One of our fist projects, even before we graduated, was to gut and redesign the Jordan Residence. Although the entire home was remodeled, the following projects highlight the work done.
The original ceiling was so low, you could hit your head on the light fixtures. The exposed concrete walls and poorly sealed exterior door left the room smelling stagnant. The ceiling was raised 18 inches by consolidating a few air ducts, creating one central chase. Over the fireplace, the same hardwood used on the floor was used on the ceiling, wrapping a band of white walls around the main entertaining space. The walls were sealed, insulated and covered. A new, watertight entrance was installed leading out to the side yard.
The existing bathroom was full of superfluous walls and doors that cluttered a small space, making it seem even smaller. By removing all the non essential walls and raising the ceiling height by two feet, the dark crowded original bathroom was made much bigger and felt more open.
The natural daylight flooding the shower stall from above, then reflecting off the white marble walls and floor, provides ample light during the day, minimizing the need for additional artificial augmentation.
This project was a blast. The cottage was a foreclosure and was filled with problems. DADEM Studios acted as sole designer, general contractor and project manager. We were also the only two contractors to work on the interior. We basically moved in and two months of hard work later, turned the keys over to the new owner. It was very satisfying to see the project unfold each day and work closely with the owners to develop this cottage into their dream house.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this standard. LEED is like the Prius of architecture buildings. It’s a step in the right direction and provides a list of requirements to fulfill in order to qualify for a graduated rating of the buildings performance. It is definitely an improvement in the practice, but falls short by maximizing the efficiency of dated technology.
The “Living Building Challenge” is a newer standard with a vastly different core value. It is more like selling your Prius and riding your bike. Its goal is to have buildings that produce no waste and no emissions. Creating structures with a lifecycle — meaning they have zero sum total waste in the life of the building, and also the materials used in it, the transportation of the materials to the site and how they will be used after the building's life has come to an end.
It seems impossible to have a conversation about changing the world through architecture without Cameron Sinclair popping up in the conversation. His organization, "Architecture of Humanity” has empowered thousands of communities around the world and has changed the lives of millions. Although the organization has passed it’s prime, his work continues though his new venture, “Small Works”. Leaders of this calibre leave large shoes to fill. However, he has mapped a path to follow and enlightened the world to the potential of this genre of design solutions.