Tag Archives: construction technology

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

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

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

Comparing Window Materials: Which Is Best?

As with every window replacement project, the better informed you are about the window materials, accompanying products and services you will need, the more closely the project’s outcome will meet your expectations. Because of constantly changing replacement window technologies, it’s important to let go of your preconceived notions about the best window materials to use. What was once considered standard “go-to” materials for window manufacturers in the past, may no longer even meet today’s stringent energy certification requirements. Continue reading

Buildings that Move

Kinetic brise soleil at the Milwaukee Art MuseumKinetic architecture is a concept through which buildings are designed to allow parts of the structure to move, without reducing overall structural integrity. A building’s capability for motion can be used just to enhance its aesthetic qualities, respond to environmental conditions, and/or perform functions that would be impossible for a static structure. The possibilities for practical implementations of kinetic architecture increased sharply in the late 20th century due to advances in mechanics, electronics, and robotics. Continue reading

Hip Roof vs. Gable Roof – Pros & Cons of Each

Hip vs. Gable Roof: Pros & ConsAre you in the process of working with your design professional to visualize your new home? If so, chances are you are considering one of the two most popular roof types in the US, hip & gable. This article will help you decide between a hip and gable roof for your new home, or an existing roof re-framing project. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each roof type, and find out which one is a more appropriate choice for your needs. Continue reading

Fire-resistive Roof Types

Common Roof MaterialsNo material is “fire proof” however, proper use and assembly of fire-rated building materials can reduce a fire’s spread and extend the amount of time it takes for a home to ignite and burn. (Structural assembly is the process of layering materials when building exterior walls and roof.) Your roof is vulnerable to wildfire because it is the largest surface area of your home. The exposed, uneven surface of a roof can easily trap hot, wind-blown embers. Simple roof forms are easier to protect than complex ones due to less surface area and intersections, which may create heat traps. Use class A or B roofing materials to reduce risk. Continue reading