Technical & Artistic = Architecture

February 11th, 2017

Technical & Artistic = Architecture is about the combination of skills and expertise it takes to become and practice as an Architect.

Thomas Edison: “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”  

And while Mr. Edison was not an Architect, he was a very accomplished inventor.  And Architecture = inventing.  In other words, dedicated creative people who are successful, get a great idea, then are compelled to work very hard to bring the idea into physical reality.  It doesn’t come easy.  And so is the nature of Architecture: Architects get great ideas for the design of a project, then have to work very hard to create the documents to provide building Contractors the information to properly build it.  Therefore: when an Architect designs your house, he or she is combining both Technical & Artistic skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Various physiological and psychological studies appear to imply that perhaps only 20% of the human population process language functions in both brain hemispheres (ambidextrous) while 19% of people have left brain primary functionality, which leaves about 61% at right brain dominant.  Studies have found that right brain dominance is more mathematical and logical, while left brain functions tend to be more intuitive and artistic.  This is no hard and fast rule and doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone everywhere.  However, what this tends to imply is that there are only perhaps about 20% of the people on earth that appear to more equally process information in both brain hemispheres.  In other words, one of the reasons there are so few Architects in the world is a result of functional need for their work in the marketplace and also the availability of people that are able to process both logical (technical) and artistic concepts simultaneously (the premise of this article).  MRI imaging in the 1990s appears to support the theory of left and right brain activity.

 

The main point is that having both technical and artistic skills functioning simultaneously is a necessary ability for great architecture and great Architects.  For instance: the Sydney Opera House (by Jorn Utson, Architect) is a great artistic triumph in that it was intended to symbolize the tall sailed vessels on the ocean/bay nearby.  However, to realize this form in a physical world required extraordinary engineering skills. 

technical & artistic = architecture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which underscores the concept that technical & artistic = Architectural.  There are many other examples with other Architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Ghery, Le Cobusier and many others, during the last century and dating back centuries (pyramids, Biltmore, and countless others).  Architecture = technical & artistic.

 

In the context of residential architecture, HOME ARCHITECTS ® uses similar symbolism.  For instance, in some of their mountain projects, they use roof slopes that echo the shapes of the mountains around them, making the symbolism be: MOUNTAINS.

home architects logo design

 

 

 

 

logo design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tags: architecture = technical & artistic, post and beam, cashiers, nc, sevierville, tn, timber frame, hendersonville, asheville, mountain, custom

Electrical Problems in Houses & How to Avoid Them

February 3rd, 2017

Electrical Problems in Houses & How to Avoid Them, is about what it indicates: how to avoid electrical problems in houses.  This pertains typically to TVs, computers, printers, monitors, washers & dryers and similar gear.

electrical problems in houses

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIGHTNING PROTECTION SYSTEM
Strategy #1 for: electrical problems in houses & how to avoid them

The above image is of lightning.  That’s the worst thing that can happen to the electrical system of a house.  About the only thing that can protect your house, its electrical wiring and what you have plugged into that circuitry, is a lightning protection system.  That’s the main aide to homeowners.  Unfortunately, not many people buy that when they are building their house, because it’s another expense and most people find that their finances are already overburdened by the time such a system would be installed, and so, most owners don’t have that installed.  A lightning protection system usually is composed of thick copper braided cables running over your roof ridge lines, with air terminals engineered to attract lightning, with the copper cables continuing down to the ground, where they connect to metal grounding rods that penetrate into the ground, where the lightning dissipates. 

 

Even if they did, a direct hit could still damage your house and its wiring.  So what can you do for the situations that are perhaps not a direct hit, but nearby?  You can actually take some cost-effective precautions to help protect what you connect to your house’s wiring.  And that’s the focus of this particular online article.

 

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DIGRESSION: ELECTRICAL TRANSFORMERS

electrical problems in houses

This is the transformer that can be either smaller and pole-mounted or on the ground (like this one).  They can attract lightning.  Last summer, outside of our own house (and only about 35’ away), this transformer’s predecessor was hit by lightning and exploded.  This resulted in over $2,400 worth of losses in our own house, including: laundry dryer, 3 printers, a desktop computer (a nice one), about half a dozen surge suppressor strips, a TV, a monitor, coffee maker and some other devices.  I suppose it could have been worse.  The various precautions in this article are what we have done to better prepare for another nearby strike, if it comes.

 

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WHOLE HOUSE SURGE SUPPRESSION
Strategy #2 for: electrical problems in houses & how to avoid them

electrical problems and avoiding them

This might cost $450 to $600 to $1,000+/-, which can vary, depending on the size, location and complexity of your house.  It is one of the best means to protect residential circuitry.  See that little blue box with the green light under the exterior main disconnect (above)?  That’s about half of the system.  The remainder are at the interior MDP (Main Distribution Panel) and at ancillary breaker panels.  It bleeds off power surges that come into the house through the meter and power service entrance.  That is a wonderful way to protect your house wiring and what you have connected to it.  And fairly cost-effective.  A voltage spike close enough and powerful enough could still, however turn your wiring into toast.  But this an excellent preventative measure that could minimize damage.  Which is why HOME ARCHITECTS specifies this system on all of its residential design projects as a owner optional upgrade: to protect their Client projects for decades to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)
Strategy #3 for: electrical problems in houses & how to avoid them

electrical problems in houses & how to avoig them

Plug your computer into this unit to help protect your computer from electrical spikes.  You can also plug in your monitor(s), because if your monitors turn off, you can’t do much of anything with your computer.  These devices (UPS) can be bought online through Amazon.com or through Best Buy and other retail outlets.  There are cheaper ones, which is what most people buy.  That’s a mistake.  Get the “sine wave” protection unit.  That’s going to cost you from $169 to around $200 or so.  It’s worth it.  The “sine wave” protection means that your computer power will not be affected and what you’re working on won’t go down (according to the manufacturer and our own personal experience) during a power interruption.  During this time, you will have perhaps 15 minutes or so to make a controlled system shut down.  Also, the UPS does a better job of clamping any voltage spikes and keeping them from getting through to your computer, which is what you mainly want to use this higher-cost UPS unit for.  One per computer.  We have personally had good luck with the CyberPower 1500 PFCLCD. 

 

SURGE SUPPRESSION BARS
Strategy #4 for: electrical problems in houses & how to avoid them

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These usually cost from $20 to $60 to over $100, depending on rating and size and number of outlets.  Don’t spend less than $20 (you get what you pay for).  And for your large screen TV, spend over $60, or you’re kidding yourself at the level of protection you’re getting.  Listen to what the salesperson at Best Buy is telling you.  This is one of those things that you really do get what you’re paying for.   And understand this: you are supposed to replace these about once a year!  Why: because “dirty” commercial power coming into your house on a daily basis can “use” what buffering capabilities these lower end units have, until they, too, become almost worthless.  Especially for your more expensive items.  Does it make sense to spend $80 on a surge suppressor to protect a $20 coffee maker?  No.  But on a $2500 large screen hi-res flatscreen TV?  Yes. 

 

UNPLUG CRITICAL EQUIPMENT
Strategy #5 for: electrical problems in houses & how to avoid them

This is the ONLY way to insure that a voltage spike from a nearby lightning strike, or “dirty” commercial power won’t harm your delicate equipment.  We have developed a protocol: every night just before we go to bed, we pull out the incoming main DSL line (your Internet connection wire) from the main house modem.  Why: because a lightning strike can zap your valuable equipment through this connection (as well as through normal power lines).

Also, pull out the electrical power plug-ins for your computer UPSs and even perhaps your dryer and washer.  May sound fanatical, but that is your only guarantee.  And certainly before you go on a trip or intend to be away from your house for an extended period of time.  It will be well worth the effort.  Also, this insures that your computers (if you use the Operating System’s (OS) shutdown feature before unplugging) will update any required latest OS fixes on a daily basis.  Do Not unplug before you see your computer shutdown, using the OS. 

electrical problems and avoiding them

 

 

 

 

tags: mountain residential architect, post and beam, craftsman style, timber frame, Cashiers, Lake Toxaway, Highlands, Glenville, Sevierville, Columbia

 

Working with an Architect on House Renovations

January 28th, 2017

Working with an Architect on House Renovations is about an interview article that recently appeared on the Gutter Helmet website. 

 

The article is in an interview format, with Q&A (Rand Soellner, Senior Staff Architect, providing the answers).  The exact title on the Gutter Helmet website is:

 

Expert Interview Series: Rand Soellner of HOME ARCHITECTS About Working with an Architect on Your Next Home Renovation Project.”  (<–click on that title to open that webpage). 

 

Check it out, if you’d like to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make no mistake about it: residential architecture is among the most complex of architectural projects in the world.  And renovating a residence can become very involved. The reference article helps explain that.

 

Some of the topics covered in the article include:

1.  Background of our Senior Staff Architect and reasons driving the good works undertaken.

2.  Most popular residential renovations.

3.  Discussion of what the Owner should and should not attempt to do.

4.  How to avoid project delays.

5.  Residential energy efficient renovations.

6.  What to look for when engaging an Architect.

7.  Evolving housing renovation industry.

 

 

5 Reasons An Architect Should Design Your House

January 25th, 2017

5 Reasons An Architect Should Design Your House: is about the reasons why an Architect should design your next residence.  Here are 5 reasons (there actually are many more).

5 reasons an architect should design your house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.   GETTING WHAT YOU WANT (Reason An Architect Should Design Your House #1)
If you don’t have an Architect program your Lifestyle & analyze your Land, you’re not going to get a design based on your needs.  And we assume that you do want your needs addressed.  Any Architect who has been properly trained and who has the correct experience, knows how to Program your needs.  This is a critical step to getting what  you want. During this process, the Architect documents your needs, during a one on one meeting.  For some reason, Builders and unlicensed “designers” seem to have trouble with this all- important first step.  In all fairness to Contractors, this could be because Builders are trained to build, not plan and design.  It’s just a question of assigning the proper duties to the appropriate people and companies in a project.  Would you want a doctor who specializes in fixing broken arms doing your heart surgery?  Probably not.  Get the professional best trained and experienced to do the proper job.

 

2.  OBTAINING A GREAT DESIGN (Reason An Architect Should Design Your House #2)
Get a fabulous design that documents, in detailed drawings, and specifications, what the design that you approved requires to have it built properly.  You’d be amazed that 99% of SFR (Single Family Residence) designs do Not incorporate Specifications and very few details, if any.  Any project without detailed drawings and specifications means that the Builder will be making most of the decisions, not you and not your Architect, especially concerning quality level and specific materials and how they go together.  Don’t you want to have your Architect control the quality level of your very important custom house?  Of course you do.  Your Architect serves only you and  your interests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  LIFESTYLE ENJOYMENT (Reason An Architect Should Design Your House #3)
If you obtain a great design and it is properly built, then you should enjoy a wonderful experience you’ve never had before: living in a custom house that fits you like a glove.  All those irritating situations that you presently live with have been corrected. And your house looks, feels and lives like poetry.  Your wonderful views are captured with large glass areas.  You have that big kitchen you’ve always wanted.  You have the open plan layout.  You have the 3 car garage with workshop.  There’s the special needs bathroom for your visiting aging mother.  No one else can do these like a real Architect.

 

4.  LESS MAINTENANCE (Reason An Architect Should Design Your House #4)
With better details, specifications and proper involvement in the construction, having an Architect in the project can help obtain a more durable house.  That means fewer leaks (if any), longer lasting materials, less mold (if any), healthier construction materials.

 

5.  LOWER ENERGY BILLS (Reason An Architect Should Design Your House #5)
What do you imagine is going to be happening during the next 50 years with energy bills?  Higher cost per kWh hour, or lower cost?  Right.  Higher.  Therefore, having an Architect design your house can result in a more energy efficient house.  Well worth the investment in the Architect.  An Architect’s fee could be entirely offset by lower energy costs over the lifespan of the house.  Incredible but true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has been:  5 Reasons An Architect Should Design Your House

 

 

 

 

 

tags: 5 reasons an architect should design your house, Cashiers, Highlands, Lake Toxaway, Glenville, Timber frame, mountain, post and beam

Mountain House Design: 5 things to know

January 14th, 2017

Mountain house design: 5 things to know is about having a real Architect design a mountain residence for you.

mountain house design

mountain house design, (C) Copyright 2014-16, Home Architect, PLLC.

 

Designing a residence in the mountains involves a host of factors that only a licensed professional understands.  And the only recognized license allowing someone to design buildings and houses is that of an Architect.  Mountain land has several challenges that require a higher level of professional skill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among the mountain issues:

1.  Mountain Geology- issues relating to the location of bedrock under your foundations on  your mountain land and how the foundations of  your home may need to be attached (or not) to the bedrock and certain conditions of which to be wary, to insure that your house is solid.

 

2.  Mountain Humidity- Mountain locations often possess a combination of microclimate high humidity, cycled with periods of dryness.  An Architect needs to analyze what your mountain situation calls for in terms of damp-proofing so that your house is warm, dry and healthy.

 

3.  Mountain Seismic- while some mountains may be the result of glacial scouring, the more dramatic mountains are often due to tectonic upheaval (earthquakes).  While many AHJ (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) and major building codes only allocate a low-level importance to many areas (even where mountains are located), because the frequency of seismic events are far and few between, that does not mean that the next significant event may not be about to occur.  Having extra strength in  your connections throughout the mountain house can help to avoid a calamity.  Another issue that a prudent mountain Architect would analyze.

 

4.  Mountain elevation- this can impact the type of gas (or not) to use between insulated glass windows, as most Architects know that when the mountain house exceeds a certain height ASL (Above Sea Level), that the seal around insulated glass can rupture, resulting in fogged glass.  An Architect familiar with mountain issues knows how to avoid this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Mountain Weather Harshness & Durability- mountain environments often have more than their share of snow, ice, high velocity winds, sun, mold and other environmental issues.  A mountain Architect understands how to details the various conditions around a mountain house to help more effectively resist these extremes and choose materials that will last longer and with less maintenance.

 

 

This has been only 5 mountain house design issues.  Please review this Architect’s main website for more information.  And in the end: hire an Architect.  One who lives and works everyday in a mountain location.

 

 

 

 

 

 

tags: mountain, Cashiers, Highlands, Lake Toxaway, Glenville, Sylva, Bryson City, Hendersonville, Asheville, post and beam, timber frame

 

Recycling Used Oil

January 12th, 2017

Recycling Used Oil is not your typical architectural design online article. This has to do with how and where you deal with used engine oil and keeping our environment clean.

 

recycling oil

 

Some people might say: “Oh I just dump it on the ground.”  That is NOT a good thing to do.  Why?  Because that can pollute the ground water table where ever you do that, and end up making yourself sick or dead.  Don’t be a polluter.  That could just be your own well water you’re poisoning. 

 

So what to do? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s actually pretty simple.   Look online for your local town “Staffed Recycling Center.”   Phone them and ask if they can accept used engine oil from your car, truck, lawnmower or whatever you need to have handled.    Chances are, they will.  If they say no, ask them who does.  They should know who can accept used oil, if they don’t. 

 

This simple solution can end a lifetime of struggling with this dilemma.  And it shouldn’t cost much, if anything.  Counties normally accept this material for free, just to keep their land clean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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