Thursday, January 28, 2010

Early Design Phases - The Plans 1

The design of the house evolved over the three months between the purchase of the land and our return to Rwanda. Following the ideas as laid out in The Brief and Material Selection we experimented with different layouts and feels for the house. The front runner for a lot of the process was a two part house that consisted of a shed roofed front house containing the living areas and master suite, and a gabled roof back house with the remaining bedrooms and storage.

Valley side elevation, showing master suite, lving area, and porch
Overall floor plan with telephone-pole rafters visible over the front house. 
Interior of Living area looking out over the valley

The layout allowed for phased building because the front house could be lived in while the back was being finished and kept the overall size of each roof relatively small. It made good use of the sites valley views, and despite the dramatic valley side elevation, the road side was discrete and fitting. unfortunately this design does have some weakness:
  1. Excessive solar gain -  those large windows pulling in the view, also face NW  so by the time we added enough shading, the dramatic effect of the windows is lost.
  2. Weather Proofing – the shed roof faced towards the weather, and windows here have a tendency to leak. plus the detail between the lip of the roof and the top of the windows also looks like a weak point.
  3. A Little Too Separate – while guest would potentially appreciate their own space in the back house, the reality is, as a house for our future young family, the 2am feeds and nightmare banishing would require trekking out to the other building, an idea that we don’t relish.
  4. Site Gradient – the back house runs up the slope of the site, this mean that for that little skinny building, we would have to climb half a flight of stairs and throw down a lot of foundation to make it level. this became even more of a problem once we took a closer look at the land – an old foundation created a steep bank at the top of the property halfway through where the back house would have been.
We had a lot of solutions for these various issues but eventually our dissatisfaction drove us to try afresh.

No comments:

Post a Comment