Continuation of my summer internship at Randy Brown Architects, Omaha, NE
After all the rigorous designs and construction documents, we jumped head first into construction. Although most of us had drafting experience on the designer's side, now was the time to switch to the builder's. The precision of the measurements and angles of the stair design amazingly ended up being right-on (even to the 1/16 of an inch). By frontloading the design process and using Sketch-up to design the timber layout, the construction moved steadily. The entire timber wall structure rises about 20' then another 10' to the upper bar level. We devised a way of using 1”x3” steel for planks for the wide stairs which proved to have little deflection at all. These metal planks were carefully drilled and installed.
I found it a challenge to leave studs exposed in a finished framing situation (as opposed to a rough framing that will be covered by plywood or drywall). The bare studs hide nothing. They offer no apologies for being dinged or dented and are unforgiving. Handling the wood with care is the best option. Everything you hammer, nail, or screw will be left exposed for viewers to see. We thought of using the nail-gun as a brutish method for our construction, so instead, we used many metal-to-wood connections. The loads are brought to an overly-obvious understanding just as a moment diagram in structures class. Why not make it obvious and be explicit about the tectonics of the constriction? The poetics of the construction are allowed to resonate loudly through the space and not to be muzzled like a drywall clad home.
Side note: Hello Brown Family!
The other teams are working on their areas of the site. The connection team is to deisgn an entrance and a main stair tower for visitors. They are adjoining the existing house with the new.