Construction is well under way on a complete renovation and second story addition to a simple South Boulder ranch house. The original house is a simple, 1,200 sf, single-story rectangular box with a simple, single gabled roof.
We haven't added new blog posts in quite a while as we have been more than ordinarily busy with a new joint venture - ACI design/build. Jim Walker and I have been friends since our Chicago-days, now almost 16 years ago. Jim is also an architect and he has spent many years with New York architecture firms doing design/build work as the on-site architect and construction manager. In the same capacity, he and I have done a number of projects over the years both here in Colorado as well as in Chicago. Now our occasional collaboration is a full-time occupation embodied in ACI. While M. Gerwing Architects still exists and works with a number of excellent local contractors, some of our projects will be joint ventures with ACI as both design and construction professionals.
The design/build process offers some unique advantages over the traditional architect-and-contractor process. The communication and coordination is certainly streamlined as is the process of designing, detailing and documenting a project. This realizes significant savings for our clients and makes the process much more rewarding for ourselves, being able to spend more time on design and less on paperwork.
For as interesting as design/build is, there are limitations. Very large or significantly complex projects benefit from the long experience and solid focus of an experienced general contractor. And, for my part, I have learned so much from general contractors over the years that I would never give up using that more traditional process for many of my projects.
We spend a lot of time custom designing a project for clients. We avidly search through the project to find the unique aspects of the client and the site to highlight these issues and create tailored projects. However, we don't often adjust our process to the needs of our clients. We are the experts at that process and we often bend each client and project into that form. I think now, with the addition of ACI, we have options we can present to our clients for not just the design of the project, but the process to get there as well.
It has been a very busy number of weeks here with quite a few projects in construction and a few in development stages. The postings to this blog have been few, but the activity here has been breakneck. The project shown above, in South Boulder, has been moving along and is another joint venture, design/build effort with ACI. The project consists of the almost complete renovation of the main level and the addition of a second story. An extremely tight set of constraints from our local Solar Shadow ordinance and Bulk Plane requirements largely determined the only possible location for the second story and we worked diligently to integrate the new and old and avoid the "wedding cake" look of stacked levels so common with second story additions.
Shown above, the new house we have under construction in North Boulder's Dakota Ridge neighborhood has passed the half-way point. Built by Cottonwood Custom Builders, it is coming together nicely and with the installation of final finishes we are getting our first glimpses of final building held in our imaginations for so long.
The model images above are from a project in development as we are getting ready to submit documents to the County for approvals. It is a cabin renovation and addition in the mountains west of Lyons, Colorado for a couple's use as a vacation home. The new work on the existing building consists of a series of slightly skewed additions and a writer's shack that re-orient the building to views of the Twin Sisters mountains outside of Estes Park.
Also in development we have a new house for a young couple in the foothills of Boulder, Colorado. Facing the challenges of an extremely steep site, this project's design has been a careful study in carving out space for living on the slope while minimizing impacts as much as possible.
The interior model view shown above is for a project with the exact opposite site conditions as the previous project. This project is a newly constructed hunting lodge on the flat, damp banks of a large lake in southern Minnesota. We have been studying old photos and documents to glean the essential characteristics of these traditional hunting camps and the vernacular architecture of the prairie.
The last update I will throw at you is the recently commenced construction for a house in Boulder, Colorado partially constructed from shipping containers. This project has just broken ground and delivery of the first 53 foot long container will soon take place. Our client's desire to build as sustainably as possible along with severe site constraints suggested the use of the shipping containers and it is very exciting to see this innovation finally get a try-out here in Boulder.