Homes are functional machines, although most people don’t consider this factor when designing a new home, or only as a side note. Lets, for a moment, discuss the functional aspects of what humans have to deal with when functioning in a home solely from their point of view, and assume there is a fitting design to solve their daily and weekly tasks in order to save humans the maximum amount of time, thus providing extended opportunities to enjoy life. This is a ‘house as machine’ examination!
Using New York City as an example, we can examine the typical urban residential block. Part of a long and narrow grid it provides the basics for laying out residential and commercial districts and buildings. The American grid, with its ascending street numbers or letters, is an organizing approach meant to equalize, to account for expansion and to make navigation easy and efficient.
First we’ll look at a very early Sandborn Map surveyed as housing and other structures were filling in the blocks, analysis this in terms of road to lot ratio, housing disposition and it’s inherent pros/cons, and then explore a few property surveys to see some variations to the individual residential type in NYC.
This project involved the careful restoration of an 1890’s townhouse facade, with repointing, structural reinforcement, new structural lintels, cornice refurbishment, roof scape waterproofing and a new storefront system that retained the character of the building and neighborhood but kept modern conveniences of insulation and materials.
The following, so well written, I had to share (with permission) for the benefit of others. It is a comment in reference to a Crain’s article on scaffolding in NYC and why there is so much of it.
By Edward C. Greenberg; NYC copyright and intellectual property litigator and teacher • 4 days ago
It was a rough renovation of a dilapidated unplanned studio apartment, into a narrow but legal one bedroom rental apartment. This gut renovation had its twists and turns, but perseverance prevailed to complete this makeover, creating a warm and cozy one bedroom, one bath, full kitchen apartment.
We (SimpleTwig Architecture.llc) will show you the character, layout and thinking behind several different rental apartments (this is the second of several articles)
We’re at that point in the year where the sun is starting to make its presence known by giving us extended day light hours. But the effects of the cold acts like winter is an entity cuddled in a slingshot in that the cold of winter is about to hit us, along with snow and ice that makes a daily walk a risk taking adventure. Is there a way of guaranteeing that our walkways will be free of snow and ice year around? I believe there is.
With spring around the corner, lets take a quick look at one of our SimpleTwig garden projects during the renovation of a Carroll Gardens Brooklyn townhouse.
When purchased the garden was overgrown with fallen fencing, and whatever thrown wherever. Our first steps were basic cleanup. The ivy was trimmed back and the trash, fencing and anything not savable removed. We kept the existing gravel cleaning it up so we could use it as a base for a new slab and tile.
This garden is just 30×40 feet square with buildings on 3 sides. Because of this we decided to make more of the planting area by raising it, and at the same time provide additional seating for informal gatherings.
In order to ensure a dry townhouse for years and decades, one has to properly detail roof connections so that there are at least 2 different systems in place directing running water away from the home. Here we examine the often overlooked townhouse gutter system which is typically slapped on the back of the house and glued in place.
We are proud to have developed a simple pipe system that prevents basement and cellar flooding due to a blockage in the house trap. It’s a rather simple system that for a couple hundred dollars can spare a homeowner from thousands of dollars in damages, including sparing them from the week or so to make their flooded area ‘sewer free’ which is not an easy task and often leaves residue behind despite the best efforts. YUCK!