The great 19th century poet Goethe once compared Architecture and Music, with the following (translated) quote, “Music is liquid architecture; Architecture is frozen music.” I’ve long been fascinated by the relationship between my two favorite art forms. Since this is an architecture blog, it’s no surprise that I’m passionate about our built environment. You may not know however that I’m also an accomplished amateur piano player, starting lessons when I was only 7 years old. There’s a funny story about how I got my first piano that I’ll share sometime if you want to hear it.
On the surface architecture and music seem so different: one is useful, lasting and solid, the other is fanciful, ephemeral and Continue reading →
One of the nice things about going to a party is meeting new people. Early in the conversation someone usually asks “what do you do?” and I get to answer “I’m an Architect.” Everyone loves to speak with an Architect: many will share their childhood dreams about becoming an Architect, others will share a story about a past remodel and still others will want to share opinions about the new local building. Whatever the conversation, there’s always an interesting point of connection – and who doesn’t like being popular at a party?
There are lots of things I love about being an Architect, from the artistic creativity to the technological challenges – it embraces so many areas of human endeavor. Ever since I was a boy, I had a fascination with archaeology. I could sit for hours pouring through picture books of Egyptian and Mayan ruins, imagining the people who lived there and what the cities might have looked like when they were still new. I’m grateful that life has given me the chance to wander the streets and touch the building of a few of these ancient cities. I’m also grateful that this antiquarian interest can offer valuable insights in my professional life. Continue reading →
After many years of careful planning and hard work, the Hillside House has taken its place as one of the most seismically advanced houses in the country. In previous posts, I related the background and process of design. We’ve finally reached the most exciting part of the story – construction!
The first step of the installation happened “below the surface”. To transfer the loads from the steel frames to the foundation, the Structural Engineer devised a specialized steel column/baseplate to be cast into the concrete. Each post was integrated into the steel reinforcing of the basement concrete wall allowing only a ¼” tolerance from perfect placement – and there were 21 of columns to install. Fortunately, the Contractor was up to the job and handled it beautifully!
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.