Wednesday, July 22, 2009

second thoughts

In a burst of creative thought over the last few days I scoured the pages of my architectural books and magazines (in several languages) as well as the Internet looking for anything that would help me put together a second generation house for my family, as that possibility has been simmering in the back of my mind since returning from our last vacation recently. It started with a trestle-frame addition to stick-frame building, progressed to a long building with a floorplan reminiscent of a mobile home or ATCO structure, and later incorporated a "ryokan" and numerous storage and space saving ideas. At this point it seemed over engineered and I rejected it all, asking myself "Did I lose sight of what's important?" (Double meaning fully implied, as I had been neglecting other responsibilities in pursuit of an ideal house design.) I took the contrary position, feeling that a trestle-frame, like a geodesic dome, should not be a house, as its form is not plastic enough and too rigid. I looked at the other-beauty of rammed earth. Then I reviewed photographs of real trestle-frame buildings, and loved this one of a barn. In America, there was a vogue about a decade ago of restoring old American timber frame barns and converting the interiors into houses. The cathedral ceilings and exposed ancient timbers created a warm (insert adjective evoking fondness of aged things) ambiance that afficionados of the type loved. They didn't substantially change anything about the barn's dimensions. I can learn a lesson from this comparison, as I won't change the dimensions or proportions of this Norwegian barn. I will simply fit the modern American lifestyle within its timbers.

Update: I'd like to build alcove beds, as used in roykstova (traditional Faroese houses), into the sides of a trestle frame shed of about these dimensions.

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