Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Drawings en route

After a visit to the building department I came to find that the 520 University property line extends up past the next two lots - about double the land I had been planning for. This adds a little more work and lot more opportunity for developing outdoor spaces.

The existing lot - a field of broken up asphalt - will be torn up as soon as the city permits it. Unfortunately the potential for hazardous leaching makes use as a building material limited, but it can be sent to a recycling center where it will be ground up for road material.

If I'm able to find a brick house which is coming down and hasn't been claimed yet (glazed brick has a relatively high resale value, and is often claimed quickly), the lower part of that lot will be a permeable paving system. Arranging the brick into a particular pattern will create cavities to be filled with soil and grass. Water can then flow naturally into the ground instead of installing an expensive runoff and drainage system. It also means a nicer semi-green space when not acting as a parking lot.

There are grand plans for the upper part of the lot still in the sketching phase, including a community garden, sculpture garden, open-air amphitheater and stage, secret chicken coop, and honeybee security system.

The other major removal-to-be is the unoriginal addition to the North side of the house. A collapsing roof, caving foundation, and generally cheap construction make this portion of the house not worth preserving. To repair the foundation at its original terminating point will be much more feasible, and the materials from the deconstruction can go toward other weak points in the house. The basement void left by the removal will be used for a 2000+ gallon cistern for rain water collection before being back-filled.

Originally planned as a live-work building, strict (and expensive) sprinkler requirements have demanded otherwise. I'm shifting the building toward a "congregate housing" situation - consisting of private sleeping quarters that share all common spaces, which for the most part follow the same codes as a single-family residence. While this means there won't be any "formal" public space, it also means no sprinkler system, less demanding bathroom and parking requirements, and more relaxed accessibility and egress routes.

The second floor will host four bedrooms for artist residencies, a full bath, a reading room, roof access, and a guestroom disguised as a storage room so a larger window doesn't have to be added.

The exterior aesthetics of the building are strictly governed by the Historic District Commission. Windows, siding, roofing, fences, chimneys, planters, and any change to the building (additive or subtractive) must be be approved before building can begin. For that reason, experiments will mostly have to be inside of the house, while the exterior remains relatively plain.

The next, and most challenging drawing set is the section, which will reveal all of the building details - down to the spacing of nails - for anything which is a change of the original structure. A series of highlighted points within the section below will continue to be scaled up and detailed, including the footing, foundation wall, floor connection, wall construction, eave detail, truss design, roof deck, inner load bearing wall, and the railing for the space which overlooks the double-height space.

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