The Florida Solar Cracker House – an energy efficient, solar-powered home

What is passive house?

  •  A passive house is a building in which a comfortable interior climatecan be maintained without active heating and cooling systems.
  •  The house heats and cools itself, hence “passive”.
  • cost-effective
  • Passive design is design that does not require mechanical heating or   cooling.
  • Homes that are passively designed take advantage of natural energy flows to maintain thermal comfort.

Following are the basic features that distinguish passive house construction:

  • Compact form and good insulation.
  • Southern orientation and shade considerations {0.15 W/(m²K) }
  • Energy-efficient window glazing and frames {0.80 W/(m²K) , 50% }
  • Passive preheating of fresh air (above 5°C )
  • Hot water supply using regenerative energy sources

Incorporating the principles of passive design :

  • Significantly improves comfort.
  • Reduces or eliminates heating and cooling bills.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions from heating, cooling, mechanical  ventilation and lighting.

INTRODUCTION :

  • location & area : The house is near the middle of 60 acre southwest of Jacksonville , North Florida.
  • Designed by: Randy Cullom & his wife  L.Elizabeth

What is the climate of north Florida?

  • From mid-April to mid-October is generally hot and humid.
  • Daytime temperature varies from 90 – 70 *f.
  • Cool nights and warm, but not hot, days, and low to    moderate humidity.
  • December and January can be cold, with several to about a dozen freezing spells.
  • Rainfall is more uniform throughout the year in northern Florida.
  • Cool season rainfall (meaning the 6 months from mid-October until mid-April), from 2″ to 4″ per month.       

Features:

  • South-facing windows and doors
  • Windows are designed to reflect heat
  • No flat ceilings to allow air to stagnate
  • Both parts of the house are very open• windows or doors on each wall for good cross-ventilation.
  • Isolate the hot, humid kitchen and bath areas from the remaining living space
  • A cupola provides a very efficient way to bring natural light inside without allowing direct radiation to enter the house.
  • Most important building material in house is wood ( timber )
  • Cistern which can be used to collect rainwater for all household water needs
  • No fossil fuels
  • Use of the Composting Toilet (black water and gray water)
  • In a typical household, 35 to 45% of all household potable water is flushed down the toilet
  • Wooden cook stove
  •  Hot water for household use is mainly provided by a solar collector.
  • Able to generate a current or voltage when exposed to visible light or other electromagnetic radiation

The two-story greenhouse :

  • Temperature-moderating thermal mass .
  • Passive solar heating in the winter.
  • Open to the kitchen .
  • Food production.
  • 2500 square foot organic garden.
  • High level openable windows capture winter sun & create cooling currents in summer.
  • No Stagnancy of wind

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Modern bamboo architecture

Introduction:

It is a fact that literature about bamboo in modern architecture is hard to find. At this time bamboo is just used as a forming and constructive element.  Bamboo was introduced to Europe through some sporadic organizations and
trial projects. In regions where bamboo is domestic, it was not just integrated in culture, but even in architecture. The logical conclusion is that architects of these regions are more interested in presenting the qualities of this material to us.

Bamboo has the image of being the building material of the poorer class, for example in Colombia the upper class especially prefers concrete. In India the highest caste builds with stone, the middle castes use wood and only the lowest castes use bamboo. The material bamboo is not standardized so people in Europe are confronted with difficulties, if they want to build with bamboo.

Nevertheless some famous architects and engineers already made their experiments with this natural product. The qualities of bamboo are also appreciated by Renzo Piano. He was interested in combining light metal elements [tubes /slabs] with bamboo. In this way there arise intersections between bamboo- and modern light metal- constructions, Arata Isozaki, Buckminster Fuller und Frei Otto.

Modern bamboo- architects:

Simón Vélez:

Vélez is a graduate architect, from the University of Colombia in Bogotá. He was born in Manizale/ Colombia in 1949 and has completed over 100 projects using concrete, bamboo (Guada Angustafolia), mangrove wood, woven palm mat lathing (or expanded metal lath) and clay roof tile. Simón Vélez works from Bogotá, Colombia, South America. As much of his work has been in very rural areas for ranchers, he has been allowed to experiment with the locally available materials due to a lack of a regulating authority and the relative difficulty of importing the standard building materials of brick and mortar.Vélez has developed a very interesting model for building experimental structures. He builds only with his own well-trained crew of workers, so he is able to constantly draw upon past successes and failures in detailing. He intentionally keeps drawings simple, usually freehand on single sheets of 8×11 graph paper. Cad- drawings only are made for the purchaser or for building improvements. The clearest concept to be seen in his drawings is the necessity for balance. These cantilevers are very large, but maintain an obvious center of gravity over the support. The main mistake some architects do is to use bamboo like wood. His efforts are trials, because he always tries to plan with respecting bamboo and its peculiarities. Very often bamboo only was tested on compression, but the real quality exists in its capability to compense shear tension. Vélez used this in his framework constructions, which were able to cantilever more than 9 meters and to strain about 27 meters. 1998 Simón Vélez took part in a summer-workshop in Boisbuchet/France, which was arranged by the Vitra Design Museum and the Center Georges Pompidou. At this opportunity he realized his first project in Europe – a garden pavilion. One year later he set up a prototype of a ‘low-cost-house’, which could be built by the inhabitants. The building is extremely resistant to earthquakes and is based on bamboo and loam. It has 60 square meters divided on two floors and the value in Columbia is about 5000$. Most of his buildings served to create a good image of bamboo even in higher social class of Columbia. This may be the way to integrate and establish bamboo next to concrete, steel, wood and stone as a full building material.

Shoei Yoh

Shoei Yoh was born in 1940 in Kumamoto-City/Japan.1970 he founded his office ‘ShoeiYohArchitects’ .In his long career he won many architecture prizes and at this time he teaches at the ‘Graduate School of Keio University’. In two projects he used bamboo as main static structure. He also designed a geodetic cupola [1989]. He also attended with ‘grating- shell construction’ .In Chikuho-Fukuoka he was inspired by the local artisans.

Rocco Yim:

The “Festival of Vision” in summer 2000 connects the cities Berlin and Hong Kong, while both are in a time of change and reorientation. The ‘House of the Cultures of the World’ demonstrates in this context the important attitude to contemporary art made in Hong Kong. In this context the pavilion of the architect Rocco Yim from Hong Kong was distinguished in front of the ‘House of the Cultures of the World’ in a lake. Bamboo on the one hand has an essential meaning for his static structure for high buildings, on the other hand for temporary stages or Chinese
festivals.

Michael McDonough:

Michael McDonough is an architect and furniture designer, who discovered bamboo some years ago. Since that time he attended with the possibilities of this material. After some furniture designs he wanted to realize his project ‘Mendocino high-tech Bamboo Bridge’ in 2000 . This should be a demonstration of the constructive qualities of bamboo. This framework construction is able to strain over 33 meters and is also able to compensate more than 60 times of its own weight. The static structure is based on the principle of ‘tensegrity’, which was coined by Buckminster Fuller and Robert Le Ricolais. “The word ‘tensegrity’ is an invention: a contraction of ‘tensional integrity.’ Tensegrity describes a structural-relationship principle in which structural shape is guaranteed by the finitely closed, comprehensively continuous, tensional behaviors of the system and not by the discontinuous and exclusively local compressional member behaviors. Tensegrity provides the ability to yield increasingly without ultimately breaking or coming asunder.” (“Synergetics”, by R. Buckminster Fuller ).

Darrel DeBoer:

The architect Darrel DeBoer lives in Alameda/ California. He was inspired by the buildings of Simon Velez. During the time he worked at different books and he arranged the moving exhibition with the topic ‘resource-efficient building components’ . Furthermore he is responsible for the straw-baleproject. Timothy Ivory Timothy Ivory is the Director of Design for BambooFurniture.com and trained originally as a theatrical designer at the University of Michigan and New York University, receiving his MA in Design from University of Michigan. He also studied Pantomime with Marcel Marceau’s mentor , Etienne Decroux and at the L’Ecole de Cirque Nationale de Paris. He is now designing and building original pieces by commission and developing a line of Bamboo furniture. His past work has included creating theatrical environments mixing six foot masks on bamboo poles with fabric as wings, staging performance pieces mixing circus, theatre and bamboo sculpture and creating temporary or transitional structures to educate as to the benefits of building with bamboo as a green/sustainable material. In 1995 he created a Bamboo Pool Bar and also a Massage Spa Shade Structure using Tonkin Cane Bamboo at the Delano Hotel. He also designed and built a pool house using Guaduas Angustifolia from Colombia.

Research:

Oscar Hidalgo:

Oscar Hidalgo, also a Colombian architect, was born in a bamboo house in Chinchina . He is focused on research and science, but he also realized some bamboo projects. He traveled to Asia, Costa Rica and Brazil for his profession.
Jules Janssenn Dr. Jules J.A. Janssen is a well-known expert in the field of bamboo as a building and engineering material. He has been keynote speaker on several congresses, and has acted as a member of steering committees, chairman in several sessions, and referee of papers submitted for congresses. Further he has acted as member of committees for Ph.D. studies at several Universities and has been the supervisor of the National Bamboo Project in Costa Rica from 1987 till 1995.

BAMBUCO

BAMBUCO is the group of artists and climbers brought together by Artistic Director Simon Barley to create unique aerial performance construction events. Simon has been designing performance space and building site specific installations for some years, with an emphasis on exploration of aerial space. Study of bamboo construction followed from an interest in lightweight structures. After research in SE Asia and a period as a trainee scaffolder at Kowloon Bay CITA, Hong Kong, he collaborated with the contemporary dance company Danceworks to produce the giant bamboo installation BRIDGE for
Melbourne International Festival 1995. The crowds gathering to watch the builders at work confirmed the idea of a
spectacular construction process viewed as a performance event. BAMBUCO has a core artistic and management group based in Melbourne, Australia. Construction crews are drawn from many countries. Construction involves techniques adapted from modern rock climbing – although the work appears dangerous, attention to safety at height is given the highest priority. Once on site they add to this a sense of humor in several languages and a willingness to engage with the audience. “The intention is always upward, the imagery muscular, architectural.”

Land Art:

Hiroshi Teshigahara:

The Japanese artist Teshigahara uses bamboo- ledges to make landscapesculptures landscape- installations from
bent bamboo- blades

Antoon Versteegde:

This sculpture was made in cooperation of the Environmental Bamboo Foundation, the trust De Lutteltuin and the artist Anton Versteegde. It was installed within a touring exhibition at different sites.

“…..Meanwhile classical standards have become obstacles for lively arts. The artist only can recover his liberty by temporary installations, by the design of vulnerable objects, that pass like organic time bombs or are destroyed by
vandalism. A dynamic work of art only becomes alive outside the museum…” (Antoon Versteegde)

Stephen Glassman:

Stephen Glasssman is an American artist who develops among others things free form strudtural bamboo siteworks.
This bridge was calculated ba Oscar Hidalgo. It was installed in Ubud/ Bali in 1995.

Ecological orientated architecture:

This project by the engineers and designers Darren Port and Mark Roberts unites bamboo with straw- bale architecture. This building in Puerto Rico is called “hooch” by the owner. The bamboo- construction is put up on an existing concrete base with cesstank and is used like a bedroom. sun- collectors on the roof produce current for a ventilator and a small lamp.

Architects/ engineers/ specialists:

Architects and designers

  •  Prof. Cassandra Adams; Prof. at UC Berkeley specialized in construction, mainly in environment and Japanese construction
  • Jorge Arcila, Marizales – South America – “stacked house”
  • Darrel DeBoer, California
  • Doug La Barre; USA, manufacturing facility for creating laminated lumber from imported Guada
  • Bobby Manoso, Philippines
  • Michael McDonough
  • Carlos Vegara; Cali – South America (deceased ) – whole houses from bamboo, multi column system, loads carried by septum of the bamboo
  • Simón Vélez, South America
  • Marcelo Villegas, South America
  • Rocco Yim, Asia
  • Shoei Yoh, Asia

Specialists

  • Karl Bareis
  • Wolfgang Eberts
  • Prof. Jules A. Janssen
  • Oscar Hidalgo

Artists

  • Anton Versteegde
  • Teshigahara

Literature

  • Vitra Design Museum, Grow your own house .

Reference:

  •  http://europa.eu.int/comm./dg10/culture/program-2000_en.html on 08.02.2000, 22:00
  • straw bale- architecture
  • Mendocino Bridge by McDonough
  • Shoei Yoh – ‘grating shell construction’ in photos
  • construction principles of the whire by Anton Versteegde

Daniel Burnham – FLATIRON BUILDING

The Legend

  • One of the New York’s most famous Buildings
  • This Landmark building has moved and generated Utmost public opinion and interest.
  • The first building to become a romantic symbol of New York.
  • Buildings tend to achieve temporary Monumentalism.

Quick facts

Location

  • Street 175 5th Avenue and Broadway
  • Postcode 10010
  • Zone Ladies Mile
  • Neighborhood Flatiron
  • Borough Manhattan
  • City New York City
  • Country U.S.A.

Statistics

  • Height 87 m 285 ft
  • Floors (OG) 21
  • Year (end) 1902

Daniel Hudson Burnham, (1846-1912)

  • Born in Henderson, New York
  •  He established (1873) a partnership with John W. Root
Famous Works:
  • Monadnock Building
  • Masonic Temple
  • Reliance Building
  • Rookery” offices
  • Wanamaker store in New York
  • World,s Columbian Exposition

Unique features of Flatiron Building?

  • Landmark.
  • Type of Construction.
  • The first kind of qualified Skyscraper.
  • Its unique shape.
  • Kind of Architecture.
  • Public Opinion and its role.

Landmark

On the Left is Broadway and on the right is the 5th Avenue

What it takes to be a landmark

  • Location.
  • Public Interest.
  • Uniqueness and quality of Architecture.
  • The image generated by a building

Type of Construction:

  • Structural steel works — 3,680 tons of it
  • Steel Column and clear office floor space type construction
  • Bent steel frames used for the first time for support

Shape

  • distinctive shape adopted by Burnham
  • The wind tunnel effect
  • The site itself was triangular. A need based design by Burnham.

Type of Architecture

  • Style: beaux arts
  • Burnham Baroque: This style was developed by Burnham and used this in Reliance building which he built after the death of Root.
Beaux Arts
  • Nested Motifs-close up view
  • Front corner-close up view
  • Named after the Êcole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, this style is a subset of neo-classicism with several refinements
Features of Beaux arts:
  • tall parapets
  • paired columns
  • balustrades
  • domes, projecting façades, and pavilions.
  • The rich decoration may include garlands, wreaths, cartouches, and human statuary.
  • nested forms

Imitation of  Greek

  • The Flatiron building, carries distinctive mark of Burnham’s style of using Greco-Roman motifs, that he so volubly practiced after Root’s Death

23 Skidoo

  • Wind tunnel effect causing skirts of ladies to blow over their ankles

What made Flatiron an icon and a monument of its time?

  • Interestingly the form was feminine and very graceful, capturing mind of artists, photographers, painters,writers and film directors.
  • Romantic symbol of the time

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Civil Engineering and Architecture

Engineering and Science:

Engineering (Technology) is:
  • the invention of things that did not previously exist
  • creation of specific objects
Science is:
  • the discovery of things that have long existed
  • creation of general theories that unify knowledge
To what extent does technological innovation flow from scientific discovery?
Designers of Three Dimensional Public Spaces
  • Architects
  • Structural Engineers
  • Sculptors
3 Measures of Design Performance:
Efficiency
  • Scientific Dimension.
  • Use of Minimal Natural Resources.
  • Form Controls the Forces.
  • Form Changes the Actions & Reactions.
Economy
  • Social Dimension.
  • Use of Minimal Public Resources.
  • Must Consider Material Costs & Constructibility.
  • Dependant upon Time & Place.
  • •Quantities are measurable but….labor & bidding process are not.
Elegance
  • Symbolic Dimension.
  • Aesthetic Motivation of the Designer.
  • Aesthetic ideas can be traced back to the earliest forms of architecture.
  • Theories on the importance of structural expression and construction techniques.

Architect – the beginnings:

  • The architect of a structure was also supposed to be the engineer, combining knowledge of geometry and materials with artistic expression.
  • In medieval times this remained true, with the concept of the architect as the “master builder”.
  • Even in the Renaissance, the ideals of Science and Beauty went hand in hand and engineering was considered to be a part of art.

Architect – the master builder:

  • Imhotep
  • Ictinus & Callicrates
  • Vitruvius
  • Michelangelo
  • Da Vinci
  • Filippo Brunelleschi
  • Bernini
  • Palladio

Changes during the 19th century

  • Before 19th century, structural forces understood only in empirical terms (observation and experiment)
  • Late 18th century – exact knowledge began to replace guesswork
  • Late 19th century – science of statics – architecturally viable
  • Structural calculations intrinsic to the employment of iron skeletal construction

The Industrial Revolution

  • New methods of structural design created and put into practice by members of a new profession – civil engineers who were previously military engineers
  • Structural expertise removed from the domain of architects
  • Mid and late 19th century – spectacular advances made by civil engineers
Schism – the split:
  • Pre-schism architect was the “Master Builder”
  • Separation between architect, engineer and constructor

What lead to the schism:

Industrial Revolution introduced new materials, methods and aspirations
Specialized schools were established
  • Ecole de Beaux Arts & Ecole de Polytechnique
  • ETH, Zurich
Architectural curricula focused on:
  • visual methods
  • product
Engineering curricula focused on:
  • numeric methods
  • process

Civil Engineers – their contributions

  • John Augustus Roebling
  • Alexandre Gustave Eiffel
  • Pier Luigi Nervi
  • Robert Malliart

John Augustus Roebling (1806 – 1869):

  • Born in Prussia, he emigrated to the United States in 1831.
  • He graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the Royal Polytechnic Institute of Berlin in 1826.
  • In 1841, he invented the twisted wire-rope cable, an invention which foreshadowed the use of wire cable supports for the decks of suspension bridges.
  • As the cable could support long spans and extremely heavy loads, he quickly gained a reputation as a quality bridge engineer.
  • Roebling utilized steel cables in the construction of numerous suspension bridges and is generally considered one of the pioneers in the field of suspension-bridge construction.

Roebling’s Projects:

  • The Brooklyn Bridge, New York, 1869 – 1883.
  • The Niagara Rail Bridge, 1841 – 1855 .
  • The Cincinnati – Covington Bridge, 1856 – 1867.

The Brooklyn Bridge, New York, 1869 -1883:

  • Overall width: 85 feet
  • Total length: 5,989 feet
  • Length of approach: 971 feet (Brooklyn approach) & 1,562 feet, 6 inches (Manhattan approach)
  • Length of main span: 1,595 feet, 6 inches
  • Number of supporting cables: 4
  • Diameter of  each cable: 15 ½ inches
  • Ultimate strength of a cable: 11,200 tons
  • Weight of each cable: 3,272 tons

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (1832 – 1923)

  • He was born in Dijon France in 1832.
  • Later, he graduated from the Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, Paris in 1855 and joined a Belgian firm which specialized in railway equipment.
  • He established an independent practice in 1864 after which he established a career as an engineer-contractor.
  • Eiffel was a master of elegantly constructed wrought-iron lattices.
  • The structures that Eiffel designed had great social, economical, and political impact on the world. These structures include the Eiffel Tower, the Panama Canal, and the Statue of Liberty.

Eiffel’s Projects:

  • The Statue of  Liberty, 1884.
  • The Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1889.
  • The Panama Canal, 1904 – 1914 .

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1889:

  • It was built for the Paris World’s Fair of 1889.
  • This metal skeletal structure of 15,000 metal parts has both rectilinear and curvilinear ornamentation in iron.
  • Eiffel designed it as a cross-braced latticed girder with minimum wind resistance.
  • Constructed from over 6300 metric tons of highest quality wrought iron, it is a masterpiece of wrought-iron technology.

 The Panama Canal, 1904 – 1914:

  • Panama Canal, canal across the Isthmus of Panama, in Central America, that allows vessels to travel between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
  • The waterway measures 64 km, including dredged approach channels at each end.
  • The canal’s 12 locks (3 sets of double locks at each end) have the same dimensions: 33.5 m (110 ft) wide by 305 m (1,000 ft) long.
  • The gates at each end are 2.1 m (7 ft) thick.

Pier Luigi Nervi (1891 – 1979)

  • He was born June 21, 1891, in the Italian Alps town of Sondrio, Italy.
  • Nervi studied in the Civic Engineering School at the University of Bologna and joined the army engineering corps following the entanglement of Italy in World War I.
  • After the war was over, he joined a group called “The Society for Concrete Construction” and later established his own firm in 1920.
  • It was not until after Nervi left the group in 1923 that his unique approach to building garnered critical attention.

A builder and designer of new forms

  • “..searching for solutions that were intrinsically and when constructed the most economic.”
  • Primarily an engineer and technician, not an architect
  • Strove primarily for “strength through form.”
  • Maintained that the strong aesthetic appeal of his buildings was simply a by-product of their structural correctness.
  • The ceiling are the most awe inspiring part of his structures, described in words like “sunburst” and “lacework” (or the more technical cantilevered roof trusses and lamella vault)
  • He combined technical expertise, intuition, pragmatism, and a material of his own invention- “ferro-cemento”- to achieve structural beauty in a tradition of Italian design.

Nervi’s Projects:

Vaults:

  •  Air Force Hangar I, 1936.
  • Salone Agnelli B, Turin, 1949.

Domes:

  • Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, 1959

 Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, 1959:

  • The innovative dome is made of ribbed reinforced concrete.
  • Continuous windows circle around the arena under the dome.

Robert Maillart (1872 – 1940)

  • Robert Maillart, a Swiss engineer, was renowned for his inventive and beautiful reinforced-concrete bridges.
  • Maillart’s basic structural principles—integration of the supporting arch, the stiffening wall, and the traffic platform into one cohesive unit—were applied as early as 1901 in a bridge at Zuoz, Switzerland.
  • Robert Maillart had an intuition and genius that could entirely exploit the aesthetic of concrete.
  • He designed three-hinged arches in which the deck and the arch ribs were combined to produce closely integrated structures that evolved into stiffened arches of very thin reinforced concrete and concrete slabs.
  • These designs went beyond the common boundaries of concrete design in Maillart’s time.
Methodology:

  • Scientific Analysis
  • Visual Analysis
  • Empirical Analysis
Role of the Architect Today:
Owens Corning HQ, Toledo, Ohio.
  • CM & CBP team
  • exterior architect
  • interior architect
  • production drawing architect
  • curtain wall architect
  • engineering disciplines
  • construction manager

Role of the Engineer Today

  • technician vs. innovator
  • synthesis of scientific & empirical knowledge
Relationship – Engineering & Architecture

  • Pre-schism
  • Collaboration
  • Synthesis
Collaboration:
  • a close working relationship between individuals from different backgrounds
  • mutual respect
  • common vocabulary
Synthesis

  • Can there be a modern day “master builder”?
    Nervi, Candela, Wright, Rogers, Calatrava
  • Can we transfer technologies and solutions from other disciplines?
    NASA – composites, ceramics, polymers
  • Can the synthetic process be a redefinition of the problem? 

    Traditional process

  • client, architect, builder
  • design – bid – buildOwens Corning Process
  • CM hires specialized disciplines
Synthetic process – a skillful coordination

  • Specialists and manufacturers are taking a bigger role in the process
  • Maki, Fujisawa, Gymnasium Roof
  • Foster, Hong Kong Shanghai Bank

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Skyscrapers in New York contemporary to The Chicago School

The Park Row Building, Robert H. Robertson, 1896-1899:

  • The main facade, clad in limestone, has its center part recessed, more prominently at the top six floors of the mass, and horizontally divided as the rows of pilasters between windows terminate at ornamental ledges at intervals.
  • The building is topped by twin 4-storey turrets, originally functioning as observatories and office space, whose domes are topped further by smaller, copper-clad lanterns with caryatids

Flatiron Building, Daniel Burnham, 1902:

  • A commercial office towers with a steel frame structure.
  • Radical use of a triangular plan form in a high rise building for the first time.
  • Façade was decorated with a series of arched openings.
  • The building is Italian Renaissance style and features tripartite construction.
  • Tripartite buildings are based on a Greek column with three distinct portions that resemble the base, shaft and capital.
  • The top capital portion features arches that are topped by an ornate cornice.
  • The middle portion is shaft-like.
  • The wide windows and limestone characterize the base portion.

The Municipal Building, McKim, Mead & White , 1909-1915:

  • The building was influenced by the fashionable “City Beautiful” movement of the 1890s which promoted plans for creating public buildings in landscaped parks.
  • The mid-part of the 25-storey tripartite facade is a U-shaped mass of austere light-toned granite over a high colonnade that forms the building’s base and separates a front yard from the sidewalk.
  • The top portion of the building features a colonnade of Corinthian columns and pilasters.
  • The 16-storey top, above the middle section of the building, consists of a set-back tiered lantern on top of a square base, flanked by four smaller pinnacle turrets.
  • At the height of 177 m stands the 6 m high statue Civic Fame by Adolph A. Weinman, New York City’s second largest statue after the Statue of Liberty.

Woolworth Building, Cass Gilbert, 1910 – 1913:

  • A 60 storey tower capped with an elaborately ornamented set-back Gothic top.
  • Rising from a 27-storey base, with limestone and granite lower floors, the tower is clad in white terra-cotta with the spire rising to the height of 241.5 m.
  • It was to be the tallest building in the world for 17 years.

The Equitable Building, Ernest R. Graham & Associates, 1912-1915 .

  • Built for Equitable Life Insurance, the building is forty-one stories high with no setbacks.
  • The Equitable Building is most important for the zoning law that resulted from its construction.
  • After this building was completed, the public complained about the little amount of light that reached the street, causing the city to feel dark and gloomy.
  • ~These complaints caused the passage of the city’s first zoning ordinance in 1916 that required buildings to be step-backed.

Chrysler Building, William Van Allen, 1928 to 1930:

  • One of the first uses of stainless steel over a   large exposed building surface.
  • Automobile-derived ornamental details.
  • Stainless steel metal ornamented top.

McGraw Hill Building, Raymond Hood, 1930:

  • Construction system used is terra cotta and glass cladding over steel frame.
  • Unusual and attractive use of substantial color on the exterior of a significant skyscraper.

Empire State Building by Shreve, Lamb, Harmon, 1931:

  • A building of 102 floors which is 381 meters high.
  • Effective use of setbacks to emphasize tower.
  • The mooring tower with modern encrustations.
  • Well placed lighting has been used to visually enhance the building after sunset.

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Frank Lloyd Wright – Usonian House

Wright had long been interested in designing affordable homes on a massive scale for the American middle class. In 1901 he published designs for elegant, inexpensive suburban homes in several issues of the Ladies’ Home Journal. Wright was also interested in urban planning. He began thinking seriously about that issue in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Like many contemporary social reformers, Wright believed in the moral and political values exemplified by home ownership and believed that well designed, tasteful dwellings would produce a happier, more harmonious and enlightened society.

Wright discussed his views in publications, lectures and notably the Disappearing City. He gave visual form to his ideas for a model environment in Broad acre City. The notion of the Usonian houses was hatched about the same time.

Frank Lloyd Wright began developing prototype housing in the 1930’s. The first “Usonian” house to be built was the Herbert Jacobs house, in 1936 in Madison, Wisconsin. In that house, Wright used two ideas that promote prefabrication in house production:

  • Board and batten walls, produced off site and set in place.
  • A floor-planning grid of 2 by 4 feet, based on the size of available materials (especially plywood) to reduce cutting and waste.

The design for the Usonian house was a kit of parts, which included a concrete slab, an insulated roof slab, and sandwich panels for the walls.

To shelter Usonia’s citizens, Wright designed a series of appropriate housing schemes—the Usonian houses. Among the earliest to be built was the Rosenbaum House in 1939. Constructed for a college professor in Florence, Alabama, the Rosenbaum House is typically Usonian. Its single-story plan is divided into two wings—the more public living room on one side and the more private bedrooms on the other—, which meet at a “service core” comprising kitchen, bath and hearth. As in the Prairie Houses, the hearth is the metaphorical center of family life. The two wings of the house extend to embrace the generous garden

Wright experimented widely with the proper materials for his Usonian houses. The Rosenbaum House is built of brick and cypress and in later houses he experimented with various combinations of masonry and wood construction. The Rosenbaum House is heated through its floors, which are pigmented concrete slabs embedded with pipes carrying heated water.

He always felt that maybe Usonian was a system, construction system, which the ordinary person could use. They could go to the lumberyard, or the building material yards pick up the concrete blocks, and they would have a concrete man lay the foundation and a mason set the first course of block. And then after that, they would stack them like building blocks, like a child would.

And then you put steel rods in-between the blocks and pour the grout. You didn’t have to strike a mortar joint as you do with regular concrete block. You just stack the blocks and then pour the grout in-between. He had started that system way back in 1922 in California, and till 1956 still working with that system.

The American System-Built House, a collaborative effort between the Arthur Richards Company and Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1910s. Wright designed a series of standardized housing units for the Richards Company, from bungalows to two-story houses, including duplex apartments. Potential homeowners could choose from a catalogue of Wright designs that, in addition to offering houses of varying sizes and cost, included a selection of add-on features for each house model should the individual’s budget allow. Sales and construction of American System-Built Houses were handled through a network of local representatives franchised by the Richards Company while authorized contractors built the houses.

The American System-Built Houses were American System Ready-Cut structures, a form of prefabricated houses. Prefabricated houses today are constructed of whole wall units manufactured in a factory and assembled on-site. The Ready-Cut system referred to “ready cut” parts that were manufactured in Richards’s factory and shipped to the site where they would be assembled. According to the manufacturer, all of the elements of the building, including wood studs, millwork, and trim were pre-cut to size using mass production factory methods, thereby eliminating the need for an architect as well as expensive, labor-intensive carpentry work at the building site. These wood framed structures were developed on the basis of a two-foot module creating an economical use of standard lumber sizes with minimal waste as well as allowing for variations in a design’s plan if required by the client or building site. This series of houses offered the public an opportunity to build a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house at an affordable cost.

Frank Lloyd Wright was a champion of affordable houses for the middle class and worked throughout his career on developing quality economically priced housing for the American family. His development of the Usonian House was a later reflection on this desire.

Due to America’s involvement in World War I and the succeeding shortages in labor and materials, the American System-Built enterprise was short-lived. Records from the Richards Company have been lost; there is no complete listing of executed American Systems-Built structures. Less than twenty structures have been identified; fifteen buildings are still in existence and are located in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa.

Walter Adolph Gropius – The Gropius house and The Bauhaus

Introduction:

  • Born in Berlin on May 18, 1883 as the third son of building advisor to the government with the same name, and Manon Auguste Pauline.
  • Studied in the Colleges of Technology at Berlin and Munich till 1907.
  • Later, worked under the German architect Peter Behrens from 1907 – 10.
  • Formed a partnership with Adolf Meyer in 1910.
  • Established the world-famous Bauhaus School of Architecture in 1919 in Weimar, Germany.
  • Served as the director of the Bauhaus from 1919 – 28.
  • He later moved to America and founded The Architects’ Collaborative (TAC) in 1945 in Cambridge.

The Bauhaus School:

  • Literally means “house for building”.
  • Founded at Weimar by Walter Gropius in 1919.
  • Moved to Dessau in 1924 due to economic considerations.
  • Forced to move to Berlin in September 1932 by the Nazis.
  • During its brief span of existence (1919-1933), the Bauhaus School of Design had 3 directors, Gropius (1919-1928), Hannes Meyer (1928-1930) and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1930-33).
  • During the directorship of Walter Gropius, the work was mainly in his office, while the building department, headed by Hannes Meyer, enabled an independent training in architecture based on the requirements of the users.
  • The buildings of Gropius and Meyer were, in many ways, ‘Bauhaus buildings’. He regularly let students work on the commissions in his office and always tried to sell products and services from the Bauhaus workshops to his clients.

The Gropius House, Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1938:

Components:

The Master Bedroom Suite:

  • A glass wall separates dressing room from sleeping area creating the illusion of a larger space. The wall separates two heating zones allowing one to sleep in a cold environment but dress in a warmer one.

The Guest Bedroom

  • It was used it as a sitting room when there were no guests, and in the winter, Ise (his wife) took advantage of the southern exposure and used it as a greenhouse.

Ati’s Bedroom

  • It includes a walnut and birch desk designed by Walter Gropius and made in the Bauhaus carpentry workshop in 1922. Paired with the desk is a tubular steel and cane chair designed by Breuer during the years of the Dessau Bauhaus in 1928.

Ground Floor Hallway

  • The curved staircase faces away from the entry, signifying the upstairs as private space.
  • Gropius used glass blocks and a floor to ceiling window to transmit natural light to this area.

The Dining Room:

  • The dining table and chairs were also made in the Bauhaus workshops under the direction of Marcel Breuer. The chrome and canvas chairs are paired with a Formica dining table designed in 1925.

The Living Room

  • Gropius maximized space along the north wall with bookshelves and storage cabinets. Large windows frame the landscape and expand the interior spaces.

The Study

  • Gropius designed the study to accommodate the double desk that fits perfectly under the north facing window.
  • The study acts as a passageway into the living room.

Impact of Gropius House:

  • Modest in scale, revolutionary in impact.
  • Combined the traditional elements of New England architecture — wood, brick, and fieldstone — with innovative materials rarely used in domestic settings at that time — glass block, acoustical plaster, and chrome banisters, along with the latest technology in fixtures.
  • The family home became a showcase for Bauhaus design and philosophy.
  • Ise Gropius bequeathed the house to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA) in 1984 to continue the tradition of teaching the principles of the Bauhaus Movement.

The Bauhaus, Dessau, Germany, 1925-26.:

Features:

  • The primary structural material is steel reinforced concrete.
  • Window facades are designed as hanging (non-structural) walls.
  • The Wassily Chair designed by Marcel Breuer

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