DESERT SAGA

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LAST FEBRUARY I WAS SET TO DEVOUR THE WORLD WITH JUMP START BIOMORPHIC OASIS IN JOSHUA TREE. WELL, AS FATE WOULD HAVE IT, CONTRACTOR JOHN DEMURS, MY FORMER STUDENT AT SCI-ARC AND I HAD A FALLING OUT. TWO STRONG PERSONALITIES WANTING IT THEIR WAY. JOHN BOUGHT ME OUT OF THE LAND WE OWNED. LEAVING ME LANDLESS AND WITHOUT HIS LOCAL CONSTRUCTION EXPERTISE.

MY SPONSORS THAT FINANCED THE PURCHASE OF THE LAND HAD DONE SO WITH CONFIDENCE OF CONSTRUCTION INVOLVEMENT WITH JOHN DEMERS. I WENT LOOKING FOR NEW LAND, BUT NEEDED TWICE AS MUCH MONEY TO BUY SIMILAR PROPERTY.

PLUS I QUESTIONED MY ENERGY AND FINANCES TO PULL IT OFF. FRIENDS ENCOURAGED ME TO TRY CROWD-FUNDING TO RAISE MONEY TO BUILD ON MY OWN. MY ENERGY LEVEL WAS LOW TO PURSUE THAT.

I WAS FORTUNATE TO HAVE NEW CLIENTS THAT WANTED THREE HOUSES NEXT TO EACH OTHER IN A GATED COMMUNITY IN INDIAN WELLS. HIGH END SPECULATION HOUSES. I WAS EXCITED AND PRODUCED AN INTERWEAVE OF HOUSES NEXT TO EACH OTHER THAT I CALLED NAVAJO BLANKET. I PROMOTING THE IDEA OF A HARMONIOUS WHOLE. THE CLIENTS WANTED THREE DISTINCT HOUSES. I ADJUSTED THE DESIGN WITH DIFFERENT ENTRIES AND ROOF LINES. BUT I WAS RELIEVED OF MY SERVICES, BECAUSE THEY CLAIMED, MY DESIGNS WERE DATED AND WERE NOT CURRENT FASHION. I WAS PROUD OF WHAT I DESIGNED AND KNEW HOME BUYERS WOULD LOVE THE DESIGNS. ALSO THEY WOULD GET A LOT OF PUBLICITY FOR BEING IN HARMONY WITH THE DESERT . A NEW TYPE OF REJECTION FOR ME. THE NUMEROUS DEVELOPER OWNERS ACTED AS A COMMITTEE AND I NEVER MEET THEM OR DISCUSSED ISSUES WITH THEM, EXCEPT FOR THE TWO THAT CONTACTED ME AND I WORKED WITH. I GOT THESE STRANGE QUOTES FROM HIGH, DELIVERED BY THEIR REPRESENTATIVES. THE 45 DEGREE ANGLE WAS TO GET THE BEST VIEW TO THE MOUNTAINS.

I RAN THIS BY OTHER ARCHITECTS AS I WAS DESIGNING AND THERE WAS A UNANIMOUS PRAISE AND BRAVOS.
BUT THE CLIENT RULES. THEY DID NOT HAVE FAITH IN ME. THEY WERE USING A DRAFTING SERVICE ON ANOTHER HOUSE THAT HAD PEOPLE WALKING THOUGHT THE MASTER BATH TO GET TO THE CLOSETS. THE REALTOR, WHICH I NEVER MET, WAS ALSO KEEPING TABS ON WHAT WAS THE LATEST IN THING.

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THE DYED CONCRETE STRIPS COLORS RAN ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE HOUSE UP THE INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR WALLS AND CAME OUT THE BACK.
I HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS DONE BEFORE, THERE WAS AN ORIENTATION THAT RAN THROUGH THE PROJECT.

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THE CLIENT WAS ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT COST, SO EVERYTHING WAS RECTANGULAR EXCEPT FOR A FEW 45 DEGREE THINGS.

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I THEN WENT OFF TO NICARAGUA TO VISIT MY WIFE WHOM HAD BEEN FRAUDULENTLY DIAGNOSED REPEATEDLY BY DOCTORS AS HAVING CANCER TO GET HER MONEY FOR AN OPERATION AND HOSPITAL. MUCH TO HER RELEIF SHE HAD NOTHING. IRONICALLY THE MILITARY HOSPITAL TOLD HER THAT SHE WAS NOT ILL.

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A VIEW OF MY FAVORITE LOCAL LAGOON IN NICARAGUA IN A VOLCANIC CRATER NEAR MASAYA. WHILE THERE, I ASKED THE ADJOINING TABLE OF YOUNG MEN TO WATCH OVER OUR BEACH BAGS WHILE MY WIFE AND I WENT SWIMMING. UPON OUR RETURN OUR CELL PHONES WERE GONE ALONG WITH SOME MONEY IN MY WIFE’S PURSE. THE HOMBRES AT THE ADJOINING TABLE VANISHED. EVEN IN PARADISE THINGS GO WRONG.

WHILE IN NICARAGUA I GOT THIS SOS E MAIL FROM ANNE HARS. HER NEIGHBORHOOD IN LOS ANGELES ON THE WORKING CLASS SIDE OF SIVERLAKE, SOUTH OF SUNSET, WAS SHOCKED AT A NEW DEVELOPMENT PROPOSED WITH THE BACKING OF THE GOVERNMENTAL POWERS. A SMALL LOT DEVELOPMENT LOOP HOLE , ALLOWING FOR AN OUTRAGEOUS DENSITY AND IGNORING THE WORKING CLASS NEIGHBORHOOD. I WAS SURPRISED WHEN ANNE GAVE ME SOME MUCH NEEDED CASH TO DO AN ALTERNATIVE SKETCH PROPOSAL. AFTER SOME FALSE START DESIGNS OUR FINAL SCHEME HAD LOWER HEIGHTS, BREAKUP OF THE MASSING, CROSS PATTERN OF PLAZAS THAT COVERED THE PARKING. ONE PLAZA WITH A CASCADING WATER FEATURE WITH A GRAND STAIR THAT CONNECTED THE TWO FACADE STREETS, AND ADJOINED A STAIR ACROSS THE STREET.

WE LOWERED THE DENSITY AND FOOTAGES , REDUCED THE HEIGHT, AND OPENED UP THE MIDDLE. MAKING A FOUR BLOCKS OF TWO UNITS THAT HAD THE GRAND WATER STAIRWAY AND A COMMON PLAZA ON THE REAR OF UNITS. I WORKED OUT ALL THE SPLIT LEVEL UNITS. THIS REMINDED ME OF MY APARTMENT ERA OF 1970. MY UNITS BETTER THAN THE DEVELOPERS. THIS WAS A GIVE AWAY SCHEME FOR ME.

SURE, THE HOUSES WILL SELL TO GENTRIFIED PROFESSIONALS, HOW DO YOU STOP THAT? OTHER THAN STOPPING CAPITALISM. BUT AT LEAST OUR SCHEME GIVES BACK TO THE COMMUNITY WITH THE PLAZAS OF PUBLIC SPACES AND KEEPS THE SCALE IN KEEPING WITH WHAT EXISTS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

TO DATE THE SCHEME HAS NOT BEEN PROPOSED TO THE DEVELOPER, THE COMMUNITY FIGHTING HARD. I MUST HAND IT TO ANNE, SHE IS A CONCERNED ARTIST ACTIVIST WITH PASSION AND SKILLS.
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THE DEVELOPERS PROPOSAL. ALL THE ARCHITECTURAL CREDITS ARE ON THE RENDERING

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THE BIGGEST THING BEING A COMMUNITY WALKWAY WITH KIDS WADING POOLS CONNECTING THE TWO STREETS THAT CONNECTED TO A PLAZA BEHIND THE UNITS. THE UPSCALE CONDO HOUSES WOULD HAPPEN, BUT AT THE SAME TIME GIVING THE COMMUNITY A DELIGHTFUL SPACE.

WE GOING ALL GREEN WITH SOLAR COLLECTORS LAID FLAT ON THE ROOF. 10% LESS EFFICIENT BUT STILL PLENTY OF POWER. A TON OF DECKS AND OUTDOOR SPACE. AND BREAKING UP THE MASSING. WATER FALLS DOWN SIDES OF BUILDINGS TO COOL WITH GRAY WATER ETC.

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CROSS SECTION SHOWING COVERED SECURITY PARKING WITH FOUNTAIN AT VENT POINT. KIDS WADING POOLS ON LEFT CASCADING DOWN WITH THE ADJOINING STAIR.

UPON MY RETURN FROM NICARAGUA I BUILT A FURNITURE SET OF BEDS AND TABLE. IN THE PROCESS OF CONSTRUCTION I INFECTED MY BONES IN TWO TOES AND I ENDED UP HAVING THEM AMPUTATED. NOW RECOVERING. THE WHOLE THING STARTED IN 1999 WHEN I BURNT A BONE ON THE SOLE OF MY RIGHT FOOT WHILE WALKING BAREFOOT IN LA JOLLA SHORES ON A HOT CEMENT SIDEWALK. SINCE THEN HAVING THREE OPERATIONS. THE BODY IS REMARKABLE AND HEALS QUICKLY. NOW THE RIGHT FOOT WITH BIG TOE, FOURTH AND LITTLE TOE.

I AM A FIRM BELIEVER THAT ONE SHOULD SURROUND THEMSELVES WITH DESIGN. EVEN IN A SQUARE BOX LIKE MY HUT IN THE DESERT. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL AFFECT HAS BEEN MARVELOUS. I GET OFF ON THE PARTICLE BOARD FLAK PATTERN AND HAVING A DESK THAT RUNS FOREVER. THE TOTAL MATERIAL COST $125.

THE BEDS DO THE VISUAL TRIP AND FUNCTION WELL, THEY CLIP TOGETHER TO MAKE FOR CLOSENESS. BUT THEY HAVE BEEN A STRUCTURAL NIGHTMARE. I GOT TOO CUTE WITH THE CORNER DETAILS. MAKING SHORT SPANS TO HIGHLIGHT THE CORNER. WELL THE PARTICLE BOARD, EVEN WHEN SUPPORTED, BENDS AND GOES IN EVERY DIRECTION. THE LATERAL LOADS FOR THE UPRIGHT SUPPORTS TWISTED AS WELL, EVEN THOUGH I HAD GUSSET PLATES FOR THE CONNECTIONS. I SHOULD HAVE SIMPLIFIED THE DESIGN AND BEEN STRAIGHT FORWARD. AS MY DAUGHTER POINTED OUT. JUST A DESIGN IN PROGRESS, A PROTOTYPE. YES I LEARNED A LOT .

THE LEAF LIKE VERTICAL COLUMNS HAVE BEEN CALLED SURFBOARDS AND DO THEIR JOB WELL FOR BEING A CLIP ON LEG. THUS A SYSTEM APPROACH OF LEGS AND HORIZONTAL ELEMENTS OF BEDS AND DESK. BUT THE CONNECTION TO THE BEDS AND DESK ARE THE PROBLEM. THE DESK IS FINE, BUT IT DOES NOT HAVE THE WEIGHT THE BEDS GET. AND THE LEGS SLANTED START A ROTATIONAL ACTION. THE BEDS BEGGING WITH CREAKING SOUNDS FOR FURTHER WORK.

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BED HAPPENING

 

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BED

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VIEW FROM BED, MY LEFT FOOT

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SURROUNDED

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EVERYBODY SHOULD HAVE A 15 FOOT DESK

AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, THE HOME CARE NURSE AFTER MY SURGERY TURNED OUT TO BE THE OWNER OF JOSHUA TREE LAKE, A 40 ACEA RECREATIONAL PARK. SHE ASKED ME WHAT I THOUGHT OF HER PARK? I SAID IT LOOKED DREADFUL. THAT GOT ME IN THE DOOR TO DESIGN WITH 500 RAILROAD TIES THEY HAVE. I DID AN ENTRY WITH THE IDEA OF DOING A MASTER PLAN. THE ENTRY DESIGN WAS LOVED, BUT THE PROJECT IS STALLED AT THE MOMENT.

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NORTH EAST CORNER OF ENTRY TO JOSHUA TREE LAKE. RAILROAD TIES IN AERIAL VIEW.DSC09232

NORTH EAST CORNER OF ENTRY TO JOSHA TREE LAKE. THE RAILROAD TIES HAVE A LOT OF ARRANGEMENT FLEXIBILITY IN ELEVATION AND PLAN
ANOTHER FIRST, HAS ANYONE SEEN THIS CONCEPT WITH RAILROAD TIES?

STAYING ALIVE IN THE DESERT,

GLEN

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4 comments

  1. HI ERIC,

    THANKS FOR THE COMMENT. JUST STAYING ALIVE.

    THE NEXT BLOG IS ON THE JOSHUA TREE OASIS WEB. AN OPEN STEEL NETTING THAT COVERS DOWNTOWN JOSHUA TREE. I AM BUSY PROMOTING THE SCHEME AT THE MOMENT AND INVESTIGATING THE REALITIES OF BUILDING. ALL SPECULATION BUT WITH A CAUSE LIKE THE GREEN MACHINE. MY DECK BLOG.

    GLEN

  2. Viewing Your work is like listening to an Aria with my eyes. You touch with your design the highest human ideals of space utilization. Hope that Joshua Tree realizes the great opportunity that is having a resident Architect of your caliber…

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