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The new dreamers & home of the free
A critique, examination and practice of the emerging phenomenon of “small home” building as an alternative to traditional and indebting American housing options.
CRISIS THE AVERAGE AMERICAN FAMILY
THE AVERAGE AMERICAN FAMILY
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
How the Spending Adds Up.
THE HOUSE IS WORTH $160,000
HAS $3,800 IN THE BANK
ON AVERAGE $3,000 ARE GIVEN BACK IN TAX RETURNS
BUT THE FAMILY OWES $95,000 ON IT TO THE BANK
AN INCOME OF $50,000 FALLS INTO THE 25% FEDERAL TAX BRACKET
THE MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME IN THE U.S. IS APPROXIMATELY
600,000 500,000 400,000 300,000
2262 SQ FT ENERGY STAR HOME IS LESS EFFECTIVE AT REDUCING GHG EMISSIONS AS A SMALLER HOME BUILT TO CODE
HAVING PAID 19% IN TAXES, $40,500 IS LEFTOVER AS DISPOSABLE INCOME
HAS NO MUTUAL FUNDS, STOCKS, OR BONDS.
INCOME - TAXES
THE FAMILY MAKES $43,000 A YEAR,
SMALL HOME 1633 SQ FT
STANDARD HOME 2262 SQ FT
HAS NO RETIREMENT ACCOUNT (50% OF AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS, THE OTHER 50% HAS $35,000 SAVED)
X-SMALL HOME 1149 SQ FT
AND CAN’T MANAGE TO PAY OFF A $2,200 CREDIT CARD BALANCE
LARGE HOME 3424 SQ FT
ENERGY STAR HOME HOMES BUILT TO CODE
Expenses & Purchases
LIVING THE disaster DREAM
the cost of buying A home over thirty years
THE AVERAGE AMERICAN SPENDS ABOUT OF THEIR DISPOSABLE INCOME, ACCORDING TO THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS.
PURCHASE PRICE OF A TYPICAL SINGLE FAMILY HOME 2007
DATA SOURCE: OREGON DEQ
43% OF AMERICANS SPEND MORE THAN THEY EARN
DOWN PAYMENT $58,000
Savings THE REMAINING
350 million Btus
INTEREST @ 6.41% $195,00
U.S. primary energy consumption per capita 210 million Btus
MAINTENANCE $108,000 ($300/MO)
How Do Americans Compare Globally?
983 sq. ft.
average sq. footage of a new single-family home
welcome home; a 15k small house
PURCHASE PRICE OF A TYPICAL SMALL FAMILY HOME
TAXES & INSURANCE $180,000
average size of household in 2010 2.53
average size of household in 1950 3.37
GOING FOR BROKE?
6% IS SAVED
2,438 sq. ft.
REPAIRS & IMPROVEMENTS $300,000
TAXES & INSURANCE $6,000 REPAIRS & IMPROVEMENTS $20,000
COST OF HOME $20,000 MAINTENANCE $7,200 ($20/MO)
The Brief: Design and build a small house for a couple with two cats in Portland. The build out will be DIY. Total price tag: $15,000 ($10,000 materials % $5,000 labor). Design time frame: January 2013 - March 2013. Construction time frame: April 2013 - May 2013 _Important Criteria :
Simple Low Cost Energy Efficient High Quality Modular
choosing the site
ETHICS DROVE MY NEED TO DESIGN AN ENERGY EFFICIENT HOUSE It’s important for the house to perform well without wasting money on heating and cooling, not only to provide low operation costs for the client but also to minimze the environmental impact. Because of this, passive strategies were adopted to heat, cool, and light the house wherever possible. The shed design allows for proper ventilation and protect the interior spaces from radiant heat. Designing and building sustainably enables the owner to spend money on other living expenses like food and transportation.
The Maximum House addresses the need for a simple, quality, modern home with an unbeatable price tag. Maximum House is limitless living in a limited space. Housing that convention may find small, but has a hidden quality of bigness, that is buildable, livable, affordable. Maximum House celebrates housing as the most valuable design problem. Since World War II the American Dream has been to own a home of one’s own. That dream is slipping away. The price of housing is rising faster than the incomes of many. The current generation is the first to be economically worse off then their parents. Homeownership remains out of reach. Living in debt has become the norm. The fact of the future is more people on less land.
Small is not only beautiful it is mandatory, particularly in America where people on average have three times as much living space as anywhere else, and where five-bedroom houses sit largely empty in gated communities, where formal rooms get heated but are unused for 364 days of the year. When 67% of us are 1 or 2 person households, what is all that space really for?
We are a nation obsessed with square footage, on the number of bedrooms and baths. But square footage is not a true gauge of quality, efficiency, or good or poor design. If anything it is a gauge of time lost. Time you will lose to cleaning, maintaining, working longer hours to pay for, and being apart from loved ones who are always somewhere else, in some other room. Maximum House is designed to work for you not against you.
The Maximum House does not cater to the unachievable utopian dreams of architects. In fact it is a retort to the kind of architecture that focuses on the iconic free-standing residence. Rather, it projects an optimistic vision for a surrounding environment of tight spaces, small plots, and high-density urban living that is innately flexible and social. The city is where the majority of the world wants to live. The Maximum House allows you to live there too, but with no mortage or debt to weigh you down.
Small does not mean inadequate or uncomfortable. It means human, inviting, and cozy. The Maximum House is extremely efficient and compact, yet spacious. It encompasses all the domestic needs of a home many times larger. Small is the new large.
1 2 3
cross-ventilation strategy via operable openings balanced daylighting/indirect lighting thermal mass
4 5 6
minimal impact via concrete pier and post deep eaves overhang to inhibit solar gain major rooms orientated to the south
Instead of size, let’s focus on the home as a connection, as a place where we spend time together, as a place where we love, where we cry, where we sleep, and dream. The Maximum House is made for the world we live in now. It can float along with changes over time. In today’s society, there are no longer borders based on simplified functions. Instead, a relationship of overlapping spaces is established. Any room can be for eating or reading or hanging out. The Maximum House is comfortable. Its domestic spaces are imbued with informality. With intermediate spaces, chance spaces, private spaces that shift easily to public and back again. We want the freedom to occupy a space with an unintended function – to provide a platform for multiple stories to unfold. To simplify. Create. Grow.
After several site visits, the following site was chosen. Roughly 4.6 miles from campus, or 11 minutes by car, it’s close to downtown and easily accessed of I-5. The neighborhood is residential with single-family homes. The lot abutts Marshall Park on the backside and faces an active thouroughfare (SW Taylors Ferry Road) for the project to be highly visible and a driveway to allow ease of asscessibility. The lot itself is part af a larger lot with a primany single-famly residence. The owner will, at some point, sell this narrow portion of their lot. The lot will work with the flexibility of the scheme that has been chosen. It will be easy to situate the house for the best orientation with windows facing north and south.
traditional house floor plan
Analytical drawing construct to allow for an understanding of spatial relationships within a specific room typology leading to a deductive method of design. BEDROOM
Analytical drawing construct to allow for an understanding of spatial relationships within a specific room typology leading to a deductive method of design. home redrawn illustrating actual use
Analytical drawing construct to allow for an understanding of spatial relationships within a specific room typology leading to a deductive method of design. LIVING ROOM
Analytical drawing construct to allow for an understanding of spatial relationships within a specific room typology leading to a deductive method of design. The outer ring offer solutions for inefficiencies presented in the previous studies and how I can make changes to make spaces that we love to come home to.
Analytical drawing construct to allow for an understanding of spatial relationships within a specific room typology leading to a deductive method of design.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
CHAIRS HIS DESK
CAT LITTER BOX
HIS CLOTHES HER CLOTHES SHOES CAT STORAGE OUT OF SEASON CLOTHES BATH STUFF a. TOILETRIES b. MEDICINE 7. TOILET PAPER 8. LINENS/BATH TOWELS 9. SHOWER SUPPLIES a. SHAMPOO/CONDITIONER/SOAP 10. BATHROOM GARBAGE 11. KITCHEN CABINETS DISHES 12. KITCHEN POTS/PANS 13. CABINETS FOOD STORAGE 14. CABINETS UTENSILS 15. CABINETS VARIOUS BOWLS 16. ALCOHOL STORAGE 17. KITCHEN GARBAGE 18. KITCHEN RECYLCING 19. KITCHEN COMPOST 20. TOOLS 21. EXTRA MISC STORAGE 22. BOOKS 23. HAMPER
41 3 111 13 3 1
STORAGE 24” W 20” D 72” H 48” W 20” D 72” H 24” W 20” D 12” H 14” W 24” D 7” H 48” W 20” D 72” H 12” W 8” D 20 H 18” W 4” D 24” H 24” W 14” D 7” H 8” W 3” D 10” H 10” W 10” D 12” D 24” W 24” D 10 H” 24” W 24” D 10 H” 24” W 24” D 10 H” 24” W 24” D 4 H” 24” W 24” D 10 H” 12” W 12” D 24” H 12” W 18” D 24” H 12” W 8” D 8” H PORTLAND COMPOST PAIL 20” W 24” D 12” H 16” W 16” D 24” H
FURNITURE 80 W” 36” D 31.5” H IKEA KARLSTAD 50”w x 26”d x 17.75”h. RUSTIC STORAGE WEST ELM 64”Wx82”Dx9.5”H STOWAWAY QUEEN BED CB2 18” W 18” L 18” H BLOQ NATURE BY BINQ DESIGN
30” W 14” D 4” H (FOR IMAC WITH KEYBOARD) 30” W 14” D 4” H (FOR IMAC WITH KEYBOARD) 24” W 16” D 20” H
33.5” H x 24” W x 25.25” D (2.3 CU. FT.) LG WASHER/DRYER COMBO) 24” W 22.5” D 34” H FISHER & PAYKEL DISHDRAWER TALL) 23” W x 67 5/8” H x 24 5/8”D LG ELECTRONICS LRBP1031W 30” W 10” D 18” L
<1 <1 52
FLAT SCREEN TV TOILET
40. BATH SINK
BATH SHOWER HIS COMPUTER
a catalogue of stufftuff
113 3 4
MUSICAL a. GUITAR/BASSES/AMP VACUUM a. 10” W 7’ D 44” H ( ELECTROLUX ERGO RAPIDO 2 IN ONE STICK) b. 24.6 W x 19.1” D x 5.5” H (IROBOT ROOMBA)
11:38 am 11:40 am
a day in the life in the average american home
bedroom alarm goes off phone side table get up bathroom sit on toilet pee, use toilet paper start shower grab hair thing from doorknob to put up hair look out window & see snow turn on fan get in shower double shower head but when max uses it it splashes on me using soap that slimes up bathtub sill shower curtain needs washing turn off shower step out from tub grab towel from towel bar hate when its still damp dry off, place towel back grab robe from hook off door go to sink take toothpaste from cupboard take toothbrush on sill apply paste why is there never a good spot for the toothbrush brush teeth, look into mirror take jojoba lotion from shelf apply to face and arms bedroom get dressed, clothes in dresser grab water bottle from side table take laptop out from suitcase (back from vegas last night) downstairs to living room drop off laptop & water on coffee table no work table in here at least it is warm see cat puke damn kitchen cats are whining, take nutritional yeast snack from cupboard put into cat bowls watch them feast for two seconds wish the bowls weren’t always there on the floor every time you walk into the kitchen grab tissues living room clean cat puke kitchen tissues into trash wash hands with soap in sink open fridge, look for food remind myself to go to store look in cupboard, see oatmeal turn on stovetop, check kettle already full w/ water I use only 1 burner out of 4 When do I ever use all 4? grab bowl and spoon from drawer kettle whistles oatmeal from packet to bowl pour water over oatmeal living room sit down on couch oatmeal on coffee table open laptop, use remote turn on t.v. to news use laptop, email & work eat oatmeal kitchen put empty bowl into sink living room back to couch and laptop work kitchen time for chocolate treat in fridge living room it is freezing, turn up heat to 62 make phone calls end phone calls upstairs to bathroom use toile, poop & toilet paper wash hands downstairs to living room pass stack of papers & mags on steps haunts me with its unused space work on laptop max comes home for lunch leave house had lunch, went to whole foods saw site got popcorn at Jenkins max goes back to work come home to living room laptop work upstairs to bathroom toilet break #1 living room so so cold turn heat up again to 63 researching compact ovens on laptop uploaded a post to the blog go outside for a quick walk & to freeze butt off call cynthia, courtney back inside kitchen refill water bottle take last night’s avocado peels off butcherblock counter open door to outside go outside put avocado peels in compost bucket back inside kitchen put breakfast bowl from sink into dishwasher grabbed cat iggy off of counter they shouldn’t go on the counters he whines for food i grab more yeast from the cupboard right into their bowl grab scissors to open packages on table open package my favorite vanille du mexique perfume go upstairs to bathroom put perfume in cabinet go downstairs to living room work on laptop writing anecdotal stories about growing up in various houses go upstairs to bathroom use toilet/paper wash hands living room back to work max comes home hanging out on couch leave house go to store back home go upstairs to bedroom coat off put on robe downstairs to kitchen grab plate and fork max is making soup on stove living room put plate and fork on coffee table you can smell soup cooking kitchen grab cat food from fridge put cat food in food bowl living room eat kale salad and watch homeland dinner done kitchen plates in sink washed dishes take up room in the sink as they dry puts the sponge in an awkward spot living room hanging out on couch playing with cats and feather iggy is tearing it up going outside grab some food supplies back home to kitchen groceries in cupboard and fridge coconut water drink max starts oven to make tea again only one burner is used living room back to work work break hang out on couch with max sipping some stinging nettle tea he made tastes kind of chocolaty go upstairs bedroom change out of clothes put dirty clothes in laundry bin a basket that take up room in the corner bathroom brush teeth max has to wait for me to finish bedroom plug in phone and computer a mess of wires on the floor need a place for everything and everything in its place put radio on shut light only max has a dimmer sleep
a breakdown of room typology traditional house design based on intended use & typical typologies
FINISHED SQ FT. UNFINISHED SQ FT. TOTAL SQ FT. LOT SIZE
2 1 1905 SINGLE FAM. RES.
BEDS BATHS YEAR BUILT STYLE
a temporal/spatial poem of sorts over a day
3 a critique of the average american home 1,278 818 1,896 1,667
A close look into a typical day in my life at home, from rise to fall, observing how we live and where we tend to hang out, noting which rooms are used and not used, as well as how often and for what reason. The main takeaway of this study was I spend litttle time in much of my house and where I do spend time it would be best to do away with borders based on simplified functions and instead establish a realtionship of overlapping spaces.
RUVATI STAINLESS 30” UNDERMOUNT 24” W x 2.5 H x 14 L TRUE INDUCTION DOUBLE BURNER 24” W 24.68 D 29.62 H MAYTAG 24” ELECTRIC WALL OVEN 29” W x 3.7” DEPTH 17.5” H SAMSUNG LED HDTV 32” 14.17” H x 20.47” W x 15.75” D S20 WALL MOUNTED TOILET IN WHITE VITRA BY NAMEEKS ($257) 40” W 19.25” D 3 7/8” L BRAVIKEN ($250) IKEA DOUBLE SINK
25.6” W 8” D 20” H APPLE IMAC) 25.6” W 8” D 20” H (APPLE IMAC)
Design process and iterations
SCHEME 1 TOTAL SQ. FT.:
292 220 72
SCHEME 2 TOTAL SQ. FT.:
GROUND FLOOR LOFT
336 240 96
SCHEME 3 TOTAL SQ. FT.:
GROUND FLOOR LOFT
260 180 80
GROUND FLOOR LOFT
ONE FLOOR WITH LOFT
ONE FLOOR WITH LOFT
ONE FLOOR WITH LOFT
COVERED ENTRY SPACIOUS WRAPAROUND PORCH LOFT NOT ACCESIBLE KITCH. & BATH DO NOT SHARE PLUMBING WALL CLERESTORY & GARAGE DOOR DON’T OPPOSE EACHOTHER FOR BEST VENTILATION
COVERED PORCH & COVERED ENTRY KITCH. & BATH SHARE PLUMBING WALL SPACIOUS GARAGE WINDOW & CLERESTORY OPPOSITE FOR GOOD VENTLATION STATEGY LOFT NOT ACCESIBLE
COVERED FRONT PORCH COVERED ENTRY TIGHT KITCHEN LOFT NOT ACCESIBLE KITCH. & BATH DON’T SHARE PLUMBING WALL BIG WINDOW OPENINGS ARE NOT DIRECTLLY OPPOSITE FOR VENTILATION
a symbology of activities It is not a house built by a checklist of specs, but a house driven by a philosophy and good design; more what you DO than what you HAVE that makes it a home A PLACE FOR ACTIVITIES/RELANTIONSHIPS TO UNFOLD AN ARCHIECTURE THAT IS SPATIAL, SENSORY, MULTIVALENT a place to put shoes, hang coats, hats & bags coming in the door a place to grow lively plants a place to wash hands a place to cleanse your body a place for everyday clothing to be hung a place for seasonal clothing to be put away a place to cut vegetable and fruits a place to sit, relax, watch tv after a long day a place to retreat, to sleep or be sick a place to sit and share a meal with family and friends a place to use home computer, work, draw, write a place to play instruments a place for taking a pee and poo a place to sit with a glass of wine by oneself after a long day a place to park a car or one’s bike a quiet place to read a place to view your books and special things on display a place to fix things a place to hang your hat a place to exercise a place to warm up water for a cup of tea a place to be alone a place to talk on the phone a place to argue a place to worry about the future and past a place for the cats to eat and poop and sleep a place to throw away garbage and recycling a place for composting food scraps
designing in 1:1 scale
TOTAL SQ. FT.:
TOTAL SQ. FT.:
COVERED FRONT PORCH BATH & KITCH. SHARE PLUMBING WALL GOOD FOR ACCESSIBILITY NOT AS SPACIOUS WTHOUT HEIGHT
COVERED FRONT PORCH COVERED ENTRY BATH & KITCH. SHARE PLUMBING WALL GOOD FOR ACCESSIBILITY MURPHEY BED ALLOWS FOR MULTIFUNCTIONS NOT AS SPACIOUS WTHOUT HEIGHT
SCHEME 6 TOTAL SQ. FT.:
312 LOWER: 216 LOFT: 96
STACKED << 2 FLOOR PLAN
COVERED FRONT PORCH & ROOF PORCH KITCHEN/BATHROOM SHARED PLUMBINGPANEL EXTRA COST WITH EXTERIOR STAIR
why shed? A shed roof atop a simple rectangular box met the requirement for simplicity of construction, low-cost, and energy efficiency. The more sides a roof has the more complicated the construction will be. Shed roofs with their single surface are the simplest to construct. Also, since the shed style roof has a single face that slopes down along the entire surface of the building, rainwater and snow easily slides off the roof surface. Of all roof styles, the shed roof has the fewest components and therefore is one of the most inexpensive roofs one can build. No expensive flashing is needed and there are no hips or valleys to construct. Another advantage is having the upper windows operable, taking advantage of the “chimney effect” in summer, venting hot air out. And if one wants active solar, the long, flat lines of the shed style roof adapt well to green building design that use solar panels to generate electricity. Another great advantage of a shed roof is its versatility. The ends can be covered or left open on a shed roof. Extend the roof and you can have a covered porch area. The overhanging eaves can also help in avoiding solar heat gain in summer while allowing sunlight to enter in winter.
CUT & PUSH FACADE
CUT & PUSH FACADE
PUSH FRONT FACE
CUT & PUSH FACADE
CUT & PUSH FACADE
PUSH SIDE FACE
MAKE LOFT & PORCH
MAKE LOFT & PORCH
CUT & PUSH STACKED BOXES
CUT & PUSH
The modularity of the Maximum House allows for the simplest design, lowest cost compared to traditional building methods, the most rapid to erect, and the most structurally sound. Sandwich panels ensure that the home can be built from a set of pre-cut parts (preassembled wall sections) in a matter of three to four weeks with four people. Using conventional materials the Maximum House can be yours with little assembly time and low cost.
basic parts + minimum labor = modular house
THE maximum house in 7 weeks KLARA ROBBE
week one /// clear & excavate lot
2” x 4” stud
/// post & pier foundation
/// add girders
week two /// 4’ x 8’ panel assembly
week three /// ship panels to site
week four /// install wall panels onto bottom plate
week five /// lift loft panel into place
week six /// install roof panels
/// assemble door panels
/// screw floor panels together through sheathing & spline “L” brackets connect floor panels to girders
/// Screw panels together through embedded splines
/// lay top plate into groove on top of wall
/// install windows and doors
/// assemble window panels
/// screw wall bottom plate to floor
/// finish wall assembly
/// install loft wall panels
/// install trim and siding finishes