Archive for the “News” Category

How do we address the car, parking garages and density?

While traveling last year to cities in Ohio, Texas, California and Florida, we photographed parking garages and noticed the desire to build these structures with an aesthetic that hid the car and presented opportunities for density and alternative uses besides a car park.

Goodale Parking Garage

In Columbus, Ohio, the Goodale Street Parking Facility is about two blocks from High Street and across from the convention center. It was built at no cost to taxpayers and the income generated by the garage will pay the costs associated with the construction. This parking garage cost $18 million and it provides 8 floors of parking with 800 spaces.  ($22,500 for each parking space) This is public parking which replaced a surface lot that previously accommodate 192 cars.

Each floor of the garage near the elevators features an “Art Park” creation – an art piece from local artists or Columbus art students which help customers remember which floor they left their cars.

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An overhaul of a Southern Living house with a view of Pinnacle Mountain, Little Rock

Sometimes people who are considering purchasing land for a project ask us to dissect it.  Tell them what we think. We take in the views, vistas, solar angles, winds, topography, drainage, composition of soil, vegetation, approach and overall feel of a place.  For three years, we worked with a family of nine searching for a site within the city limits where they could build a home and have some land.  Finally, the search paid off –  It wasn’t until they found this wonderful piece of land with a north view of Pinnacle Mountain, an existing baseball field, a pond and a Southern Living house that we told them to purchase the land (quickly), and we’ll work with the bones of the house.  It was and still is a spectacular site. We kept a majority of the structure of the house, removed the existing front porch, brick, columns, dormers and pool in the back yard. We renovated the existing house, designed a bedroom addition, a separate garage/gym/studio apartment as well as re-positioned the new pool/outdoor fireplace at the front of the house with the view to Pinnacle.

Photos of the existing site before construction:

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Before/After photos of the front porch:

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Photos below – Before (same elevation):         After:

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Before of rear yard with pool:                           After of rear yard with paving (pool in front yard)

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Details of addition and view looking towards Pinnacle Mountain:

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Interiors at kitchen, base and window detail

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Traveling was good for the soul

We recently traveled to Los Angeles where we toured several houses designed by architects in the early 1920’s as well as visited the beaches in the area, particularly Venice Beach and Santa Monica.  Below are photos of Venice Beach and Muscle Beach.

Venice was founded by tobacco millionaire, Abbot Kenney in 1905 as a beach resort town and has been labeled, “a cultural hub known for its eccentricities”.  Our kind of place. It includes Muscle Beach, handball courts, the paddle tennis courts, skate dancing plaza, beach volleyball courts, bike trails and the basketball courts are renowned for their high level of streetball. Numerous professional basketball players developed their games or have been recruited on these courts.  There’s art, music and architecture as well.  Venice was also where The Doors formed in 1965 as well as the birthplace of the band Jane’s Addition.

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House in Chenal Valley – What is beauty in architecture?

Reflecting this week on a recent excerpt in a local publication on Prime Property: 10 of the most beautiful homes in Little Rock. One of the projects we designed is included in this list and is quite different from the other selections. So, we’ve been discussing beauty in architecture and re-questioning what we think beauty means to us.

We realize beauty is dependent to some extent on culture and experience; but can beauty be universally understood at some level?

Aesthetic, in architecture, is often linked with order and balance. Rhythm, for instance is frequently desired within striking compositions. So, is architecture nothing more than the manipulation of space to follow certain rules of beauty? Can architecture break or challenge such rules that are directly connected to the human senses?

When the human nervous system experiences beauty, certain parts of the brain light up. It seems that, to some extent, humans can be taught what beauty means. Again, culture and experience may have a significant role. Yet, there are certain qualities that are constantly found regardless of culture or experience. According to Beauty and Brain these are: grids, zigzags, spirals and curves.  Such findings indicate that on some level, beauty may be universal.

As architects, we strive to create beautiful forms and spaces that inspire humans within. It is often said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”; however, there are a collection of architectural spaces that never fail to stir occupants deeply. Like many designers, architects follow rules and consciously bend them. To advance as a profession, it is important to learn from the discoveries of neuroaesthetics; but it is equally important to challenge them. Architects should not feel limited by such findings, but rather they should feel freed to learn why occupants respond the way they do – to certain arrangements of space.

The experience of beauty is fundamental to what makes us all human. We may find beauty in different things at different times; however, the joy found in surrounding architectural space and form is universal. As spacial compositions continue to evolve, so too will our understanding of the meaning behind beauty.

Below is the house we designed that was included in the list of the 10 Most Beautiful Homes in Little Rock.

And we can’t help but think of this weeks happenings that beauty of the human race is all the differences between us.

 

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A spirit of thankfulness

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In the spirit of thankfulness, we wanted to take time to reflect on the role of those organizations that have inspired us. Oftentimes, we back up our inspiration with support – from pro bono design assistance to leadership advice and financial support.  We look forward to 2015 with great enthusiasm.  In 2014, we supported some great organizations:

University of Arkansas at Little Rock – Institute of Government

University of Arkansas at Little Rock – Donaghey Scholars

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The Arkansas Innovation Hub

Architecture + Design Network

Studio 804, University of Kansas

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance

CATA

Our House, Inc.

Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas

 

 

 

Previous Publications

Arkansas Life
January 2012
In a New Light
Article on Wooten Residence


 

At Home in Arkansas
August 2009
The Modern-Minded Family
Article written about the Carlton residence design.

[ Download Article ]


 

At Home in Arkansas
September 2008
Family Ties
Article written about a family updating their kitchen.

[ Download Article ]


 

At Home in Arkansas
August 2005
The ABC’s of Design
Article describing the renovation of Baseline Elementary School.

[ Download Article ]


 

At Home in Arkansas
November 2010
All Together Now
Article written about Herron Horton Live/Work.

[Web Link]


 

Arkansas Green Guide
2009
Inside A Green Home
Article written about how a Heights Home proves sustainability can be simple.


 

Metropolitan Home
May 2008
Core Values
Article written about the Abraham kitchen.

[ Download Article]


 

Arkansas Life
January 2012
In a New Light
Article on Wooten Residence


 

Arkansas Life
September 2010
Well-Laid Plan
Article written about the Cranford residence design.

Download Article ]


 

New Home
WINTER 2008
Cranford home
Article written about the Cranford residence design.


 

realLIVING
NOVEMBER 2006
From Farm to Charm
Article written about the McHenry’s renovation/additions.