Friday, February 29, 2008

planning application: take 2

so-armed with levels and survey information i have just completed my second attempt at drawing up a planning application for the house.

a little annoyed that it has taken this long (mostly at myself for trying to subvert the system, a little at the suveyors that drew up the lot 5 years ago and couldn't manage to track down the drawings 4 weeks ago), but that's now by-the-by. this is going in to council on tuesday and it is going through, dammit!

t minus 3months, 3days and counting...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

50khouse / 100khouse

few people know this, but the apartment house started out as the '50k house'. i was and still am damn sure i could build a house for 50 thousand $ - it was small and it was timber but it was only going to cost me 50thou, and it would've been hot. anyway, one thing followed another and all of a sudden the project blew out to the 'apartment house'.

well, a few weeks ago whilst looking for kindred spirits, blog-wise, i stumbled across the 100k house! chad in philadelphia, usa, is building his very own apartment-sized house for 100k (twice as tall, twice as big, twice as costly, and presumably twice as water-proof and comfortable as the old 50k house)...and he is keeping a very up-to-date and detailed blog while he does it. so link on over and take a look. it's a very sexy little building and has some great drawings and images in the albums. and his architects - ISA - are impressive too.

...this blogging thing is fun...


and now we have our survey info! hooray!

therefore i can augment my existing planning application (which have been on hold at council for a month already...the project has at least been given a council reference number, which is exciting, i guess) and submit it to join the rest of the drawings. then wait for approval...or otherwise...they say 3months but i'm hoping there won't be too mcuh deliberation and it might be a bit quicker. we'll see.

in the meantime i will press on with my construction set of drawings in preparation. i'm sure plenty of issues will come up in the meantime. i've already found 2...

floor plan

the floor plan...

there you have it. that's why it's the apartment house. it's small. i mean, it's not that tiny (in fact, my research turned up that you would need to pay over a million $$ to get an apartment 10% smaller and share it with 2 other people at least, in any of the current developments in the area), but it's not big.

the footprint is in the vicinity of 93m2, but the roof deck allows for about 150m2 of outdoor living/entertaining area. 93m2 is more than enough for 2 people to inhabit very comfortably, and the living space alone is bigger than most flats and plenty of new apartments.

so it's open plan living/dining/kitchen, with a couple of moveable kitchen benches to allow for different capacities or scenarios. then there's a small study nook with beautiful northern light from behind. from there it's into the wc/ensuite/laundry with its skylight chimney, massive shower and communal basin. through into the bedroom which is vast and which i'm sure will incorporate a small lounge area when it's done. there's a full wall of cabinets and wardobe that conceals the ensuite and bedroom sliding doors behind. then back through the big slider (the jo pickup door) that also acts as the door for a storage cupboard accessed from the study side. that's the tour. it only takes a moment. as i have more interior sketches i'll post them to see how the inside feels.

the north facade is all sliding glass and operable louvres with a beautiful big eave to keep the joint cool. this glass opens on to the vine-covered carport and the big slab deck and shade tree. around the corner is the access stair to the roof. and down the walk to the mailbox.

the engineer called it 'cute'. i'm going with 'compact'. or 'succinct'. it's going to be beautiful.
*re-posted the floor plan with the revised one for the new planning app.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


sanitary selections - done!

that little hassle is out of the way and we came through under budget...which is nice. i managed to convince zac to let me have the sink i've been dreaming of since day 1 - the vast catalano zero75 from rogerseller!

look at the size of it! like 10 people can brush their teeth in it at once! that's a lot of teeth brushing. you could probably have 10 people flossing there too...not at the same'd have to have some sort of rotation system...

so yeah. big sink. big shower head. presumably standard size toilet. a robe hook.

i'll see if i can track down an interior drawing or sketch so that the full glory of our enormous basin can be basked in.


right. we've got our engineering. our brilliant engineer has banged out 2 pages of sketches and we are done. we've got a big fat slab and a couple of skinny columns.

so that's nice and simple and easy to incorporate into the fact it hasn't changed much from the planning application drawings...which means tender-able drawings can't be far away...lord, i hate drafting...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

jo pickup

i have a theory about mixing architecture with other artistic and design disciplines. it's not very complicated; it goes something like "it's good to mix architecture with other artistic and design disciplines".

there's something subtely, and sometimes overtly cannabalistic about architecture with its constant and ever-distilling practice of 'reference'. let's ignore, for a moment, that this house has a phillip johnson idea at its heart, and, well, let's just ignore it. i like the results that come from design cross-polination - shoes and artists, clothing and product designers, art and architecture. the apartment house is mostly driven by budget and heated compromise, but i believe in the benefits that can be achieved through mixing architecture with just about anything else. to that end, zac and i approached one of our favourite artists/designers - jo pickup - to enhance the house with a couple of integrated pieces.

jo works with ink and textile and screen-print and produces some amazing stuff, so we were very glad to hear she was up for mixing it up with some architecture. at this point there are 2 ideas on the table - the first is pretty straight-foward and entails screen-printing the 3 interior doors to create some huge 'murals' (i'll try and post some sketches of the interior spaces and where these prints would go); the second is to produce a privacy/shading/indicator strip on the glass facade by turning a design into vinyl transfers to be stuck to the glazing. i had to stand up and argue this one on the grounds that yes, it could be done (coincidentally, after the conversation i spotted a similar application on a work by one of my favourite architects, andrew maynard) and that yes, it would look awesome. having won that argument it'll probably be scuttled by the budget, but it's a moral victory...the internal doors, though, are definitely a go. if i can't actually integrate with art, then i'm at least going to allow the house to be a canvas for it.

so jo and zac and i need to sit down and work out what the plan is, and i have to be able to convince the builder that he needs to allow lead time for pretty screen-printing of doors. when jo has an idea of what she is going to do i'll ask her if i can post it.


ok. after a slow start we are well under way. the plans have gone to council for planning approval (nb: if your boss, associates and other learned professionals tell you that you can get away with doing a d.a. without getting a survey...get one anyway), the retro-fitted, survey-enhanced plans will be going to council as well next week, the engineer has started working on my expansive roof slab and we are making selections left right and centre.

so far we have pretty much nailed down appliances, sanitary, lighting, stone for bench-tops and a mature tree for the courtyard. but of course that will all change next week, if not when we see something sexier, then at least when the final quotes come through!

in the meantime i am working up the lighting plans and the cabinets for the kitchen (i keep forgetting to locate a rubbish bin...), and trying to figure out what a 'burnished' concrete floor looks like. if anyone knows where i can see one i'd be most grateful for the information.

on it rolls...