Some thoughts on designing stairs, their function beyond mere circulation.
Project Updates , M. Gerwing Architects
Along with the projects under construction that we highlighted in the last post, we have a number of really interesting projects in various design phases.
The project image above is from an extensive remodel to a split-leve house in South Boulder. A number of different contractors are looking at the project and we hope to start construction in the next few weeks.
On the verge of submitting for building permits, we have two very different new single-family houses.
The first, below, is located on a steep mountainside just outside of the ski town of Breckinridge, Colorado. Angled against the surrounding topography, the house looks out across the valley to a panoramic view of the ski slopes and the Continental Divide.
A very different house, with a model image above, is being designed for a busy, corner location near downtown Boulder, Colorado within the Mapleton Hill Historic District. This project as gone through an extensive design review process with the city's Landmarks Board and is finally striking a strong balance between a contemporary expression and neighborhood compatibility.
A very different approach is being taken with a small, first-phase, design of a mountain house outside of Golden, Colorado. Designed for a young couple, the house is designed to be added on in the future, to expand as the family does and gradually take command of its dramatic site.
Finally, one of our most interesting projects is the design of a multi-generational house compound on a peach farm in Palisade, Colorado. The design envisions a larger house for the gathering of three sisters and their families along with a smaller cottage. Located alongside the main irrigation canal, the house ad cottage sits in an amazing bowl of space, a lush orchard surrounded by beautiful but harsh rocky mesas.
Project Updates, M. Gerwing Architects
As the summer comes to a close, we have a number of great project under construction in Boulder.
We are well under way with the tricky excavation below a 100-year old house on West Arapahoe. We will be placing the old brick house on a new concrete foundation and then constructing a new addition to the recently Landmarked property.
Framing is just starting on two projects in South Boulder. Above, a new second-story addition and two tower-like smaller additions are going to be added to a classic, 1960s ranch house, maintaining its mid-century form and subtle brick coursing.
Also in early framing is this house, below, alongside Martin Park in South Boulder. A large, traditional gable-front addition will more than double the size of the existing house and compliment its prominent corner location.
Finally, our carefully crafted large addition on Vassar Drive is coming to a close. The rails and stairs are being installed and final painting and details are being executed in anticipation of our client's move-in. This project has been a great collaboration between ourselves and the clients and we are really looking forward to seeing the house occupied and used as we have been dreaming of and working toward for many months.
Video - skylights as sundials
An all weather construction time-lapse camera is our newest office toy! We have grand plans to capture some outstanding construction progress videos in the future. But to get our feet wet with this new tech, we chose to record the peaceful progression of sunlight through the loft at our Upper Vassar Residence.
As Spring approaches with its usual companions of high winds and tantalizing warm days, we are busy ushering a number of projects to the building permit process. Land prices are so expensive here in Boulder, that the majority of our projects are renovations and additions, not new construction.
One of the major challenges of many of these projects is to integrate the new addition with the existing building. This is particularly complicated when the existing building is a smaller, simple ranch house that does not easily accommodate additional volume.
For older houses, a simple addition can be added to the rear or side of the existing structure and a small linking structure can knit the two together. This sets up a nice dialogue between new and old, street and yard, public and private spaces.
Some projects add such large additions, more than doubling the size of the existing building, that establishing a new-old dialogue is almost impossible and we try to find a new language for the entire property.
Hidden beneath, and within, these new designs are the vestiges of the typical 1960s builders suburban models - ranches, bi-levels and the dreaded tri-level. Refining and enlarging these structures for use for another 50 years usually means fine-tuning them for specific views and being significantly more precise regading the use of spaces within the house.
Carrying those ideas of refinement and craft through the construction makes each building unique for its site and owners. Construction details are smaller manifestations of the initial big design moves.