Looking back at a memorable 2014 

This has been an exciting year for Stand 47. In April, an almost two year process of planning, design, experimentation, investigation and construction culminated in what we have come to know as Stand 47. The elegant symbiosis of hi-tech materials with homely architecture suited to the farm-style landscape has attracted a lot of attention. But what has drawn the most attention is that this house is an example of an alternative way to build high quality housing in SA and it is simply better.  
Part of what made 2014 great, was being able to share our journey with you. Throughout the construction process we put up posts about the materials, processes and technology behind them.  In April, we launched a Virtual Tour – knowing that many of our readers would not be able to visit the house in person, we devised a way to bring the house to them in a way that would also share what made it unique to any other house. 
During September, we launched a summary of our case study in designing a better SA home using considered design and state-of-the-art building materials. There was a huge response to both the Tour and the Summary, and from that has flowed a lot of interest from various media, who have recognized that Stand 47 forms a part of a new larger era in housing in South Africa. We hope to continue to demonstrate to our audience that Stand 47 does perform better during 2015.
To everyone who has been on this journey with us, we wish to thank you for your support, interest and encouragement along the way. With such exciting changes happening in the building industry, we hope we can continue to inspire you to build your own better home.

Buildings that make you feel better

The green movement has come a long way in making a difference in the manner in which people and industries consume resources and make choices. But people in the built environment are realizing that being green is not good enough. This is a positive step forward in the green industry whose concern was primarily with how things performed rather than how they were experienced. With more and more research being done on the impact that buildings have on the overall health and well-being of people, we’re confident in saying a better home can make you feel better too!

A new rating tool linked to green building is now monitoring the aspects that contribute to better building in the USA. Quite a few of these aspects have been applied in Stand 47 through Saint-Gobain’s Multicomfort principles…that’s why we’re able to say its cooler, warmer, quieter, safer, healthier and it it can make you wealthier!

WELL measures attributes of buildings that impact occupant health by looking at seven factors which WELL refers to as “Concepts:”

Air Implement design, technology, and treatment strategies to achieve optimal indoor air quality. Remove airborne contaminants with strategies that include prevention and purification.
Water Implement design, technology, and treatment strategies to achieve optimal water quality as required for each particular use. Remove contaminants through filtration and treatment.
Nourishment Implement design, technology, and knowledge building strategies to encourage healthy eating habits. Provides occupants with design features, behavioral cues, healthy options, and knowledge to enable healthier food choices.
Light Designing task specific illumination levels and quality that enhance the occupant’s daily schedule and visual acuity. Improve sleep, energy, mood, and productivity through window performance and design, light output, lighting controls, and appropriate light therapy.
Fitness Utilize design technologies and knowledge based strategies to encourage physical activity. Ensure access to numerous opportunities for aerobic, strength, and flexibility training so that occupants can accommodate fitness regimens within their daily schedule.
Comfort Create an indoor environment that is distraction-free, productive, and soothing. Solutions include design standards and recommendations, thermal and acoustic controllability, and policy implementation covering acoustic and thermal parameters that are known sources of discomfort.
Mind Implement design and technology strategies and office policies that support mental and emotional health. Provide the occupant with regular feedback and knowledge about their personal and occupational environment; passively through design elements, relaxation spaces, and state-of-the-art technology.

How do drywall houses compare to brick ones?

We’re often asked how drywall costs compare to brick walls. Since every building and site is different with its own constraints, it is unfair to compare the costs of drywalling to bricks only. A more holistic analysis is required that considers full construction costs and performance.

We’ve done a complete costing analysis to compare the costs between a brick building solution for Stand 47, versus our Light Steel Frame with Saint-Gobain drywalls. We’ve also explored how drywalls outperform brick walls in terms of construction time, material wastage and resource efficiency, as well as running costs and acoustic insulation. The marginal difference in total building cost did not justify using brick since we would not be able to create the benefits of a ‘better’ future home.

Exploring Stand 47 on the home channel

Our innovative case study home will be featured on the Home Channel and Wanted Magazine as a high-quality house that uses contemporary materials and construction techniques to demonstrate the flexibility and efficiency of alternative building solutions. They will explore the home’s elegance, functionality, and adaptability over time. They will see how Saint-Gobain’s high-tech materials contribute to putting Stand 47 at the forefront in building “the home of the future”.

Check out the episodes on the home channel on the following days:

Episode 1 – showing this week (9/12/14)
Tue 20:51 | Wed 09:52 | Thurs 13:52 | Fri 12:52 & 22:52 | Sat 09:52 & 19:51

Episode 2 – showing next week (15/12/14)
Mon 16:51 | Tue 20:50 | Wed 09:52 | Thurs 13:52 | Fri 13:52 | Sat 12:52 & 22:52 | Sun 09:52 & 19:52

Long-term value versus initial costs

“I cannot pursue my architecture without considering the minimization of energy consumption, simple and direct technologies, a respect for site, climate, place and culture. Together, these disciplines represent for me a fantastic platform for experimentation and expression. Of particular importance is the junction of the rational and the poetic resulting hopefully in works that resonate and belong to where they reside.” — Glenn Murcutt

So often the ‘bottom-line’, or rather ‘the cost’, overrides decision-making when building a house. The high costs of land, mortgages, professional fees, and materials can quickly make people reconsider building their own home. When people do take the plunge, the quality and functionality of a house is often compromised, and many times in favour of a fashionable aesthetic. However, people’s aspirations are changing, and over time authenticity and experience become important. 

The property market is placing more and more emphasis on properties that can firstly, demonstrate the value-added benefits provided over a long period of time (for example, green technologies for self-sufficiency, high energy efficiency performance and better comfort, flexibility, health and environmental safety); and secondly, that hold characteristics that make that house stand out in a housing market that is flooded with cookie cutter architecture. For first time buyers, investing in a home that is rooted and responsive to its location, uses the best in contemporary technology and pushes design excellence, is not only an investment in a better living experience, but also a sound investment for the future.