Tag Archives: architectural design

How We Can Redesign Cities to Fight Epidemics

A heat map analyzing the ventilation between urban buildings.

Architecture can be the Secret Weapon To Combat Infectious Diseases
Throughout history, disease outbreaks have forced new innovations in urban design. Fighting cholera epidemics in the 1800s, for example, necessitated the building of new plumbing and sewer systems and the devising of new zoning laws to prevent overcrowding. As the new coronavirus lays bare the need for broader changes across our economy, such as widespread paid sick leave, it might also influence how cities and buildings are built. Continue reading

Solar Shading Devices: What You Need to Know

When the ambient temperature within a building is within or above the comfort zone, any additional heating of the interior due to solar gain will result in discomfort. Architects therefor design solar shading devices to prevent this. However, at cool times of the year, it is generally desirable to allow solar radiation to pass directly into the room to provide a useful heating effect. This response – between blocking excess gain in summer vs optimizing gain in winter- can be provided either by the shading device being moveable, or by it being geometrically selective. Continue reading

What is the Optimal Roof Pitch?

It’s no exaggeration to say that the roof is the most vital part of the building envelope, and therefore, the most critical investment.  It’s also no overstatement to say that we now enjoy a wider range of roofing materials and roofing system than at any other time in history. However, not every roofing system works in every application.   Finding the right system involves weighing a multitude of variables including cost, weight, lifespan, maintenance requirements, and most importantly, aesthetics. Of all these variables, roof slope (a.k.a. “pitch”) is perhaps the most important. 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

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

The Pros & Cons of Smart Home Technology

Smart homes are no longer a fanciful consideration. The technology market is full of devices automating household processes. The Internet of Things (I.O.T.) works towards the homeowner’s convenience and security. Despite their usage, smart home technologies also have a number of disadvantages. Incorporating them into your house is a personal decision. Consider the following pros and cons before making your home “smart”. Continue reading

The Sea Ranch Style

The Architecture of Sea RanchConceived at a time when nature and utopian ideals were becoming increasingly prevalent in American culture and modern architecture, the Northern California community of Sea Ranch was developed in the early 1960s by architect and planner Al Boeke. Boeke envisioned a community that would preserve the area’s natural, rugged beauty and coastline, and would be based on ecological principles with minimal impact on the native environment. Continue reading

Is a Tesla Solar Roof Worth the Investment?

When you hear the name Tesla, you usually stop and listen.  Tesla has built a well-known brand with electric vehicles (EVs). Then, they announced the Powerwall, a solar battery, and most recently, the Solar Roof, a mix of solar and non-solar tiles that is meant to replace a typical solar system. Elon Musk is a smart guy – combining the power of solar with EVs.  The ideas he has make sense, but does the investment?  Now that the long-awaited solar tile system is available, it’s worth asking – is the Tesla Solar Roof worth the investment? Continue reading

Design with Dormers

One of the best ways to increase the usable floor space of a 11/2-story house is to add a dormer. It increases headroom, it provides daylight and fresh air, it makes previously dead space fully functional, and it doesn’t change the footprint of the house. With its long, simple roof, a shed dormer adds the most floor space and more opportunities for windows than other dormer types. Continue reading

7 Smart Strategies for Kitchen Remodeling

Homeowners spend more money on kitchen remodeling than on any other home improvement project. And with good reason: Kitchens are the hub of home life and a source of pride. A significant portion of kitchen remodeling costs may be recovered by the value the project brings to your home. A complete kitchen renovation with a national median cost of $65,000 recovers about 62% of the initial project cost at the home’s resale, according to the National Association of Realtors. Continue reading