GETTING IT RIGHT

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GLEN HOWARD SMALL , ARCHITECT SEAL ROCK RESIDENCE. 2000

ANDY STRICKER, STRUCTURAL ENGINEER

GARY STEVENS, CONTRACTOR ERIK DEDIJER SMALL, ASSISTANT

IT ALL STARTED BY DEFAULT AND ENDED WITH DEFAULT. MY SALE OF THIS LOT WAS BLOCKED, SO I HAD NO CHOICE OTHER THAN TO DEVELOP THE LOT MYSELF. THE IDEA WAS TO BUILD A SPEC. HOUSE TO SELL. IT WORKED OUT FOR THE BEST, SINCE I ENDED UP LIVING IN A FANTASTIC HOUSE FOR TEN YEARS. WHAT A THRILL TO EXPERIENCE. THE FIRST HOUSE I EVER LIVED IN THAT WAS MY DESIGN. IT UPLIFTED MY SPIRTS, LIFE WAS GREAT A BLOCK AWAY FROM A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BEACH. CHRISTIAN MY 3RD WIFE LOVED THE PLACE AS WELL. SO ALL WAS POSITIVE. IT REAFFIRMED FIRST HAND THAT ARCHITECTURE IS A HUGE POSITIVE FORCE TO ENRICH ONE’S LIFE.

IT WAS SO REFRESHING TO HAVE MY DESIGN SURROUNDING ME. EVERY ARCHITECT SHOULD LIVE IN HIS SPACES, BUT AS HENRICK BULL ARCHITECT IN SAN FRANCISCO TOLD ME THAT IS SELDOM POSSIBLE. HOW SAD.

THE LOT WAS A GRAVEL PARKING LOT WITH A COUNTY SERVICE YARD TO THE NORTH NEXT DOOR. THE FLAT LOT SLIGHTLY SLOPED TO A CREEK TO THE EAST . THE SITE A BLOCK FROM THE OCEAN, WITH A SECOND STORY PEEK A BOO VIEW OF THE PACIFIC .

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OREGON IS A NORTHERN JUNGLE DRIPPING WITH WATER PRODUCING LUSH GROWTH. THE GROUND FLOOR FACING SOUTH EAST WITH A LARGE LAWN THAT LOOKED INTO A FORREST OF TALL SPRUCE TREES. THE ROOMS DEFINED BY VERTICAL CEDAR PARIED CURVED WALLS THAT SLOPED INTO THE FLAT LANDSCAPE.

ALL OF THE FUNCTIONAL ITEMS LIKE KITCHEN, BATHROOMS, CLOSETS WERE STRAIGHT AND WHITE AND BRIDGED BETWEEN CONTRASTED CURVED NATURAL WOOD WALLS.

SUNLIGHT CAME INTO THE HOUSE ON THE EAST AND ROTATED TO THE SOUTH STUDIO AND FINISHED IN THE WEST SHINING INTO THE BEDROOMS. WITH A CLEARSTORY THAT LIT UP THE GREAT ROOM. THE BEDROOM WINDOWS HIGH TO ALLOW STAR STUDDED SKY VIEWS AT NIGHT FROM THE BEDS.

THE PAIRED CEDAR WALLS HAVING NATURAL LIGHT INTO THE ROOMS FROM BOTH OPEN ENDS. A REPEATED THEME THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE. ALL LAYED OUT FROM ROTATIONAL POINTS LIKE THE BEDROOM WALLS. EASY TO BUILD WITH CONSTANT CURVATURE. THE VISUAL PULL OF THE WALLS TO THE OUTSIDE LANDSCAPE AND VISA VERSA.

THE GROUND FLOOR EXPOSED CONCRETE AGGREGATE FLOORS CONTINUED PAST THE GLASS LINE INTO THE OUTSIDE PATIOS AND REFLECTING PONDS,. THE EXPOSED AGGREGATE CONNECTING THE INSIDE TO OUTSIDE.

THE REFLECTING PONDS STOCKED WITH GOLD FISH. ACTED AS CATCH BASINS FROM CUSTOM SCUPPERS OFF THE ROOFS THAT PROVIDED DELIGHTFUL WATER FALLS WHILE RAINING.. IN THE WINTER THE POOLS ICED OVER AND PROVIDED MULTIPLE REFRACTIONS AND PATTERNS.

THE SECOND FLOOR REACHED WITH A CURVED WINDER STAIR RUNNING UP THE SIDE OF THE GREAT ROOM THAT ACTED AS STAGE FOR CIRCULATION THAT CULMINATED WITH A VIEW OF THE REFLECTION POND ON THE FIRST FLOOR AND TOPPING OUT ON THE SECOND FLOOR WITH A BALCONY THAT OVERLOOKED THE GREAT ROOM. THE BUILDING INSPECTOR CHALLENGED BY THE CANTILEVER AND JUMPING UP AND DOWN ON IT DURING FRAMING, WHICH I STRAPPED INTO THE SECOND FLOOR TO ASSURE HIM IT WOULD NOT FAIL. THE RAILING WALL ACTING AS A BOX BEAM AS WELL THAT TIED INTO THE BOX BEAM OF THE STAIR RAILING WALL. IT TOOK A BIT OF EXPLAINING TO ASSURE THE CONTRACTOR GARY STEVENS THAT THE STAIR WAS STRUCTURALLY SOUND.

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DOWN TO THE GREAT ROOM IN THE WINTER THE PONDS FROZE OVER AND ICE PATTERNS WERE FANTASTIC

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FANCO AND MOTHER STEPPING DOWN THE STAIR TO BE GIVEN AWAY 2006

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VIEW FROM THE STAIR THE WIFE CHRISTIAN SHOOTING POOL SOFA BY GLEN HOWARD SMALL

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THE DESIGN CAME EASILY FROM THE FUNCTIONAL RESTRAINS OF THE SITE. THE ORIGINAL ROUGH MODELS JUST REFINED TO TURN IT INTO CONSTRUCTION DRAWINGS.
I HAD SOME MONEY AND WAS DOING WELL IN THE STOCK MARKET THE HIGH TECT BOOM. SO THE BANKS WENT ALONG AND ALLOWED EVERYTHING TO BE BUILT AS DESIGNED. THE STARS WERE LINED UP RIGHT TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

BEING THE ARCHITECT OWNER MAKES THINGS SIMPLE. IT WAS A SPEC. HOUSE SO I USED SIMPLE MATERIALS THAT WERE CHEAP, LIKE THE SMALL KNOT CEDAR AND NAIL ON WINDOWS. FORMICA CABINET WHITE CABINET TOPS. ETC. I WAS INTO ARCHITECTURAL SPACE, WHEREAS MOST CLIENTS RUN THE COST UP WITH EXPENSIVE MATERIALS AND FIXTURES. GARY STEVENS THE CONTRACTOR CHOOSE TO BUILD THE CURVED WALLS ON THE SLAB AND RAISE THEM INTO PLACE ON TOP OF THE STEM WALLS WITH A CRANE. BRILLIANT AND IT WORKED OUT WELL.

AT ABOUT 5PM ONE AFTERNOON I GET A CALL FROM THE BANK THAT THEIR INSPECTOR HAD VISITED THE SITE AND SAID THE CURVED WALLS THAT WERE STANDING FREE AT THE TIME WERE NOT BRACED PROPERLY AND A HIGH WIND WAS COMING . GARY, ERIK ( MY SON), AND I RUSHED TO THE SITE, WE NAILED FRANTICALLY TO BRANCE MORE, BUTWE WERE TOO LATE, GETTING BLOWN OFF A LADDER AND THREE OF THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN I , THE STEM WALLS AND CONCRETE SLAB WERE DESTROYED AS WELL. SINCE THE WALLS WERE PLYWOOD SHEATHED ON BOTH SIDES THEY ACTED AS A BOX BEAM AND WERE JUST SLIGHTLY DAMAGED.

I WAS SCHEDULED TO GO TO NICARAGUA THE NEXT DAY, WHEN I ARRIVED BACK IN 10 DAYS GARY AND HAD IT ALL BACK TOGETHER, AND BRACED, WHAT A RELIEF.

MY SON ERIK DEDIJER-SMALL WORKING AS A CARPENTER DURING CONSTRUCTION, THE WALLS BUILT ON THE GROUND AND LIFTED WITH A CRANE TO DROP ON THE STEM WALL PLATES.

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THE HOUSE ROSE OUT OF THE LANDSCAPE

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UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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CATCH BASINS REFLECTION PONDS PLAYED A HUGE PART.

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COLLAGE OF SHADOWS CONSTANTLY CHANGING

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SOUTH WEST VIEW

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THE CONCEPT WAS TO SEE THROUGH THE HOUSE FROM THE STREET. THE FIREPLACE LITE UP AT NIGHT BECKONED. THE BEDROOMS HAD ROOF DECKS AND VIEW OF THE OCEAN. THE TALL GLAZING ALLOWED VIEWING THE HEAVENS AT NIGHT. THE WOOD STACK PROVIDE HEATING FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS AND LUMBER FOR MY CUSTOM FURNITURE.

I BEING THE HOME OWNER CONTRACTOR PAID OFF. IT WAS REASONABLE TO BUILD AND COULD NOW NEVER BE REPLACED. ALL OF THE SUB CONTRACTORS WERE UP FOR WORKING ON THE HOUSE, WHICH WAS POSITIVE. IT WAS ON A DREAM BUILDERS TV PROGRAM BUT THAT WAS ABOUT ALL THE PUBLICITY IT GOT. THIS IS A MONUMENT THAT WAS BUILD WITH SIMPLE AFFORDABLE MATERIALS. THE SPACES ARE UNIQUE AND DYNAMIC.

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DRAFTING TABLE IN STUDIO GARAGE

PROBLEMS AROSE CAUSED BY THE THE TORCH DOWN ROOFER CONTRACTOR WHICH I HAD USED ON TWO OTHER JOBS WITH SUCCESS WITH NO LEAKS, THE CONTRACTOR NOT GIVING PROPER SLOPES TO FLAT DECKS AND FOLLOWING MY DETAILS CORRECTLY. BOTH CONTRACTORS OVERSIGHTS RESULTED IN LEAKS AND REPAIRING OVER THE YEARS WHICH I WAS BLAMED FOR . A LESSON LEARNED DOING AN UNCONVENTIONAL BUILDING THAT DEPENDED ON CAREFUL COORDINATED WATERPROOFING DURING CONSTRUCTION.

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MY 928 PORCHE AND GRANDSONS WITH NEIGHBOR KIDS.

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THE ENTRY

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GRANDSONS JACOB AND RAVEN WITH THEIR FIRST CATCH OF TROUT 2007

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S CURVE

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SOUTH EAST SIDE

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MANY A WONDERFUL TIME IN FRONT OF THE FIREPLACE WHICH HAD A BLOWER AND COULD HEAT THE WHOLE HOUSE. OREGON ABUNDANT WITH TREES FOR NATURAL HEAT. I DID NOT DESIGN AN ECOLOGICAL HOUSE, BUT IT DID WORK WELL. THE SUNLIGHT COMING THROUGH THE LARGE GLAZING THAT WARMED CONCRETE FLOOR THAT ACTED AS A HEAT SINK AND HEATED THE HOUSE AT NIGHT WITH THE AIR RISING TO THE BEDROOMS. THE SUMMER NEVER TOO HOT WITH THE CROSS VENTILATION WHIPPING THROUGH THE HOUSE. ALL SO SIMPLE.

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THE 14 FOOT SLIDERS WITH 7′ OPEN CLEARANCES TO MOVE THROUGH. THE EYE DIRECTED UPWARD TO SEE THE FOREST. I WAS PLEASED WITH THE FIRE IN THE MIDDLE THAT ACTED AS A GATHERING POINT WITH VIEWS ON BOTH SIDES.

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THE AFTERNOON SUN INTO THE GREAT ROOM I DESIGNED AND BUILT MOST OF THE FURNITURE.

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ALL THE REFLECTIONS AND BANGING AROUND OF EVER CHANGING OF LIGHT AND SHADOW

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GOING UP THE STAIR

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THE KITCHEN THAT EVEN THE WOMEN LOVED

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WHAT A JOY TO WORK IN, I SHOULD HAVE MOVED MY STUDIO INTO THE GREAT ROOM

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LUCIA SMALL SHOOTING FOR “MY FATHER THE GENIUS II,” I AM STILL WAITING FOR IT TO HAPPEN

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A GREAT PARTY HOUSE CHRISTIAN LUGO SMALL AND GLEN HOWARD SMALL

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HAVING A SHARING SESSION IN THE BACK YARD,

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JULIE SMALL, YASMINA DEDIJER-SMALL, FRANCO FARDALES, CHRISTINE LUGO SMALL, GLEN HOWARD SMALL, CHRISTINE SMALL, JACOB, ERIK DEDIJER-SMALL, RAVEN, LUCIA SMALL 2006.

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REGRETTABLY MY FINANCIAL SITUATION SUFFERED FROM POOR MONEY MANAGEMENT AND THE BANK OF AMERICA REPOSSESSED MY HOUSE. PART OF THE 2009 RECESSION.

THE NEW OWNERS ARE THE WHEELERS. AN ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHER AND HIS DESIGN INTERIOR WIFE. THEY CHOOSE TO NOT HAVE ME INVOLVED IN THE RESTORATION, WHICH WAS EXTENSIVE WITH NEW SIDING AND ROOFING. TO MY SURPRISE THEY REMOVED THE FIREPLACE, WHICH WAS THE FOCAL POINT OF THE HOUSE, AND INSTALLED A LARGE TV. A STATEMENT OF THE VALUES OF THE SOCIETY.

THEY PUT TILE OVER THE THE EXPOSED AGGREGATE FLOOR. THEIR FURNISHING ARE SLICK IN CONTRAST TO MY CASUAL BUILT FURNITURE. THEY PUT FLIMSY FENCES UP FOR THEIR TINY DOGS, THE NEW CEDAR SIDING WAS PRE STAINED AND READS AS PAINTED WOOD, THEIR LANDSCAPE GROOMED IN CONTRAST TO THE WILD LOOK I LIKE, A GRAVEL LAWN BOWLING SWATH ACROSS THE BACK YARD. THEIR LAST TOUCH BEING AN AIRSTREAM TRAILER.

BUT TO THE WHEELERS CREDIT THEY RESPECTED THE DESIGN WITH LOVE AND CARE. THEY THINKING IT IS THEIR HOUSE, WHEN REALLY IT IS MINE.

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2 comments

  1. i was just having a discussion about circulation in ‘modern architecture’ (case-studies) with one of my professors and i argued that movement in and out of spaces is set up like a grid which dictates humans to move in 90 degree turns, which totally rejects the organic free flowing nature of bipedal movement !

    the way the s curves invite you into the spaces and the way they continue the form language through the inside is genius and accurately responsive to the true flow of movement.

  2. DESMEND,

    THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENT.

    HUMAN MOVEMENT DEPENDS ON THE TASK AT HAND.
    WITH THIS HOUSE IT WAS A MATTER OF DRAWING WITH INTEREST TO ASCEND UP THE WINDER STAIR THAT HUGGED THE CURVED WALL.

    IT WAS PREFERABLE TO MOVE THIS WAY THAN ALONG A STRAIGHT PATH OF MOVEMENT.

    ALL THE COLONAL MANSIONS HAD THE WIDER STAIRS CASCADING TO THE FOYER. YES, THIS IS PREFERRED BY HUMANS THAT HAVE BODIES THAT ARE CURVED AND FLOWING.

    THE S CURVED WALL DID DRAW ONE INTO THE HOUSE OR OUT OF THE HOUSE. WHAT CAN I SAY CURVES DO THE JOB.

    THE CASE STUDY HOUSES ARE SET UP AXIS VIEWS, BECAUSE THEY DEPEND ON THE ORTHOGONAL GRID. A RESULT OF BUILDING MATERIALS AND SQUARE FURNITURE LAYOUTS.

    MARCHING IN THE ARMY IT WAS ALL BASED ON 90 DEGREE ANGLES. VERY RIGID AND NOT THE RELAXED HUMAN FLOW IN ANY DIRECTION.

    ALL HAVE THEIR PLACE,

    GLEN

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