Keep your eyes open and look for the crane mid week next week!

 

 

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!

New Lot Location

As you may or may not remember, I had previously mentioned I was in the process of purchasing a vacant lot on Lexington Street in Fountain Square. After unforeseen circumstances involving existing unpaid demo fees on that lot, the brokerage firm was unable to sell the lot. As a result of this, I was forced to move on and continue the search for a suitable lot for my own house in Fountain Square.

This search for a vacant piece of property in Fountain Square has not necessarily been an easy one. Vacant lots on the open market are few and far between, so I’ve found it takes a little more digging and determination to find a piece of property. Alas, I have discovered my lot (a fantastic one…I might add), and the quest to build my own home continues.

The new lot location is on the west end of Hosbrook (955 Hosbrook) and is quite unique to Indianapolis (not 100% unique to Fountain Square though). Why is it unique? Simply put, it’s 1600 square feet. Yes, 1600 square feet for the entire lot (it seems many of the homes built today have a footprint of 1600 square feet, let alone the entire lot being this size).

955 Hosbrook

955 Hosbrook - Close

Now, you may be wondering why I would be so interested and committed to building on such a small piece of property, but really, there are plenty of reasons to justify the lot.

The location is great.

The property shares an alley with the north side of Virginia Ave, meaning I am adjacent to the main commercial drag in the neighborhood. This means quick access to restaurants, bars, art galleries, the cultural trail, etc. I think you get it. All of the reasons Fountain Square is so great. It’s a completely walkable neighborhood, and this lot takes full advantage of this fact.

The view is great.

Because of the wonderful introduction of the interstate system through downtown Indianapolis (this is obviously sarcasm here), This property ends up with an uninterrupted view of downtown Indy (not dissimilar from the Shelby Street house). Further, you get nice views up Virginia Ave into Fletcher Place and Holy Rosary as well.

(Google Street View will have to do for the moment)

(Google Street View will have to do for the moment)

The neighborhood is great.

Fountain Square is definitely on the upswing, the residential areas are no different. This lot on Hosbrook actually sits within the small hood known as North Square. It’s a really great location as North Square has a small but active neighborhood association and has a great mix of people in the neighborhood. Also, it’s great to see the mix of architectural styles in the neighborhood and openness to new and contemporary ideas about home design.

The lot essentially forces the belief in house size and scale.

To me, this is by far the number one reason I love this lot. It’s a 20 foot wide lot (give or take a couple feet…waiting on the official survey), something not often seen in the flat and sprawling city of Indianapolis. Fountain Square, however, has a much higher concentration of these 20′ lots than most other parts of the city. Much of Fountain Square developed as a more working class neighborhood, resulting in much more modest homes, and often modest meant smaller in scale. As a result, the shotgun house typology was one often turned to for new homes in the neighborhood, and these were most often built on 20′ lots.

Further, not only is the lot narrow, it’s shallow (less than 80′ deep). Because of the way the street grid works, with Virginia being one of the four spokes out from Monument Circle, you end up this narrowing condition as one moves west along Hosbrook Street, each lot becoming shallower and shallower. This lot being at the west end of the street, is one of the shallowest lots on the street, and probably within the entire neighborhood.

I actually love these constraints. I often find the constraints open up new ways of thinking about design. They force us into a set of parameters, and these parameters are foreign to our typical day to day design processes. As a result, the design will necessarily be specific to its location and given condition, and will take advantage of these constraints (these constraints become opportunities to re-imagine the house and re-envision it).

It is my hope that with this house we can continue the discussion on how we live and how size factors into this. We have become so much a society built on material goods, constantly bombarded with advertising, products, electronics, etc. While I am not much different from the average person and often fascinated by many of these products, I want this house to be a testament to a smaller, more simple way of living, stripping the house of much of its unnecessary square footage and better understanding how to efficiently use space.

As you probably already guessed, I have been hard at work scheming away, and am definitely liking the direction the design is going. There are a number of factors at play with the design, beyond its site, including cost, materiality, form, scale, size, etc. As I continue to work through these schematics I will most definitely share these with you. Look for some plans in a few days (as I am almost set on their direction).

2013…

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Well…it’s the start of a new year.  Thanks to everyone who has followed this blog throughout 2012 and been a part of the crazy ride that is 701 Shelby.  It has definitely seen it’s share of ups and downs but it has most definitely all been worth it.

I apologize for the lack of posts for some time now…this will be remedied in 2013.  Here are a few quick updates on 701 Shelby:

  • Most work at 701 has been completed.  At this point, it is primarily furnishing and minor interior work to be done.  This has included the installation of the wardrobe closet, bathroom storage, sliding barn doors, window coverings, furniture, etc…A recap of the the house in general is due and will presented in the near future.
  • My brother, Patrick, has now moved into the house and has been living there for about a month.
  • In regards to interior furnishings…I will be featuring a few posts detailing a few of the furniture pieces in the house, as a couple of the pieces were done by myself and also the work of a few friends.
  • Interior Pictures will be posted as they become available…this has been somewhat delayed simply by the moving-in process and waiting for things to get to a more finished state.
  • Landscape work will not begin until spring breaks, but there will be much discussion on this as well…as it is a very important aspect of the home.  There has always been a strong intent to merge interior and exterior, nature and house.

As a result of the house being occupied, this blog will also slowly begin to evolve into more than just a blog about 701 Shelby.  It will delve into other design related topics, including the discussion and featuring of all things design related, with a focus on the local Indianapolis and Midwest community.

If you have suggestions on what you would like to see this blog bring in 2013, feel free to leave some comments.  This is a great opportunity to help shape the future of urbanhomeINDY and it’s direction and would be very valuable.  As the blog is titled, urbanhomeINDY, it seems fairly obvious that the blog should have a focus on things urban related, things home related, and things Indy related. This is what you will begin to see more of. Here are a few potentials for what might appear on urbanhomeINDY in 2013:

  • Design discussion/reviews of new architectural works in Indianapolis and the Midwest.
  • Discussion on residential design, inspiration, key projects worth seeing, etc.
  • Periodic featuring of local designers and their work
  • Discussion/calendar of design related events
  • Periodic analysis/discussion on existing urban conditions in Indianapolis and the Midwest and opportunities for unique interventions from both the architecture and design communities

Any thoughts or wishes???