Exploring eames house

Some inspiration for innovation: 
Charles and Ray Eames designed one of the most iconic homes of the Twentieth Century and this video offers a delightful tour of not only the home, but their process too. To find our more visit the Eames Foundation website on http://eamesfoundation.org/

Step 1 – the accommodation schedule overview

A key mistake made by many (architect and owner alike) is to focus on the aesthetic elements of the home first. Whilst this is an important aspect of any home design, it should not be the initial step. 

Ideally, the initial step should focus fundamentally on confirming the function of the home – this comprises generating an accommodation schedule that lists the number of rooms and the different functions you need to accommodate in the home. Traditionally, this would take the form of anything from a two to six bedroom house for a single person, a couple or a family.

This primary step is the accommodation schedule as derived by the architectural brief; it captures how you would like to live in your house, what your needs and daily rituals are, who will be living there, and what your short, medium and long term plans may be. The accommodation schedule forms the backbone of the practical requirements for the house from which a programme is only then derived to form the basis of design.  If something is designed well, it works well. So it is critical to confirm how the house must work – and only then delve into how it will look.

click here to read step 1’s full: 
principles,  options,  solutions  &  conclusions

The complexity called for in this type of architectural brief usually results in a synergy of what can be seen as competing ideas; Art and Science, Idea and Practice, Aesthetic and Function. It is this complexity that makes the iterative exploration of concepts, innovative and inspiring architecture. Before our architectural concept was even considered, we needed to understand what we wanted and needed out of the house we were planning to build. 

Step 1 – principles

1] Understand what the house needs to be by setting up a detailed accommodation schedule that lists all the rooms, facilities, amenities and spatial requirements for the house.

                               Family + Current Needs = Accommodation Schedule

2] Traditionally, an accommodation schedule is determined by the needs of a client at a specific point in time, with little room for future change (you would need to buy a new house or conduct extensive renovations to adapt the home to your new lifestyle).

Stand 47 has considered this principle by addressing multiple uses and users over the lifetime of a house. This opens the house up to multiple markets and the inherent flexibility decreases the costs involved in having to renovate in future. By designing the home with more adaptation possibilities, we improve the design and construction efficiency, which is our overarching concept. This way the house is adapted over time to different users and their needs without compromising the integrity of the house, nor wasting energy in altering it.

             20 (Families) + Changing needs = Stand 47 Accommodation Schedule

Stand 47’s accommodation schedule is to have a flexible and adaptable living zone, so that 2 bedrooms can easily become four or a living area can be divided into a lounge and family room without affecting the home through extensive renovations.

Step 1 – solutions and conclutions

Our core idea is to keep functional service areas fixed, while the living areas remain dynamic and adaptable. To do this, the flexible living space’s ceiling and floor become continuous and fixed surfaces (that hold the interior space together) while the walls become the flexible surfaces which can be moved to alternative positions on a grid with minimum effort to adapt room sizes to the changing uses and future users. Therefore, when walls are moved there is no need to make changes or leave marks on the floor or the ceiling, thereby further lowering long-term costs.

1.     Generate a clear accommodation schedule & brief.
2.     Identify an architect that can develop or refine the overarching concept.
3.     The Stand 47 concept is cited within a manifesto that calls for:
        –      Efficiency
        –      Multi-functional elements (fluid divisions that can have more than one function)
        –      Flexibility in the design to allow interiors to be adapted without compromising the home
        –      Open plan (flowing and overlapping spaces)
        –      Zoning (fixed service versus flexible living spaces)
        –      Continuity (of the ceiling and floor surfaces)
        –      Simplicity 
4.     Available options: flexibility, fixed elements, grid, lightweight vs, permanent construction.
5.     Look at various technical solutions available to achieve this.

Step 1 – options

1] There are various ways of building flexibility into the accommodation requirements of a home. Indiscriminately moveable parts, or sliding panels for walls are an option, but they come with additional worries such as human comfort, decreased user participation, wear and tear maintenance and compromised architectural integrity if they are removed. Long-term infill is also an option favoured in affordable housing markets using ‘open-building’ strategies, however it is not flexible enough for our project.

2] Stand 47’s specific strategy begins by identifying functions that are fixed over time (like services), versus those that need to adapt to changing needs (flexible living spaces).

Fixed services include: kitchen, scullery, bathrooms, garages, domestic quarters, and storerooms.
Flexible spaces include: Living areas, bedrooms, study, patios, and corridors

3] Next, determine the best option for structured flexibility that can allow for future changes in the accommodation within set parameters. We term this “semi-fixed-room” flexibility which still allows services, doors and windows to function despite internal room changes. If changes are needed, these elements do not need to be demolished therefore reducing renovation costs. The grid offers the best solution for this.

4] Look at building materials and technologies available that can reflect cater for fixed services versus those that are best suited to the flexible living space design. Investigate how these can be integrated holistically in the design and consider alternatives like joinery and dry walling to achieve the required partitioning in more flexible areas.

5] Constraints – identify the site characteristics and limitations, the building materials, construction techniques, and regulations affecting the design.

Stand 47 features on building industry websites

At the first in a series of Stand 47 Talk last week, Saint-Gobain announced their collaboration on the project to realise the building of a case study that explores alternative housing in South Africa that uses predominately energy efficient materials, while retaining the qualities of permanence and longevity associated with traditional homes.  They have embraced this opportunity to demonstrate the integration, versatility, quality and efficiency of their products. “We view this project as the perfect opportunity to educate the public and create awareness of other building methodologies that are efficient and cost effective. It will also showcase real solutions that can be applied to solving the housing crises in South Africa,” said Evan Lockhart-Barker, GM Marketing of Saint-Gobain Gyproc.

Read more about Saint-Gobain’s involvement by following these links:

BuildMind: http://bit.ly/REbAjj
DesignMind: http://bit.ly/Up7UP0

Saint-gobain, a 2012 innovative global organisation

Saint-Gobain has been listed as one of Thomson Reuters 2012 Top 100 Global Innovators! 

This proprietary program recognises the 100 most innovative companies in the world according to a series of patent-related metrics that get to the essence of what it means to be truly innovative. “Innovation is the foundation for economic prosperity and technological advancement,” said David Brown, managing director, Thomson Reuters IP Solutions. “Our Top 100 Global Innovator methodology demonstrates the insight that can be gleaned from the analysis of patent data and confirms the fact that companies focused on innovating drive growth and financial success.” 

The full report can be found here:  http://www.top100innovators.com

Stand 47 talk fly-through

This fly-through of the initial design was presented at Monaghan Farm on Thursday during the first ‘Stand 47 Talk’ event. With thanks to Fritz Thomashoff.