I have this pipe dream of settling down somewhere extremely rural and building a self-sufficient, environmentally friendly home. I've got a lot of ideas floating around in my head, but I'm always looking for new ones. How would you go about setting up such a dwelling? (Or how did you do it, if you've done it yourself?) I'm ideally looking for ground-up plans, but all ideas are welcome. [more inside]
Help me navigate a tricky career dilemma! I have two similar but different offers; I'm qualified for both. In the absence of a choice I'd take either one. One is less certainty but more pay and better long-term, the other feels better but the pay and long-term advancement are poor, i.e. I'd have to change jobs to get promoted significantly. I'm 28. Snowflake details below the fold. [more inside]
Industrial buildings frequently have rollup doors on the second or even third story. The ones in question don’t have a horizontal I-beam or timber to hang a winch or block & tackle from, (like you’d see on a hayloft,) so they’re not for day-to-day loading/unloading. The ones I see in the city are generally facing a sidewalk, not a dedicated open space like a loading bay or parking lot. What are these doors for? The only guess I’ve come up with is occasional installation of equipment that’s too big for a freight elevator. But large-scale machinery usually comes in pieces and is assembled on-site, and the stuff that can’t be (e.g. large pressure vessels, crucibles, this thing) isn’t stuff that’s ever installed upstairs in a general-purpose light industrial building. I’m stumped.
We are preparing to build a house. We've been doing this for many months, have talked to architects, contractors, and our city's planning and building department, and we still have lots of questions. Lend us some expertise on foundations, design, and construction? [more inside]
Orange Board is a "fully compliant insulated cladding system". Basically, it's sheets of a foam-like plastic material that gets covered with mesh and stucco / render to serve as the external skin of buildings. I'd like to know how this or similar cladding systems compare to traditional building materials, particularly single-brick (brick veneer) and concrete. How does the longevity compare? Energy efficiency? How easy is it to restore the surface, and how often would it be necessary? I'd be happy for any information people can provide.
Manic Pixie Dream Architecture: please point me towards any websites/books/magazines/blogs/etc. which show weird/cool/unique/interactive design features (e.g. secret/hidden doors) in non-mansion homes. [more inside]
I have designed a house (in Google Sketch Up) that I intend to build. I have not insignificant relevant experience, but I'm neither an engineer nor an architect. Can I just give my design to any old architect and have them turn it into a coherent blueprint for a house that won't collapse? How much should I expect a thing like that to cost? [more inside]
What are good resources for seeing sample house plans and construction drawings? [more inside]
Why are most buildings rectangular? [more inside]
I'm looking for an architectural term. I'm sure it's one I should know, but I'm blanking on it. To make matters worse, I'm having a difficult time searching for a picture of the feature, because I can't come up with the right term. Let me try to describe what it is. [more inside]
Why are modern/minimalist homes so expensive to build? [more inside]
Architects, builders, and engineers -- what is the best software for drawing up a basic set of floor plans? What's the most cost-effective way to get a set of working drawings for a basic house rehab? [more inside]
Have US home construction techniques improved since the 1920s? [more inside]
Building a new garage. It will include a dedicated space for brewing fabulous beer. Technical design and planning questions inside. [more inside]
Seeking books or articles on corruption in large building projects, ancient to modern. [more inside]
Is there an architect or graphic designer in the house? I need line/blue print style images of windows and doors for art pieces I am designing. Please help! [more inside]
What US neighborhoods are best known for interesting examples of Craftsman homes? I know about the various bay area neighborhoods - the Maybecks of the Berkeley hills, Westwood Park in SF, etc.; I'm familiar with Pasadena and its Bungalow Heaven, as well as Santa Barbara's many restored bungalows - and I'm familiar with similar neighborhoods here in Sacramento, where I live now. What I'm mainly looking for are out of the way, underrated or less-known neighborhoods with interesting historical and architectural character, specifically expressed in homes built in the Craftsman aesthetic - from the conservative late Victorian through the Prairie and Mission revival. [more inside]
How can I get a short-term, labor-intensive job in a field I'd like to start a career in? [more inside]
Apart from "modernist, very expensive, and very good", what words does one use to describe the kind of home architecture/construction in which there are no baseboards or traditional moldings, everything fits together perfectly, floors and walls meet seamlessly, etc.? What terms do I need to know in order to find someone who does this type of work?