Author Archives: santacruzarchitect

Architectural Solutions to the Housing Crisis

Coliseum Connections Apartments built of stackable modular units

In the face of persistent housing shortages, how are architects making a meaningful contribution? Housing’s primary position in our lives makes it a natural site of intervention in the complex fight against lack of housing. “Housing First” policies acknowledge that the pursuit of a healthy, fulfilling life is possible only when we have a stable home, while a growing body of research demonstrates that people with affordable, well-designed housing lead healthier, happier lives than those who are rent-burdened or ill-housed. Beyond policies and data showing the generative value of housing, people universally seek a sense of dignity and identity through their homes. Continue reading

CA’s Updated Building Energy Coming in 2020

Every three years the California Energy Commission updates the state’s building code to make improvements to the energy performance of new buildings. Starting January 1, 2020, California’s 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards will take effect. Any building permitted after the new year will need to comply with these new standards. Continue reading

6 Best Remodel Projects to Improve Your Home’s Value

When it comes to home remodels, the money you put in cannot always be recouped when it comes time to sell: some remodel projects add to resale value while others don’t. For those prioritizing how to get best value for their dollar there are some important things to keep in mind. Before you decide on a remodel, consider the cost vs. value, and then decide if the remodel is a worthy investment. Ultimately, you want to improve your lifestyle and, when it comes time to sell, command the highest price. Continue reading

Cool Roofs

A cool roof is one that has been designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. Cool roofs can be made of a highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles. Just as wearing light-colored clothing can help keep you cool on a sunny day, cool roofs material that is designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. Cool roofs can be made of a highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles. Standard or dark roofs can reach temperatures of 150°F or more in the summer sun. A cool roof under the same conditions could stay more than 50°F cooler and save energy and money by using less air conditioning. Continue reading

7 Brands of Fiber-Cement Siding for Your Home

Fiber-cement siding stormed onto the scene a few decades ago and revolutionized the house siding business because it possesses the best of many worlds. It offers the look of authentic wood shiplap siding, even with lookalike textured wood grain. Unlike wood, it is fire resistant. Unlike vinyl siding, it can be painted. Fiber-cement siding, while not inexpensive, is a high resale value siding choice that offers equally high aesthetic appeal. While more fiber-cement siding manufacturers have popped up in recent years, fiber-cement siding production is a large-scale, energy-intensive process. As a result, the fiber-cement siding playing field is small and competition is limited. Still, a few of the best fiber-cement brands and manufacturers can be singled out for the quality of their products and their attention to customers’ needs. Continue reading

Floating Architecture

AntiRoom II, a Floating Pavilion in Malta

From New York to Shanghai, coastal cities around the world are at risk from rising sea levels and unpredictable storm surges. But rather than simply building higher seawalls to hold back floodwaters, many builders and urban planners are turning to floating and amphibious architecture — and finding ways to adapt buildings to this new reality. Some new buildings, including a number of homes in Amsterdam, are designed to float permanently on shorelines and waterways. Others feature special foundations that let them rest on solid ground or float on water when necessary. Projects range from simple retrofits for individual homes in flood zones to the construction of entire floating neighborhoods — and possibly even floating cities. Continue reading

5 Ways an ADU Investment Can Produce ROI

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is typically a one or two-room living unit designed as a separate dwelling from the single-family home located on the same lot. ADUs can sometimes be referred to as guest house, carriage house, or granny flat. These spaces are completely habitable with features such as a kitchen and bathroom. ADUs can be a money maker for homeowners looking for short-term cash flow and long-term investment. Continue reading