The August 24, 2014 earthquake in Napa provides us with another reminder of the challenges of living in the Bay Area – one of the most beautiful places in the country. The quake was strong, but fortunately wasn’t the “Big One”; so the damage was limited and no one was seriously injured or killed. Safety in an earthquake, even a very large one though, doesn’t have to depend on fortune. Building science and technology available today can not only prevent death and injury, but can also prevent destruction and minimize damage to the places where we live, work and play . One of our projects, which we call the Hillside House, is among the first residences in the country to use such technology. Let me share a little background information to help set things in context.
Modern Codes have made our buildings much safer than those of yesteryear, but the standards they set do not require the best possible analysis or technologies be used. The general goal of the Code in an earthquake is to Continue reading →
Every space and building has it’s own character and its own history – its virtues and sometimes its vices. An integral part of preparing an Architectural design is to understand these qualities. Some things can be measured, like a survey (neighboring buildings, trees, rocks, and contours), subsurface geology or the prevailing weather patterns. Some things can be calculated, like the path of the sun across the property throughout the year. Other qualities need to be experienced and understood in an intimate and personal way. Bringing together all of the measurable data and all of the personal impressions is what we refer to as “Observation”.
We’re currently in construction on a remarkable house: a project that started as a remodel and developed into a new building, that when it’s complete, will be the one of the most earthquake safe houses constructed in the country. Many factors influenced the nature and course of the design, but our early observations were critical in unlocking the potential of the house and land.
As architects, we’re trained to design buildings. What we learn in the course of practicing architecture is that there are a tremendous number of issues, components and processes that contribute to the making of a building and place. It’s often easy to focus on either the design or the execution of a construction project, but it’s the experiences we encounter during the whole process that offer illuminating insights about best practices.
With over 20 years in practice, 2M Architecture has helped hundreds of homeowners renovate, expand and transform their homes. Some have even completely replaced homes with new buildings. The experiences and observations gleaned over time are the genesis of this series of articles. As a partnership of two principals, the stories of 2M Architecture will reflect the varied strengths and interests of both Marc Lindsell and Mark Tetrault.