Archinect
anchor

Feedback on rough design for SW Florida

papergeek

I'm interested in any comments on this design concept. 2500sf, single-story, for Naples, Florida (Golden Gate Estates, Collier County). The house is roughly U-shaped with a walled-off courtyard. The center courtyard has a raised transparent rafter roof (using one of the hurricane-rated clear roofing materials) and the main roofs are monopitch truss sections joined with hipped corners.

The idea for a roofed courtyard (which is screened) is to provide light and rain shelter, with another area which has a shed roof. This is similar to a modern variant of an old style called nallukettu originating in Kerala, India (which also has a flood-prone wet climate).

Other than the master bath, the bathrooms are relatively small and utilitarian, with open plan interior and kitchen in the front right corner of the house. The idea is to try to manage construction costs by using conventional techniques and materials as much as possible (for example, truss sets, etc).

Concerns include calculating wind load (must be rated for 157mph in this area) and design of the "cap" shelter roof to withstand the potential extreme wind load (the support structure is steel). I haven't figured out a good way to design truss sets for the roof corner sections, which means that half the main roof is going to be stick built ($$). 

The full 4.2mb Sketchup file is here: https://drive.google.com/drive...

It's a bit hard to find examples of courtyard houses in wet climates for what I think are somewhat obvious reasons.

 
Oct 28, 21 3:57 pm
tduds

Are you an architect? 

Oct 28, 21 4:01 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

If I had to guess... it's another software p.eng.

Oct 28, 21 4:07 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

The house is just garbage.

Floor plan is wonky as fuck and you've clearly not payed any attention to the location by the choices you've made in regards to fenestration or sun shading.  

So, if this is a real project, stop fiddling around with things you don't understand and hire someone who does.

Oct 28, 21 4:11 pm  · 
6  · 
natematt

I thought the perspective was odd, then I looked at the plan. I can't visualize any house that i've ever seen laid out quite like that, and the scales of the spaces are wild. There is some McMansion Hell level of criticism due on the windows in front. 

Oct 28, 21 4:47 pm  · 
 · 
natematt

I'm curious if this person has examples they were looking at....

Oct 28, 21 4:49 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

There is the "nallukettu" Reference. Modern variant OP said. Do OP know those houses have no insulation and HVAC. The design principles are completely different from modern U.S. houses in Florida. One aspect we may not understand is the religious aspect. Maybe that tiny courtyard is where they pray? A divine space.

Oct 28, 21 5:28 pm  · 
 · 

For $500 I'll fix that floor plan for you and design something that doesn't suck.  It will be three trace paper sketches that you can't build from.  

This is the only advice I'm willing to give for free.  

Good luck. 

Oct 28, 21 4:50 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

Cheap price.

Oct 28, 21 4:56 pm  · 
 · 

Too expensive. There's a guy on Craiglist who will do the while job for $.07 / sq.ft.

Oct 28, 21 5:05 pm  · 
 · 

NS- I didn't say the design would be good.

Miles - The design won't be that bad though . . .

Oct 29, 21 10:23 am  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

I don't usually criticize houses as the designs are often personal. But this is just bad. Doing a small single house with a courtyard layout. It looks like a cheap ass low budget project, yet so many useless money wasting moves. Like the too tiny to do anything courtyard. Cant even plant a full size tree. Maybe enough to lay a table and chairs at the center. 4 Extra exterior walls just for that table and chair? Ugly transparent courtyard roof, just to cover the courtyard back, WDF? Narrow surround porch. I guess it is great when party people line up to accept your food as they do in the soup kitchen. Literally no interior circulation space. If you want to do low budget, make it efficient. If you are doing high end, make your space worthy of the waste.

BTW, small courtyard concepts exist. I've seen it done in urban setting. If you use four glazed storefront surrounding the courtyard wall. Put vegetations in that space. Make it an internal Garden. But courtyard it self is often a super luxurious item. Definitely not for a house like this one.

Oct 28, 21 5:15 pm  · 
 · 
joseffischer

nallukettu - roof is too flat and you don't cover the courtyard, you want water on the inside of your building (which is fine because you don't have a real inside since there is no A/C and everything is built out of water-resistant material).  You won't be able to get the wood from a traditional nallukettu as you would need the jungle wood they built out of to prevent rot. 

Also, I have a strong sense that the slaves/serfs/'help' spent a lot of time daily after each rain cleaning up the courtyard area.

Finally, I doubt you'll find anyone here steeped in the proportions to make a nallukettu work, unless someone did their thesis on it or something.  If someone came to me wanting an open courtyard plan, I'd do one of the 2 options already proposed, make it a lot bigger, or provide a glass grow-box within the building.  


Oct 28, 21 6:19 pm  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Don't listen to these people. Go with it. It rocks.










Oct 28, 21 6:28 pm  · 
 · 
Volunteer

If you are intending to go without air conditioning you should consider the French and English colonial houses of Louisiana that were influenced by the planters in the Caribbean when they settled in Louisiana. Also the houses of Savannah and Charleston. Basically the idea is to keep the air circulating through the house at all costs. Some of the ways they accomplished this was the use of very tall windows with the window sill almost to the floor, transom windows above the internal doors, wide porches.  Even the fireplace flue was left open in the summer to aid airflow. Also consider raising the structure at least 1/2 story above ground to allow for circulation and drying under the house.  Here is a modern take that shows some ideas. Really not sure about the atrium. It rains a tremendous amount in south Florida ( I lived there for three years). maybe a belvedere? 


Oct 28, 21 7:48 pm  · 
3  · 
ivanmillya

There are plenty of houses both new and old with courtyard designs around here, and a particular Charles Moore house on Captiva Island that was designed as connected "pods", which is a really neat way of dealing with the humidity if you live back in the 1970s. Go hire an architect, there are a ton of residential firms within the Southwest Florida region.

Oct 28, 21 7:56 pm  · 
1  · 
ivanmillya

Also to the OP... keep in mind that your engineer will have a harder time dealing with wind loads in this region if you're trying to stick frame your roof as opposed to using engineered trusses...They're cheaper, and more commonly used due to more efficient strap connections.

Oct 28, 21 7:59 pm  · 
2  · 
papergeek

I think this is the house you're referring to: https://www.architecturejoyceo...

Nov 1, 21 12:23 pm  · 
1  · 
ivanmillya

Yes, that Charles Moore house is the one!

Nov 1, 21 2:09 pm  · 
 · 
papergeek

Thank you for all the useful feedback. Let me address several questions in one post:

Yes, I am most definitely planning to hire an architect at some point. It probably would have been better to open with "this is an idea" rather than "this is a design." But I am also trying to do this on a not-rich-people budget, which means not full-service architecture and construction management.

This is most definitely air conditioned. I would have thought that a 2:12 pitch roof span is going to provide ample space for ductwork and insulation. There is an HVAC closet toward the bottom left of the floorplan.

The courtyard definitely makes the floor plan awkward. I believe this is why you often do not find a courtyard in houses less than 3500sf on the ground floor. One thing I can appreciate about architecture (in case it was not obvious from the outset

I started out really liking the idea of glass-walling the courtyard, but I felt that is going to add considerably to the cost. But that's the kind of thing I felt could be discussed once I'm ready to engage an architect. The purpose of the 22 ft-squared courtyard and additional 22 ft-squared area in the back with the shed roof is to have outdoor living space with privacy (and this is all screened, to keep out the state bird of Florida, the mosquito).

I'm definitely not looking for detailed free advice and at this stage I am ready to pay hourly or for informal sketches.

I think mentioning nallukettu is probably a bit misleading, since I couldn't find a single example of modern home design with a floor plan that mentions nallukettu, but quite a few examples of renderings that have a covered but outside-ventilated courtyard. But the point here is in Florida, an open courtyard is going to be a nice water trap when a storm rolls through, so it absolutely has to be covered.

Does there have to be a courtyard? Not absolutely, although having an empty space at the center of the house is a traditional design element that certainly doesn't require a courtyard.

Is there a purpose behind a porch that's 7ft wide? Yes, it provides some rain shelter when entering and exiting the house when it's pouring, and also reduces direct hot sun coming in through the windows. But even that is subject to question as it's more of a southwestern feature which may not fly well in a swampy mosquito-heavy environment (without being fully screened).

To @ivanmillya, your comment about truss assemblies is precisely what I'm concerned about, because although you can get monopitch assemblies made for half the main roof, the corner parts and the rear shed roof are all stick-built. Any problem with wind-load would make this a complete non-starter.

Once again, thank you. A few of these comments require some further reading but I thought getting a few things clear up front would be helpful.

Oct 29, 21 10:30 am  · 
1  · 

All good to know. Brining this type of information to your architect is a really good idea.

Good luck with your house design.  


Oct 29, 21 11:13 am  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

^ this... also, you're most likely going to recoup the architect's fee during construction anyways because what you pay them to do will equal savings on all the change-orders your do-it-yourself way will cause.

Oct 29, 21 11:16 am  · 
4  · 

To the OP - take a look at a style of house called a 'dog trott' It think it could lend itself well to what you're looking for.

Oct 29, 21 11:21 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Ha, OP is kinda dressing some of my comments. OP, tiny courtyard works, My issue is, is it worth the dollar you spent. The roof cover will have wind uplift from top and push from bottom. So you need quite some solid structures, need timbers and joists. The courtyard needs drainage, unless you make it water free, so extra site work and drainage along perimeter, extra foundation wall at the middle. The porch, you should calculate that Porch square feet. Almost 1/4 of your foot print, that is all money. Ah anyway, have fun. A custom house have to be custom. Otherwise why bother.

Oct 29, 21 5:07 pm  · 
 · 
papergeek

Yes, that was really the point of trying to elaborate the design this far - I think there end up being two major buildability issues (if that's the right term) one of which is having roughly only 3/8 of the roof buildable using engineered trusses, the other being a very large slab and additional foundation work. Without question an open small courtyard either needs serious drainage or has to be covered, and adding another roof to cover it gets expensive.

Nov 1, 21 12:09 pm  · 
 · 

paper - it would be much more beneficial for you to have this discussion with a designer / architect that you've hired.

Nov 1, 21 12:19 pm  · 
1  · 
papergeek

I agree. There are two obstacles to hiring an architect for a low-budget house (half million $$ USD is low-budget it seems):

Nov 2, 21 10:13 am  · 
 · 

You'll never get a custom home that size built in Florida for $500K. You're going to need to reduce the size of your building to around 1,700 sf to get within that budget and even then it's going to be tough.

All that being said - not hiring an architect to design your custom home is NOT the way to save any money.  To be blunt - you have no idea what you're doing.  You're going to make mistakes and decisions that will end up costing you more money than the 7% fee an architect could charge you for a design.  

Good luck.  

Nov 2, 21 10:18 am  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

Paper, notice how we're not solving any of your issues? That's because that's one of the services we provide to our paying clients. If you want answers and solutions to your house design questions, then hire an architect. Your house ideas are all over the place and make very little sense form both a constructability or basic space-planning pov. You need help and you're not going to get to anywhere useful by canvassing professionals for free advice.

Nov 2, 21 10:19 am  · 
1  · 

NS - I like how the OP was initially saying that he was going to hire an architect. I was hopeful the OP was being honest and not just trying to 'scam' free services out of people here. Now he's saying he can't hire an architect because it costs too much.

Papper - don't be a dishonest, cheap, bastard.

Nov 2, 21 10:25 am  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

I know Chad, it's one reason I reserved my comments but looks like it's just another software engineer's (presumably) attempt to DIY for cheap with no respect for the value we bring. I already explained up on top that the cost of the architect will be recouped during construction.

Nov 2, 21 10:53 am  · 
 · 

NS - I had hopes that he was a better person.

I'm sure he'll come back and say stuff like 'what's wrong with trying to get free advice?' and 'well I'm intelligent and don't think I need full services' or the best one 'you people won't get any work with an attitude like this'.  

It's almost comical how often posters like this are exactly the same.  

Nov 2, 21 11:33 am  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Chad, to add to this, it's likely this person also thinks they've done "most of the work" while in fact, they've done less than an hour or two from an architect's pov.

Nov 2, 21 12:20 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

500k for only construction is not too bad. Assume the usual suburb $300/sf. You can still get almost 1700 sf. With lot and other fees. Probably gets to 800K total cost. However, unless you are an architectural connoisseur that absolutely appreciates architecture quality and uniqueness over square footage. Buying an existing spec build is a much better deal. Resale value too. You don't want to go too cheap, otherwise, what is the difference between your custom and the spec build neighbor.

TL;DR Architecture is not poor people friendly. I would not even bother with less than $1M, unless you are in some super cheap construction middle of no where with no resale potential.

Nov 2, 21 2:07 pm  · 
2  · 

Here in my part of SW Florida, our contractors are telling us that custom homes even in the inland parts of the city ("inland" being used loosely here to mean anything that isn't on the water or island) are looking at upwards of $290/sf. That's the minimum. Prices are insane here, but supposedly material costs are starting to level out. It's mostly the labor costs for skilled trades that's still going up, up, up.

Nov 2, 21 2:45 pm  · 
1  · 

Thanks for repeating what I already said Jay, it's important.  :P


Nov 2, 21 3:20 pm  · 
 · 
justavisual

every room where one spends a lot of time - living spaces and beds esp should ideally have light/windows from 2 sides- also for cross vent

Nov 1, 21 4:01 pm  · 
 · 

On that budget you should go for some shipping containers.

Nov 2, 21 12:10 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

Great advice. OP can probably just pick them up for free next time a hurricane passes by and they float onto the beach.

Nov 2, 21 12:17 pm  · 
1  · 

Pffft. Those shipping containers will be all beat up and wet. Don't use wet shipping containers. They shrink.

Nov 2, 21 3:23 pm  · 
2  · 
Volunteer

He needs to hire an architect alright, but one from south Florida who has already designed houses he likes. Brad Pitt hired world-famous architects for his project after the Katrina hurricane and that project is an ongoing disaster with several of the architect-designed homes already being demolished or in line to be so. 

Nov 2, 21 12:27 pm  · 
 · 

Are you referring to the replacement housing for the general public?

Nov 2, 21 1:31 pm  · 
 · 

He has Sketchup, no architect required.

Nov 2, 21 3:49 pm  · 
2  · 
Volunteer

I am referring to Brad Pitt's Make it Right Foundation that sold homes to residents that were flooded out by Katrina. The residents are obligated to pay their mortgages to the banks but in many instances the homes are uninhabitable.

Nov 2, 21 4:03 pm  · 
 · 

That's what I thought you were referring to.

Nov 2, 21 4:36 pm  · 
 · 

Block this user


Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: