I am an engineer, and also a handy-man. And recently I decided to
embark myself into designing my own house. Now that I stated my very
ambitous general objective. I will try to downplay it. The house I
would like to have would be 1200 to 1400 square feet, hopefully it's
small size will reduce the complexity. I am also looking at this as a
learning opportunity, and at least on the learning end of it I do
intend to spend a lot of time and do a lot of reading. That way even
if I end up buying my first house I would still have gotten something
positive from the process.
Now about my likes and dislikes.
I prefer spatious living areas and high ceilings, I do spend a great
deal of time in the kitchen, and I would like to incorporate it into
the main living area. I would say I like modern style houses and lofts
but I do not like the modern decoration. I do think that there might
be some modern furniture I might like, just not everywhere. Minimalist
aproaches are also not my taste. I would like to have different
elevations in more than one room.
The good thing is that I am proficient in using CAD programs.
Are there any general architecture books that anyone could recommend?
Maybe some web links?
Comments and advice are more than welcome.
Hire an architect and then build it yourself. A decent architect will
sit down with you and design according to your desires, pointing out
things that might conflict with familiar felicity and the like. For
example, a kitchen in a great room or living room brings smell and clean
up issues to your relaxation space..
For 1200 to 1400 square feet I do not know if I can afford an
architect. I was hoping to pay anywhere from 150K to 190K.
I am a person that really likes to explore all options and take time
to do it. Seems cheaper for me to learn a bit of architecture than for
an architect to get to know me.
One thing I am considering is to plan 2 diferent furniture layouts for
the main living space, one for entretaining, and the other for
everyday living. That would allow me to reuse space, but it would
involve moving furniture every now and then. Where I am going to find
an architect willing to discuss these options with me? And if he was,
how much would I need to pay him?
Most people over estimate the value of this, and underestimate the value of
Being an engineer, I'd guess that that the kinds of insights in Christopher
Alexander "A Pattern Language" would be helpful. You have to know how far to
take his stuff, but there's gold in that book for the novice designer,
I charge more than that to *design* a house ; )
Good luck with learning a "bit of architecture" in time for your project.
You might be right, but you might also pay for your mistakes in a variety of
ways. It depends on what you choose to include in you calculations, and how
well you do.
The first guy I worked for as an intern demanded that every residential plan
I showed him had two viable furniture layouts to go with it. If I couldn't
come up with two good ones, I needed a good excuse as to why it couldn't be
done. I still continue this practice 20 years later. I see ridiculous plans
in the real estate section every weekend... poor suckers.
How much an architect charges varies with locale, experience, skill, the
market, his current work load and celebrity. Did I leave anything out?
Square foot cost depends on your locale. And one person's dream won't
fit another person's minimum living requirement.
Well, there are four year degrees and five year degrees with different
professional requirements. With your engineering degree, depending on
what kind of engineering, you might be able to take a few undergraduate
courses THEN get into a graduate professional program......There are few
shortcuts to learning what a licensed architect knows.
You can build flexibility into your designs.
Depends on the locale how much it would cost for an architect to meet
with you on an hourly basis to just discuss. There are liability issues
involved in design it yourself projects.
As far as costs, the 150K to 190K came from nuber crunching and a
square foot cost guide at the custom hose one story level. It did have
a texas multiplier on it. It's not completely accurate but good for
the stage I am in.
Out of the blue I think 80$ to 100$ an hour. And I would not work
without some kind of retainer. Of course an architect can design a
multistory 100,000 sf building. I would not even dare to consider it.
I also read that in the UK 10% of all houses built are self-built.
Which does not mean self-designed. But still encouraging.
Having said that, I am only at the exploratory phase and I may just
end up hiring an architect. Learning about architecture now should
give me more apreciation for what an architect will do for me. I
actually grew up in Mexico, and there was a ton architecture in the
buildings and homes of Mexico city. And I really appreciated that.
I got that reference from "Christopher Alexander 'A Pattern Language'
" thank you very much Michael. I am still thirsty for more.
There are tons of books on architecture and Alexander is not a bad start.
There's something nice about putting a pen or pencil to paper to
solidify ideas.... If you want to conceptualize through minimalist
drafting, consider the books of Francis Ching. You'll start to think in
plan and section as well, which will help you think about the qaulity of
whatever an architect does for you if you go that way:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Then there's always what the site tells you, too. Approach. Views.
Orientation. Weather. Climate. Topography. Transitions. Context. Entourage.
Zoning. Codes. Any architect worth his salt would deal with all of the
above. Design exercises without a specific site generally leave me cold. So
much of what's right or wrong about a building comes from it's site.
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