I am very excited to be working on a new house project for a couple who lost their house in the recent Fourmile Canyon fire just west of Boulder. I feel deeply for their loss - years of mementos, photos, etc. all lost, not to mention the house itself, the repository of years of memories and events. So it is kind of odd for me to be happy working on a project that stems, to some extent, from a great sadness. But I can't help it, I love to make buildings, to sit down with folks, listen to their stories, their dreams and thoughts and try to give form to those explicit and implicit desires.
The design we are working on tries to balance the centrifugal forces that are directed toward magnificent mountain panoramic views with the centripetal forces that focus on a courtyard and the internal landscape of the house.
These are some relatively early views of SketchUp model of the project. SketchUp is a great tool and its integration with Google Earth allows us to upload the model and place it in the actual topography and verify view corridors to specific sites - in this case, a distant view east to Denver and extensive views west and south to the mountains.
While I would probably never give up the tools of physical models, sketches, plans, etc., the use of SketchUp is a powerful tool that might tempt one away from such traditional design methods. It can in fact be a bit difficult to remember that even though we can make a fully rendered model of the project that we can walk through, view furniture and the light streaming in, that we have not completed the design of the project. We may have crafted the space and maybe even captured some of the touch and feel of the building, but we hardly even touched the larger and more difficult task of detailing the structure. Every eave, every handrail, every window mutin has yet to be drawn and studied. As my friend David Leary says, it's a marathon, not a sprint.