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Back for more punishment

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ryanyoung

If you look through my previous posts you'll understand the title. I have not been well received for trying to design my own home and looking for tips here. I've resolved to do as much as I can, take it to an architect (who has been selected and spoken with), and have him finalize the designs. 

I'm an insurance adjuster and I've spent many years contemplating how to make a building more loss-resistant. I'm trying to apply those ideas in conjunction with regional aesthetics. The home is meant for a 1.44 acre triangular lot in Sedona, Arizona. I created a preliminary design in SketchUp and am working on a revision using Xactimate which includes price lists by zip code (Industry standard in adjusting). I'm ball-parking $400/sf but we'll see when I crunch the numbers and revise.

As I'm working on version 165728.03 of this design I figured I'd come back for some more punishment from yall.

I felt SketchUp was an adequate tool as I needed to be able to visualize every room, this is because I'm running all the electrical through exposed copper conduit and all the copper plumbing will be exposed as well (or at least accessible). The exterior walls are rammed earth and the interior walls are hot rolled steel over steel studs. 

The steel will be set into a bottom lip and held in at the top and middle magnetically, this way I can float vinyl sound barrier and have no fastener penetrations. Before you comment on that - don't. I grew up around magnets, my fathers business was magnets, I've taught a few professors a thing or two about magnets. At $20 per 9' x 4' steel sheet I could hang these from the ceiling including the gap from the vinyl, balancing them will be easy.

So, here's what I've got digitally:

View from street


House, guest house, garage. Ignore the patio that's just cause I didn't want to try to do landscaping in SketchUp but wanted scale reference for exterior spaces. Bermed to roof on north side (top left)

Floor plan

Total SF: 2266 Finished SF: 2116 Ceiling Height: 9’, Great Room 11’6—14’ 

Total CF: 22,734    3 Bed, 2 Bath 

Wall Thickness: Rammed Earth—2’, Steel Panel—4 3/8” , Concrete—1’ (retaining) & 6 1/16” 

Exterior Doors: Hall, Master Bed, Great Room 

Windows: Master Bed, Master Bath, Dining Room, Fire Nook Skylights: Bedroom 1 & 2

Floor plan with appliances and fixtures

Rammed earth exterior walls and between Master Bedroom and bedrooms/hallway 

Concrete retaining wall and between utlity room / bathrooms 

Hot rolled steel panel interior walls over steel studs 

Polished concrete floors and concrete ceiling 

Exposed copper plumbing supply/drain lines 

Exposed copper electrical conduit 

Isolation sleeves for copper through steel walls (always perpendicular or exposed on hangers)

ADA compliant construction: 3’ wide doors, 3’6‐4’ walkway in all areas, switch/outlet heights 

Wood door slabs, triple pane windows and sliding doors


Round spiral duct
Dissappearing Wall (4’ sliding glass panel x4)
Fridge, oven, hood, microwave, dishwasher
Industrial style overhead fan 
Adjustable height pendant light x2, bulwark light
Hangar Steel Flashing/Trim (11/6” high, into wall) - for hanging from wall without penetration
Surround Sound System (wiring in conduit)
Concrete countertops (changed to match floor color since this design)
Base cabinets elevated 6” from ground for cleaning

Kitchen view from roughly 6' high and 3' from wall. This is my pride and joy, love it or leave it.

Crazy sink fixtures, air gap needed for the drain run.


Master Bedroom, keeping exposed vents/plumbing minimal here.

Master Bath, no plumbing through the slab so I had to go with wall mount bidet/toilet (Kohler smart toilet) The tub is elevated on a pad, this design is so that (when my parents become handicapped) they can remove the tub and convert it to a walk in shower (french drains barely visible, see floor plan)

Bedrooms and nook, fireplace and TV (was in living room) have been switched per mom's request. Playing with the idea of changing the exterior wall on the right to an S shaped curved wall for the next revision.

Bathrooms overview


Now for some nitty gritty. Some of the goals here to explain the insanity that you're about to see:


Everything should be accessible and repairable, good construction shouldn't be hidden and the contractors and subs I've been lining up are all the type to go above and beyond in every way.

 - Nothing down through the slab

 - Minimal penetrations through rammed earth and concrete walls, nothing run inside them

 - All roof penetrations/vents are under the "brim" overhang of the great room roof


No finish or paint, minimal wood

 - This house is for my parents to retire in as a thank you for all they've given me, gotta get them outta that single wide.

 - They want minimal cleaning and maintenance over all else, the floors are designed with roomba's and robot mops in mind and through staining techniques any discolorations or damages should blend nicely

 - One day I want to retire in this house too, I want it to look as close to it did on day 1 as possible when that day comes


Build something that reflects the region and will last long after I'm gone

 - Reflect the sedimentary layers of Sedona's mountains in the coloring of the rammed earth

 - Copper and steel as it's a mining state, teal-ish counter simulate turquoise and azurite/malachite

 - I'd like to believe I'm literally leaving my mark, not for fame but for a small personal legacy


Overkill is underrated, nothing should be barely up to code/requirement 

 - Median drain slope (based on the pipe sizes)

 - 8 air changes per hour minimum  for each room, 10-11 for humidity prone areas

 - Slab is 6" reinforced after stripping to bedrock (exposed in some areas, 1' maximum dig)

 - Concrete slab


So, to accomplish my adjuster/sedona house I added a utility/access hallway complete with french drains:

Everything then runs through the exterior wall to an exterior access/utility room providing an additional layer of protection. Or it goes through the roof where it's covered by the overhang of the great room roof.






Now the REALLY nitty gritty in case someone want's to see it:

Electrical (in copper conduit)


Plumbing (drains angled properly, all above slab, loooong branch vent to kitchen peninsula)


HVAC (honestly this part is my biggest headache, had a lot of help and still not satisfied, probably have a professional redesign it all. The use of spiral oval duct and the kitchen exhaust over the pantry I'd like to keep though)


Steel framing, spaced appropriately to allow for plumbing, ducts, etc through walls where needed

Great room roof - U channel over I beams, rockwool over wood (yes I know, wood) ceiling. Standing seam leads to drain inside parapet wall. Solar panels suspended over roofing on frame mounted to parapet. Should create a venting air pocket between solar panels and metal roofing.




So that's it, far from done but I feel like I've gotten quite a bit done and it expresses a lot of what I want as well as what I'm trying to accomplish. My architect is interested enough in my adjuster knowledge to work with me rather than bitching about lack of creative freedom, in exchange he gets (almost) free reign over the guest house. Just has to match the same materials with similar goals done his way. I want at least 1 or 2 more revisions before I fly out to see him, and we hammer this thing out, plus we gotta wait out the pandemic.


Any feedback is appreciated, let the stoning commence.

 
Aug 9, 20 12:22 am
ryanyoung

I left out some of the exterior features, in short there's a french drain under the berm and well in the corner of the lot. Septic system and leech field cause I'm outside city limits. The lot was built in sketch-up to match the actual terrain, I have a newfound respect for surveyors. There's a decent grade above the home and slight slope below but relatively flat where the house is going, should be very flat there once I strip to bedrock based on a few small digs. 

Aug 9, 20 12:26 am  · 
 · 
citizen

I'm sorry, I ran out of computer trying to see/read it all.

Aug 9, 20 12:31 am  · 
4  · 
ryanyoung

and to think I squeezed in this post between writing claims. Imagine if I'd taken my time...

 · 
ryanyoung

Next time, pop up book

 · 
Non Sequitur

consultation starts at $200/hr. Double that if you bring your own drawings. 


Honestly, hire a professional to do this. The arrangement of rooms, lack of fenestration and no sense of orientation to landscape screams waste of time. 

Aug 9, 20 7:46 am  · 
4  · 
bowling_ball

And yet it's still better than a lot of what I see by architects (which they've hired, btw). I know you've got a reputation to keep up, but this level of effort is far beyond what most homeowners bring to this site. Having said that, there's all sorts of red flags here...

 · 
Non Sequitur

^look at the OP’s history for more context. His/her effort is staggering, but the focus ignored so many design fundamentals.

 · 
ryanyoung

As stated I do have an architect and he's been giving me some minor feedback so far. He's open to working with me given my want for extreme involvement but he's busy with other projects currently. All in all I dont care much if the layout changes but having this let's me show him a lot of what I'm trying to accomplish and some of the peculiarities I'm trying based on my experience inspecting losses. I'm sure you all know the famous FLW quote but I'm trying to bring some adjuster/contractor experience into the equation so that the chair doesn't need to be moved.

 · 
ryanyoung

Bowling - if you cared to point out a few I'd appreciate it, thanks for the kind words as well.

 · 
Wood Guy

TL:DR.

You have actually been "received" relatively well here, considering this is a forum for design professionals, not for laypeople trying to do our work. (I dabble in actuarial work on the side--not much to it really, just some math, no big deal...) (That's a joke) 

You are interested in the design of your unique house. That's good. Now find a professional who can help you get it right. 

Aug 9, 20 10:07 am  · 
4  · 
Wood Guy

Exposed cold water pipes condense water on the outside and should be wrapped with insulation if you don't want constant dripping when the indoor RH is above about 50%.

 · 
ryanyoung

Absolutely, I joke more than anything. There were definitely some points I got a little heated but overall I've learned a lot here and appreciate the feedback. Adjusting is far different from actuarial work, I inspect and write repair estimates following catastrophes throughout the country.

Sedona is in Arizona with very low humidity, the rammed earth should help with absorption as well and all exposed plumbing in humidity prone areas is over French drains. The exposure should also allow me to evaluate it once it's in use and possibly sleave it and use drain pipe around that to keep the appearance. That's a lot of extra cost though so I'm hoping it's not necessary. 

 · 
Wood Guy

My cousin just left the insurance industry after 20+ years as an adjuster, and I know actuaries, so I understand the differences. Designing a custom house is more like actuarial work in its complexity; nothing against adjusting but you're mostly just checking boxes from a list as far as I can tell. (No offense.) My cousin also dabbles in house design, and is named Ryan... coincidence? He's not in Sedona, though.

This firm does beautiful work, including a lot with rammed earth and similar products: https://www.arkintilt.com/. (Most "rammed earth" is now just a weak concrete mix with dyes added. But still looks cool.)

We had David Arkin, one of the principles, on the BS + Beer Show I started and co-host: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIyGYtq9Iu4&t=13s

1  · 
ryanyoung

I wish it was that easy, I'm an independent and handle mostly large commercial losses and high end residential. Total losses need to be reverse engineered completely, sometimes entirely from slab information, debris, and satellite/street views. Then we have to write the carrier estimate for complete rebuild less slab. There are often engineers involved so I dont claim that level of knowledge but I can usually get within 10% of the final rebuild/repair estimate on first report. RCV values by the actuaries are a joke compared to a line item estimate, usually 20-30% under at least.

 · 
bowling_ball

Honestly, ryanyoung, I'm not a residential architect but at $400/sf, you're so far off base as to be in fantasy land. Come back when you can quadruple your budget or lower your expectations by 75%. 

Aug 9, 20 11:07 am  · 
5  · 
Wood Guy

I hadn't noticed his budget; you make a good point. I don't know about quadrupling but around here $400/sf gets you slightly better than standard construction. I'd guess $600-$1200/sf would be a realistic range for Ryan. But $1600/sf is not out of the question.

 · 
Non Sequitur

Anyone know the average cost per foot for rammed earth?

 · 
ryanyoung

I'm creating this whole thing in Xactimate so I should be able to price it within 10% of actual cost less permitting and experts (arch, engineer, etc.) The 400/sf is based on some very rough calculations in Xact and the architect's ballpark from looking at the previous version. Unfortunately Xactimate doesn't have rammed earth so I'll be using poured concrete in my pricing, if anyone does have a CF or CY price average for rammed it earth it would be very helpful.

 · 
Non Sequitur

You’re using cost guidelines/tables for pricing and expect to be within 10%? Not gonna happen. We do this for real and never assume that level of confidence.

 · 
ryanyoung

Xactimate is far from a table or guideline, I've done estimates for total losses up to 1.4 million and come within 9% of final rebuild cost. By adding O&P at 15/10 and account for that additional 10% I think it'll be pretty close if I can get rammed earth pricing. The earth movement will certainly have some variability but as an adjuster pricing accuracy is extremely important. I was a teacher at an adjusting school and I've had architecture graduates as students, they were amazed at how accurate it was when you know how to use it. It even prices out the nails for stud work, just gotta know the correct item.


 · 
Non Sequitur

No residential contractor is only banking on 10/15 for oh/p when quoting on custom houses. Triple it for more realistic price.

 · 
bowling_ball

Wood Guy, you're right, I was probably exaggerating on cost. I'm also Canadian and at least where I practice, there's not really cheap labour (ie no undocumented immigrants and very little competition).

 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

It's, just, so damn boring.

Aug 9, 20 12:50 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Although I did not read the whole thing, I’m sure they included a walk in closet to store all their beige kakis organized. It’s that level of excitement.

1  · 
ryanyoung

Hey now, as an adjuster I wear beige khakis all the time but never by choice. The massing and layout isn't anything to write home about but I'm a lot more interested in the details than having some garish Gehry. I think the design also reflects the mountains, pueblo ruins, and overall look of sedona very well. There's a change to the exterior wall that I think should make the fireplace nook/hallway area much more pleasing as well. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, myself and my parents like a semi-industrial simple aesthetic.

 · 
Non Sequitur

It's less than mediocre.

 · 
ryanyoung

Non sequitur, ya mind just leaving me be? You got me heated last time and it's clear you have no confidence or interest in my project. I dont see the value in having your comments here and they sorta just irritate.

 · 
Non Sequitur

Ryan, you’ve given literally no value to what devices architects actually offer. Your house has no consideration to anything resembling an enjoyable living space. It’s a 3D extrusion of a costing spreadsheet mixed in with bad HGTV influences. If you’re happy paying a massive premium for mediocrity, then fine, have at it, but don’t try to twist this and claim you’re making a better home.

 · 
ryanyoung

It's obvious that people like you and I would never work in a client/architect relationship anyways so I don't understand why you seem so hell bent on criticizing me. It's fine if you can't understand the reasons why I want to build this way and it's fine if you think my ideas have no merit. Your assumptions about who I am and what I have to offer are documented extensively, but obviously they have not deterred me. I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong, I'm just saying that neither of us benefit from communicating and we might as well simply ignore one another.

 · 
Non Sequitur

Important to note that in no way am I trying to deter you from anything.

 · 
joseffischer

While he is rough, please remember that you're coming to an architect's site... but generally trying to have a discussion on the decisions estimators, contractors, craftsmen, etc have. There are nuts and bolts architects, but Non Sequitur is trying to remind you that the lion's share of advice you'll receive here is going to be on your design... and no, that doesn't mean we all expect some sort of "unbuildable" "Gehry" "swoop" to count. I'm sure you've already seen the like considering your materials of choice, but Rick Joy is known well for his design with rammed earth (among others). A master painter may not be able to sculpt but will be able to notice and perhaps articulate the reasons why a master sculptor is good. A layman might hate both, never want to visit either's exhibits, and really enjoy the work their 10 year old has provided... and that's perfectly acceptable.

 · 
curtkram

sedona seems to be getting overrun with the new age crystal healing type people.  are you into that stuff?

Aug 9, 20 1:32 pm  · 
 · 
ryanyoung

Getting? I was born there in 1990 and I cant think of a time it wasn't saturated with rich hippies looking to find their spirit animal. When you know psychics personally and see their homes it's a lot harder to take them seriously. It's kinda like how catholic school beats the jesus out of people, I'm a died in the wool skeptic. Honestly I dont even believe in the soul, that's part of why I want to leave some sort of physical legacy.

 · 
ryanyoung

On the flip side I'm way into gems and minerals just not in that way. There are some really unique properties to those materials. Pesio and pyroelectric properties, light refraction and polarization, pleochroism. Dont let the hippies scare you away, the dont need voodoo to be cool.

 · 
chris-chitect

I've got a few thoughts.

First, regarding seeking free advice here, I'm not against it outright as a lot of people, including professionals come here to bounce ideas off of each other. However most of us are here on coffee breaks, scrolling on our phones from bed on a lazy Sunday or here to blow off steam about the general state of the profession. I'm happy to share my own thoughts, but it's only going to be until it's no longer fun to do so.

It sounds like you're going to work with an architect, which is good, but are you concerned he/she won't fully realise your design? I guess it really depends on the consultant you hire, but I imagine many would want to change your design quite dramatically. None of your images show the easiest to use feature in sketchup being used: Shadows. You're in the desert, so the sun should be informing your design. 

Here are my lazy comments on a Sunday of the items that stick out (while I'm having fun looking).

-Rammed earth is beautiful, but it's coming across with a Garfield like colour palette. Find some photo-real renders of rammed earth, and perhaps invest in those experienced in rendering them to create nail down the look. Even though a render can lie, there's nothing appealing about how sketchup is showing your project.

-Rammed earth is beautiful, but you're creating so many distractions with the exposed piping and conduit. It needs a minimalist look. Plus the copper really takes on a "steam punk" (worst design trend ever) that is killing any aesthetic quality.

-The kitchen looks like a clumsy collection of appliances and cabinets shoved into a corner. 

-Eliminate 45 degree walls. They are horrible to fit furniture around, and just awkward. 

I do appreciate your ambition though, you've put in effort especially into running all the hvac and conduit, but I couldn't tell you if any of it is right.  It's admirable that you want to do something environmentally considerate and it's not a McMansion on a golf course in the desert. 

If you haven't already chosen an architect, Peter Zumthor did a nice house in rammed earth, although in a different climate.

https://zumthor.tumblr.com/ Check out the video,and the office contact here: https://tel.search.ch/haldenstein/sueesswinggel-20/zumthor-peter-partner



Aug 9, 20 1:45 pm  · 
1  · 
ryanyoung

Thanks for the time, honestly the little tidbits people give add up to quite a bit and I certainly don't expect anyone to devote hours to this. I'm getting rid of one of the 45's in favor of a curved wall, I know that's the opposite of why you make the suggestion but considering the use of the room (TV / breakfast nook where the fireplace is now) I wont have much in the way of furniture. I want to stick to the body look because it matches the style of the pueblo ruins in the area but personally I love odd angles and want to have at least one room that isn't square. Your advice has me thinking about the master bedroom-patio exterior wall though, probably can square that and change the closet up to make that room look much nicer. The hvac, plumbing, and electrical is all close but nothing's completely right. I'm lucky to know a ton of old timers who have helped me in various ways (navy electricians, an engineer or two, plumbers, etc) but it'll all be left to the professionals in the long run. The architect is chosen so that's out of the way but I'll certainly look up Zumthor for some inspiration.

 · 
ryanyoung

Fortunately or unfortunately I love the steampunk aesthetic but I hate bells and whistles, no wasted pipe just for looks or gears that dont do anything. I'm trying to keep myself restrained in that regard and hopefully with the addition of spiral duct we can reach more of an industrial look rather than captain's goggles-tophat.

 · 
Dangermouse

lol like this cheap m.f. is going to hire peter "architecture jesus" zumthor...

 · 
ryanyoung

If I wanted cheap I'd buy a house that someone built 30 years ago, probably something with big columns to symbolize power and authority while using materials that won't last a generation. That or maybe a stick built with fresh pine wood, the drywall cracks give a nice sense of age. Or maybe a leaky old Frank Loyd Wright, plenty of those in AZ that no one can live in.

 · 
ryanyoung

I'm kidding of course, but the reality is if I'm gonna pay extra I want it to be exactly what I want. The more information I can get together the easier it will be to explain what I want to the architect and having a 3D model beats doodles and explanations. Plus it's fun, takes my mind off writing claims for a bit when I cant go out thanks to Covid and Dengue fever outbreaks

 · 
rcz1001

To add to the photorealistic rendering, consider getting: http://raylectron.com/webver2

Try with your SketchUp model. This is a good way for you to present a better quality rendering output than that which is provided by SketchUp's standard renderer which is intentionally not photorealistic. You'll want to learn it and how to select high quality textures appropriate for the materials used. 


1  · 
natematt

I sure hope the you have looked into availability of construction types in your local market.

.... A lot of rammed earth companies don't even do monolithic rammed earth walls anymore. I'm in a major construction hub, and within the last 10 years all of the local companies that did rammed earth have stopped doing it the traditional way, and only provide panels that go on steel framing. (we have recently been working on a project in our office where there was a desire for rammed earth)

The market for this stuff is small. And while cost is a factor, If you haven't actually spoken to someone local about the capacity to do this work (in which case you should have some sense of cost) then their is a very good likelihood you are working on some major faulty assumptions. 

Also, is this suggesting there is literally nothing between the roof finish and the interior finish besides mineral wool? (sans structure, but that's not the point). This would be borderline impossible to build, and  to say you'd have leaks in your roof, would be giving to much validity to this actually being a roof... If you spent 10 min looking at standing seam manufacture info, you'd realize the U's are useless, and you need appropriate sheathing and underlayment... Etc.  

Hire a professional.... 

Aug 9, 20 1:55 pm  · 
2  · 
ryanyoung

That roof is only over the great room and from top to bottom goes: SS metal, sheathing, u channel, I beam (rockwool between) then wood ceiling. This is the only wood besides doors and cabinets but its necessary. All of that is inside a parapet at a 3/12 with gutters and no penetrations. I tried to keep it as brief as I could but there's certainly more detail to this design than I've listed here.

 · 
ryanyoung

The contractor I have has experience and does this kind of rammed earth and has two rammed earth houses in the sedona area. I'm having to use a lot of old timers for the exact reasons you've listed above, none of this is common practice and they're the only ones still doing things the old way. His son is the architect so they're both familiar with each others work and limitations which should help.

 · 
ryanyoung

Also the hot rolled steel is becoming popular in this area so were definitely following local trends in many ways.

 · 
natematt

So then the U's are purlins, and you've just left a giant air gap between your insulation and your sheathing? that's going to make your attachment for the mineral wool pretty funky, it's not going to be able to be pressure fit between the beams like you would with framing.

Polished concrete could mean a lot of things. Using your structural slab as the finish is a bit risky.... 

 · 
ryanyoung

Couldn't you just as easily attach the rockwool to the ceiling panels and hang them?

 · 
ryanyoung

I had originally planned on pressure fitting between I beams, thanks for the tip. The above answer was an off the cuff idea, that roof has a 8' overhang so I have no delusions about the framing design making it into the final. I took a whack at it for fun but it's certainly being left to the architect/structural engineer to figure out the how (or if) it would be done.

As for the slab, I don't know enough about it to say how it would be done but no I had not intended on using the structural as the finish, as far as I know those are different mixes and that would probably be pretty ugly.

 · 
natematt

Probably not a good idea, you'd have to do something funky, especially if the wood is slatted. Could it be done some way...probably, but you'd be better off looking a typical methods.

 · 
JawkneeMusic

Make sure your electrical is good, with all that stuff it'll have to be perfectly done, that copper conduit can go live.

Aug 9, 20 3:56 pm  · 
 · 
JawkneeMusic

I took Industrial & commercial electronics, get some books & go to work--it's badass fun

 · 
Non Sequitur

Why don’t you offer some of your “expertise” to the OP?

 · 
ryanyoung

Ya I'll be grounding the conduit as well to be sure, the electrician hates me already but he's stuck with me cause were related. He used to build chips out of silicon wafers in Florida (forget the name) so I trust he knows what he's doing with a residential electrical project. He also worked as an electrician before anyone points out those are very different trades.

 · 
rcz1001

Ryan Young, semiconductor & electronics are not the same as being an electrician working on electrical or electrical engineering. Improperly done electrical is one of the most common causes for house fires aside from fires relating to fires from a kitchen or a fire from a fireplace/chimney.

 · 
rcz1001

You might want to use an electrically insulated (non-conductive) conduit inside the copper conduit to prevent the copper conduit from ever going live unintentionally.

 · 
ryanyoung

Thanks for the feedback. I've definitely considered the inner sleeve and it may be required by code anyways. I'm relatively confident in grounding the whole conduit system but again everything is going through a professional before its finalized. The
electrician friend I mentioned has done both, I just used that as an example of how he's worked in multiple fields under the electrical umbrella and isn't just some Joe-shmoe electrical repair guy.

 · 
rcz1001

Grounding the copper conduit should still be done even if there is an inner sleeve. When it comes to residential electrical, a "master electrician" (or equivalent) or electrical engineer (a licensed professional engineer in electrical engineering (power systems)) should be the one preparing electrical plans but also architects and other design professionals may do so within their area of competence. 

Do keep in mind that the semiconductor field is kind of irrelevant. I do understand a person can transition from semiconductor engineering to electrical work. It should be noted that engineering chips and laying out electrical in a building are different. Something close to laying out electrical wiring is someone who has done PCB circuit design but there are important differences in the production of plans. I have done electrical plans for houses as well as PCB layout in electronics as well as having some familiarity in semiconductor design and engineering. 

In fact, most "joe schmoe" electrical installation professionals with 20-30 years of experience is able to do the installation and many do know how to prepare professional-quality electrical plans for houses. Has the person prepared electrical plans on 10 or more related projects (residential electrical of a similar scale)? If so, great. If not 10 or more but have prepared electrical plans for 3 residential projects then great. If so, I would not have too much issue with your electrician. What matters is you.

It is not just the installation but also the preparation of professional-quality electrical plans. Not only that, but it is also the preparation of professional-quality construction documents (submittal documents) -- "architectural", mechanical, electrical, plumbing, structural, etc. 

I am not yet confident in you. I am not sure you have the knowledge and skills to be confident in your ability to coordinate and identify any potential conflicts in the plans prepared by your 'consultants'. I'm concerned that you are the weakest link and that you have too much direct control over the design decisions.

 · 
ryanyoung

You're 100% right in everything but the, "too much direct control over the design decisions". I'm definitely the weakest link and the goal here is basically to take it as far as I can with the help of the people I know (like the electrician), then it gets turned over to the professionals. Once they've done their work I can reverse engineer it as best I can, learn from their work and process, and do the same thing again across the street. Each time hopefully my design gets a little closer to what the professionals produce and eventually maybe I'll show an architect my work and he'll say I don't need him. It's a crazy dream I know, but its what I want to do with my money. The hierarchy of goals is: Good house > unique and loss resistant design > my designs.

 · 
rcz1001

You're 100% right in everything but the, "too much direct control over the design decisions". 

 Time will tell.

 · 
ryanyoung

I'm saying I won't have much direct control when final plans are laid, not that my control isn't too much.

 · 
rcz1001

okay.

 · 
JawkneeMusic

Here you go Non Sequitor asked me to give it (I'm just giving it cuz it was next to me & cool)

Aug 9, 20 7:49 pm  · 
 ·  1
Non Sequitur

Did you take that picture with a potato?

 · 
ryanyoung

Well there's something we agree on, I can't read it lol.

1  · 
ryanyoung

What was this by the way? I'm not sure what a particle collider could have to do with a residential building.

2  · 
rcz1001

Jawknee, I can understand if this was meant as pure sarcasm but you could have scanned a page from "Simplified Engineering for Architects and Builders". It would have been more relevant.

 · 
citizen

Looking at this and your other threads over time, Ryan, I'm just wondering: is this what you do for cardio?

Aug 10, 20 1:43 am  · 
 · 
ryanyoung

If you're referring to how much I write, I'm pretty quick at the keys so I end up three pages in before I realize it. Habit of disquisition as one fella put it.

 · 
rcz1001

There was a fellow named Rick that people on this forum have mentioned on this forum a number of times that have been known for lengthy posts. It might be why people are responding to the length of your posts and volume of posts.

 · 
citizen

There once was a fellow named Rick

Whose resume' grew mighty thick 

He cut and he pasted 

Some thought he was wasted 

But everyone tired of his shtick.

5  · 
rcz1001

Thanks for the poem. Good humor.

 · 
ryanyoung

If I ever write memoirs I'm naming them TLDR

 · 
SneakyPete

That Rick fellow now posts under the handle rcz1001.

 · 
ryanyoung

This isn't related but I feel like someone needs to make a PSA. Can people please stop building steep roofs in Texas? Plano is adjuster hell but I see it all over this damn state. There's no snow here!

Aug 10, 20 3:10 am  · 
 · 
rcz1001

I'm not sure what the issue is but there are reasons for pitched roofs for reasons other than snow such as efficient shedding of rain and also used in windy areas. Parts of Texas are exposed to strong winds and rain. There is also the existing architectural context to consider.

 · 
ryanyoung

How on earth does a steep roof help with high winds? Anything over 9/12 is loses shingles way more often and wind driven rain typically enters at ridges not mid-slope. Put simply, steep is good for snow and cold (reduces risk of ice daming) and lower slope is better for wind. Before you say something about lining up with the wind direction: no... just no...

 ·  1
ryanyoung

Loses shingles in high winds* plus steep roofs need 5 nails or they slide down slope slowly.

 · 
rcz1001

I was talking about the roof form, not the type of roofing. Different types of roofing (composition shingles, wood shingles, metal roofing, slate, etc.) have differing performance. How you secure the roofing to the roof structure is important but the roof form is considerably important. It isn't just a matter of preventing loss of roofing but also preventing the loss of the roof structure. If you lose the roof structure, you are not just losing the shingles. FYI: I actually didn't say steep. The ideal zone is 5:12 pitch. Even roofs 12:12 will perform fine. You have to brace things effectively in the roof structure as well as have a good secured connection. It should be noted that 12:12 pitch roofs seldom have huge overhangs. Walls can adequately handle rain with rain-screen if you are in such an environment with lots of rain. For snow load, you need more than just a steep roof pitch, the roof structure needs to be stout in heavy slow load environment. We aren't talking about using modest 2x4 roof framing. We are talking something more stout than typical light wood-frame construction.

 · 
ryanyoung

I've definitely seen a few 2x4 frames roofs collapse under moderate snow loads even at 10/12. The steep pitch in the SW is usually people trying to bring their NE style to the desert with no consideration for the environment they're building in or why that style is used where it is.

 · 
rcz1001

In the Arizona desert, it really doesn't matter that much. Little rain. Little snow unless you are up in the mountains. Ice isn't that hard of an issue to solve. I live where we have rain, snow, ice, and category 3-5 hurricane-force winds (from time to time). That old Victorian survived the past 130-150 or so years. I'm sure we can do better with a stronger roof structure and using a suitable connection system between the rafters and the wall frame. I do understand where the steep roofs don't seem to fit into the landscape. I'm guessing you read a few books about Frank Lloyd Wright.

There is a city neighborhood context to keep in mind when designing inside cities. When you are out in the middle of nowhere, how your home look doesn't matter as much if it isn't being seen by anyone.

 · 
archanonymous

I'll echo what other people said... rammed earth and steel and exposed conduit are all cool, but can be applied to any design. Find a professional architect (not some builder or builder's relation) who can help you program and plan this effectively. Then once the layout and siting works, you can do whatever the hell you want.

Aug 10, 20 12:54 pm  · 
 · 
ryanyoung

The main reason I did the massing and layout myself was to see how having all this exposed would look. It easily becomes cluttered or too steampukey (yes thats intentional) so without laying it out it's hard to balance the exposures.

 · 
archanonymous

here's a tip - when receiving criticism, just shut the fuck up. We don't care WHY you did something, just that it's there, in the project, and it is wrong. That you had good intentions or rational thought behind it doesn't change the fact it sucks.

3  · 

You're just upset that you never designed something so nice AA.

 · 
JLC-1

all this makes me think insurance is a big capitalist scam. 

Aug 10, 20 1:54 pm  · 
2  · 
Jay1122

Let me try to give my 2cents. This feels like a rather luxurious custom home to me. Without the proper CD sets and only rough model views, i can only guess on some of the stuff. Why is there so many odd shapes and turns, although i am not not saying go minimalism, complex shapes means extra money and detailing. And there seems like a lot of elevation changes across the building, it looks like a complex rather than a single house, which will also cost you more. I cant say a design is wrong, its just preference, but complex design cost more and more effort on detailing.

You said 9' ceiling. I personally would recommend go 11' since it is a custom build, especially if you have duct under the ceiling. and make your great room even taller. Trust me, it makes world difference in spatial experience. Only reason we have 8' its because its the bare minimum for cheap contractors. 

The interior wall is made of metal stud and sheet metal magnetically hung? Cant comment on that. No idea what the top and bottom joint will look like. One thing to watch out for is acoustic performance. At least have acoustical batt inside the wall, usually we use resilient clips with gypsum board, then add cladding material of your choice for aesthetic. Seems like you are using acoustical vinyl sheets.

I am not familiar with rammed earth wall, does it has insulation inside? Does not seem to have high R value to me, thermolag is useless to American where HVAC dominates. Wonder what the electric bill and comfort level will be like.

Anyway, don't you still need to produce a CD set from an architect for permit approval? Don't cheap out on hardware and FF&E since it is a luxurious home. Have architect spec some high end when you are at that stage. Never slap a cheap hollow core home depot door on those buildings please.


Aug 10, 20 2:12 pm  · 
 · 
ryanyoung

Thanks for the feedback, definitely considering taller ceilings. 

The magnetic attachment idea was in response to the acoustic issues of having steel panel on steel stud, by removing fasteners the problems aren't solved but certainly helped. I did some quick tests and I think it should be suitable for most areas but the wall between the guest bath and master bedroom is just poor design, I do not want to hear that flushing from the master. That's more layout though.

The R value on rammed earth is poor, I really would like to avoid insulation if I can but it may not be worth the added effort to go without. I like the idea of having it built a more traditional way and not relying to heavily on HVAC, certainly won't be a cost effective decision in my life time but I may eat the added cost if it doesn't break the bank.

 · 

You said you hired and architect in your OP.  Pay that architect to review your design and answer your questions.  


Aug 10, 20 2:40 pm  · 
4  · 
rcz1001

Amen!

 · 
Non Sequitur

Ramen!

3  · 
atelier nobody

NS - One of our projects in school was a church. In my renderings, every place where religious iconography would've been got FSM.

1  · 
Non Sequitur

I'm petitioning Paul to increase the thumbs up feature to include multiple up votes for this comment.

 · 
ryanyoung

Yep, meeting is scheduled for later this month when we're both available. Until then I guess yall are stuck with me.

 · 

We're not stuck with you. You're fired.

 · 
ryanyoung

Something about that blue name makes that extra ominous.

 · 
tduds

This (and the other) threads should be a case study on how the average layperson simply doesn't know what "Architecture" means.

Aug 10, 20 2:58 pm  · 
1  · 
tduds

This house, as you've "designed" it, isn't architecture. Your questions are not architectural in their nature. And despite being called out multiple times on this fact specifically, you seem to willfully ignore the very concept.

1  · 
rcz1001

tduds, "Architecture" has many interpretations. While it doesn't meet your personal interpretation doesn't mean it doesn't meet some other interpretive standard of what constitutes 'architecture'. Don't confuse this with good designing or architectural design. I'm just saying that you are coming off like one of those prima donna artist types.

 ·  2
tduds

Don't even start with me Rick.

2  · 
tduds

My unpopular opinion is that many architects do not produce "Architecture." Hell, many of my own projects are not what I'd call "Architecture."

But I'm willing to accept that is an unpopular opinion.

3  · 
rcz1001

leave the ego in your bed.

 · 
tduds

Nothing to do with ego or quality. There is a lot of shitty architecture out there that I'd nonetheless call architecture. Similarly there are a lot of amazing works that I would say are amazing but that aren't "architecture" 

I'm really proud of some of my projects that aren't architecture.

1  · 
tduds

I'll just pre-emptively explain myself even though I was originally being kind of glib... 

Architecture, as I see it, is a deliberate assemblage of space. Everything else flows from that. This house is an exercise in extreme effort towards the "everything else" but without a hint of understanding of the arrangement of space. Therefore, I wouldn't call it architecture.

1  · 
rcz1001

Good. 

It is still architecture.... whether it is shitty of amazing. 

What do you define as "Architecture"? (just see it above)

Does every architect, past, present, and future agree with it? Is it that absolutely defined? What is Art? What isn't Art? What is the qualifier? It is just subjective reasoning as far as I am concerned. 

In other words, it's just personal interpretations by personalities. I have read and heard multiple yet varying interpretations of what is "architecture" and isn't "architecture". I have my own interpretation of what is or isn't "architecture". You have your own. Others have their own respective interpretation of what is or isn't "architecture". I'm not saying the OP's design is great.

 · 
square.

this is why i make the distinction of architecture as a process, not a thing. the result of all architecture is a building (assuming it is built....), but not every building came about as a process of architecture.

3  · 
SneakyPete

Your dedication to putting what you call "letters" in a specific order to form "words" to explain yourself is extremely limiting, dude. Now quit hogging the spliff.

1  · 
Jay1122

arrangement of space is architecture? Do you also believe form follows function? Anyway check out the project "The Tower House by Gluck+". I think the vertical stack of bedroom is not convenient with all the stairs. Not sure if it meets your arrangement of space approval, but it is architecture nonetheless, and a successful one. I think anything that is built is architecture, the only bad architecture is a boring one that no one looks at with a second glance. Architecture is a never ending exploration that continues to evolve while being critiqued and debated. And let me ask you, Frank Gehry, yay or nay?

 · 
rcz1001

"Architecture, as I see it, is a deliberate assemblage of space. Everything else flows from that. This house is an exercise in extreme effort towards the "everything else" but without a hint of understanding of the arrangement of space. Therefore, I wouldn't call it architecture." I would agree with you as a designer. What is deliberate? How do we know there isn't some kind of deliberate arrangement by the original poster even though the original poster doesn't know how to verbally or in written form communicate it. Why did the OP choose the size of the rooms or its arrangement? If there wasn't a decision, there wouldn't be a SketchUp model. There is a decision and a reason for why each line was placed in the model is placed where it is. It is unclear to you. It is unclear to me. The OP had some decisions he made. The reasons may not be how you or I would decide things. You and I come from some "school" of design thinking process. We base our decisions on a methodical and perhaps more sophisticated understanding of the space-form-function relationship. The OP lacks this "schooling". Therefore, the OP may not be able to consciously convey why the decisions are made as you or I would.

 · 
ryanyoung

I did think about it and arranged it as best I could, but certainly the focus was on function over form. Personally I think people like Gehry are important for advancement of the field but I would never want to live in one of his houses.

 · 
ryanyoung

Also I'd add that I've been very clear that I have no attachment to the layout and don't claim that I'm acting as the architect. I'm working on a new post that makes clearer that point and asks what I'd really come here to ask.

 ·  1
SneakyPete

please don't

2  · 
ryanyoung

You don't have to read them you know...

 · 
rcz1001

Tduds, 

Every decision comes with some sort of weighing of options. We just don't know what options the OP weighed in the process. It may be unclear about what it was because of lack of a 'journal' recording that is putting a record of the design thought process. Thomas Hubka wrote an journal article about the vernacular designer and the generation of form. (Article: Just Folks Designing: Vernacular Designers and the Generation of Form). If you can get a copy of the article, it is an interesting read about how vernacular design process is done. Here's a Slide show (video) url link: ( https://slideplayer.com/slide/5960475/ ) -- that touches basis on this but the complete article is worth having as well as anything bibliographically referenced. 

Thomas Hubka referenced two types of designers. The "Bricoleur" traditional vernacular designer and the Scientist (Modern Designer). The modern vernacular designer is a lot like the "Bricoleur" but also a little bit like the modern designer given the tools we have today and the ability to research. Therefore, the modern day vernacular designer (non-professional designers like the OP) is a bit of a hybrid of both. Given the lack of training and experience that the modern professional designer would have, their knowledge base of options is more limited. It doesn't mean there isn't any kind of deliberation for the assemblage. It may not be up to a professional designer's standard but it doesn't mean it isn't any deliberation. 

The OP (Ryan Young) may not have been good at communicating his reasons, the options he has evaluated, the criteria he used to decide, etc. His design reason process for deliberation is based on different criteria than what you or I would be using. He has different priorities. He may have been less focused on the spatial volume and things like juxtaposition of opposites (large and small, high and low, etc,). His lack of education in things like pattern language is due to his non-education in architecture.

 ·  1
SneakyPete

You don't have to post them you know...

 · 
rcz1001

"this is why i make the distinction of architecture as a process, not a thing. the result of all architecture is a building (assuming it is built....), but not every building came about as a process of architecture." 

I agree with you about architecture as a process. However, there are many processes. Some are formal processes that are taught and trained within architecture school and professional employment. There are also many informal processes that are practiced. This is what I am getting at with the matters of vernacular architecture (or design if you like). Even a haphazard process is still a process even if it isn't very good or methodical. No design can exist without a process. Design is a process. Architecture is a process of designing buildings. 

We know the OP isn't even completely through his design yet. 

 · 
ryanyoung

I'd say I didn't explain why I did the model the way I did effectively but more over I frame the topic properly. I tried again here if anyone isn't fed up yet: 

https://archinect.com/forum/thread/150210897/tl-dr-an-adjuster-s-thoughts-on-home-design

Yes it is just as long-winded and has the exact same model used, but I think it's far more focused a topic.

 · 
rcz1001

You are not a professional designer. How can you without the "vocabulary"? It takes time to learn the "vocabulary" and the systematic processes that are taught and the methods of designing a building. As you said, you are communicating the best you can. I am aware of that. To an extent, I am defending you in that you yet at the same time, I am not defending the design. There are some issues that I see. Some of them involve overhead clearance issues that can be resolved by either higher ceiling height or wider corridor where the pipes run against the wall or otherwise allows a 32" minimum wide (or wider as necessary) egress path.

For example: This needs to be addressed better.

The corridor path appears to be too narrow and those pipes looks like a possible issue.

1  · 
rcz1001

In architectural speak, if this was a construction document, this would be a big "redline" moment.

 · 
Non Sequitur

I feel I'm going to get plenty of mileage out of this image:


4  · 
rcz1001

Thanks for the comic but I'm sure you edited the photo to put the Clatsop Community College logo in the picture.

 · 
SneakyPete

Also the relationship.

2  · 
Non Sequitur

Pete, the woman in the comic is the mother.

3  · 
tduds

Solid detective work, Ricky.

3  · 
rcz1001

N.S., uh... kind of sick don't you think. That 'Hon' part sounds like an intimate relationship and that would be implying incest.

 · 
Non Sequitur

^errata: replace the content of the first speech bubble with "Go to bed, son". 

Better?

 · 
SneakyPete

In psychological speak, if this was a therapy session, this would be a big "aha" moment.

 · 
rcz1001

N.S., still debatable.

 · 
archanonymous

building ≠ architecture ≠ Architecture


Aug 10, 20 5:16 pm  · 
2  · 
wynne1architect@gmail.com

Professional "feedback" ain't free.

Aug 10, 20 6:06 pm  · 
 · 
JLC-1

hey, exposed pipes can be used for other purposes

http://weissesrauschen.tumblr.com/post/141379206249

Aug 10, 20 6:28 pm  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

Nice spatula.

1  · 
citizen

I've seen cockroaches that took 3-4 rounds to discourage. So, yeah...

 · 
citizen

And isn't Exposed Pipes showing on the Hustler Channel tonight?  Asking for a friend.

2  · 
randomised

Don’t remember giving permission to use that picture of my sink...

2  · 

That sink is a masterpiece Rando. I'm surprised you haven't won numerous design awards in Europe for that sucker. I'm envious of your skilz.

 · 
midlander

OP - I don't personally share your aesthetic goals for this project, but it seems totally thorough and fascinating in a curious way.


Look up Bruce Goff. I something similar in kind of an eccentric obsession with peculiar combinations of materials and disjointed but heavily designed spaces.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/10/t-magazine/bruce-goff-architecture-midwest.html

Aug 11, 20 10:12 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

That is really sculptural, not my cup of tea, for OP i would suggest check out this "Tucson Mountain Retreat by DUST". The house even made it to one Netflix house show.

1  · 
JLC-1

that is a very nice house, I would also suggest to look at the works of rick joy, master in rammed earth construction.

1  · 
ryanyoung

The Tucson house a friend told me about and that actually started my interest in RE. Goff is definitely fun to look at but is the opposite of the function over form approach I'm pushing for.

 · 
Jay1122

I know you prefer function over form, that is why i question why you have all these complex turns and elevation changes. Simple pure geometry is more suitable for this construction and raw aesthetic .

 · 
Jay1122

Although I am not a huge fan of rammed earth wall, feels like ancient developing world system. The look depends on specific earth mix, and it is not cheap to do in US. I prefer stud wall with batt, then CI, then rain screen cladding of choice. Anyway, below is a company that does quality insulated rammed earth system, check it out. Remember to do insulated rammed earth wall with foam insert. ​https://sirewall.com/sirewall-system/​

 · 

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