Ross School - Senior Project 2008/2009
Student: Skylar Braun
Mentor: Urban Reininger
Title: Holistic Home
As the end of Junior year approached I began my internship at the office of Stelle Architects in Bridgehampton. Looking to enhance my first architectural endeavor, my father hired Stelle Architects to do the renovation for our new house on Scuttle Hole Road. Fred Stelle put me on the job with Lucas Cowart, who quickly became my mentor and confidant. After completing and distributing the new floorplans for framing, in addition to the design of a pool house that would accommodate solar panels that would be used for heating the pool, I moved on to a new project. I was given the survey for a lot that is part of the Houses at Sagaponack project. I was asked to design an environmentally friendly home of around 4,000 square feet, and took this as an opportunity to also work on my Senior Project. I began the design of a house that takes advantage of everything the sun has to offer, one which would use passive solar heating and cooling. In order to accomplish this I created an open floorplan with a south facing glass wall to absorb the sun, which would then be stored in thermal mass and distributed throughout the house. Furthermore, I wanted the house to represent something that I would call home if I had the opportunity to design my own house in ten or fifteen years from now. Accordingly, I designed the house with double height public spaces and loft bedrooms, two things that I would include in my own house without a doubt. For my final product I have built a three-dimensional model of the house and created floorplans, elevations, sections, and multiple perspectives with Vectorworks 2008.
First floorplan: The first floor of the house has double-height ceilings in the center and two wings with 10 ft ceilings. I was looking to keep the public spaces very open and easily accessible. From this view, the left wing includes the guest bedroom and the media room, and the right wing includes the laundry room, pantry, powder room, and breakfast nook. Then in the middle there is the main entry, dining area, and kitchen. The media room has glass doors opening up a corner of the room to the backyard, giving the room an indoor/outdoor feel.
Second floorplan: The second floor of the house is split into two wings. From this view, the left wing has two children’s bedrooms and the right wing has the master bedroom and a second level indoor balcony. Both wings have their own upper level living areas that look over the kitchen and entry. MVRDV’s Wozoco Apartments in Amsterdam inspired the design of my second level balcony, which is essentially a cantilevered glass box. I put my own spin on the popular cantilevered box by hanging it over the pool and using glass doors that open up an entire corner of the room.
Section facing east: This is the view you would have if you were to cut the house down the middle and face the east. You can see the master wing’s living area above the kitchen counter, and the second level balcony cantilevered over the pool. Behind the wall to the left are the master bedroom, laundry room, and pantry. There are very few windows to create privacy for the master bedroom, and because a window is not needed in the laundry room or across from the powder room.
Southeast elevation: This is the view you would have if you were to stand outside of the house in the east and facing toward the southwest. Through the big window in the middle you would see the staircase and part of the kitchen.
Southwest elevation: This is the view you would have if you were to stand outside of the house in the backyard (south) and facing toward the northwest. This is the wall that absorbs the sun which is stored in thermal mass and distributed throughout the house for heating purposes. On the first floor the wall is completely filled with doors and on the second floor there are windows to match up with the doors and then the cantilevered balcony with doors that open up.
Model: This is a picture of the balsa wood model that I made. I built it on a scale of 1/8”=1’. The wood is very thin and flexible, and therefore breaks very easily. I used tacky glue to stick the pieces together.
During my summer internship at the office of Stelle Architects I was given the survey for a lot that is part of the Houses at Sagaponack project and was asked to design an environmentally friendly home of around 4,000 square feet. I took this as an opportunity to also work on my Senior Project. I began the design of a house that takes advantage of everything the sun has to offer, one which would use passive solar heating and cooling. In order to accomplish this I created an open floorplan with a south facing glass wall to absorb the sun, which would then be stored in thermal mass and distributed throughout the house. I started the creation of my original design on Google Sketchup, where I was able to experiment with solid and void. I played around with the program until I came up with four different exterior schemes. I chose two schemes from the four, and then designed four different interior schemes for each of the two exterior schemes. From there I chose one interior scheme for each exterior scheme, and then chose my final scheme from those two and recreated the design in VectorWorks where I began to work on the smaller details. In addition to an eco-friendly house, I wanted the design to represent something that I would call home if I had the opportunity to design my own house in ten or fifteen years from now. Accordingly, I designed the house with double height public spaces and loft bedrooms, two things that I would include in my own house without a doubt. . One of the challenges I faced in the design of my house was working around the setbacks and orientation of the specific site. The south facing wall would be on the front of the lot and facing the street, and I had planned to put the pool and backyard on the south side of the house. In order to stick with my original plan I had to do some exterior landscaping to deal with the issue of privacy. I put up “trees” that would hide the pool and the glass wall, and I made the driveway come around from the side of the house to the front of the house at the far end of the property. After completing the design of the house I moved on to creating sections. A section is a representation of the internal structure of something as if it has been cut through vertically or horizontally. I cut the house in half and drew two sections on VectorWorks, one which shows the inside of the house when facing east and the other showing the inside of the house when facing west. Then I created four elevations. An elevation is a representation of a particular side of a building, made by projection on a vertical plane. After completing all of these drawings on VectorWorks I built a three-dimensional model of the house. I used balsa wood for the model and built it on a scale of 1/8”=1’. It was the first model I’d ever built, and it was a lot harder than I’d imagined. It took a lot of time and patience to work with the small pieces of wood used to represent the windows and doors, and I needed steady hands to cut the wood in a straight line. For my final product I have two floorplans, two sections, four elevations, and a three-dimensional model. If I had more time to complete my senior project, I definitely would have built a second model from square one, and my floorplans, sections, and elevations would have been completed with more detail. Besides wanting to go back and perfect all my work, I think I did a pretty good job. This project has only reinforced my previous interest in architectural design, and has made me even more passionate about it. I would 100% love to pursue a career in architecture, and this project has given me the knowledge and experience that I need in order to move forward in the field.
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I worked with Lucas Cowart, an architect at the office of Stelle Architects. When I started my internship he was the first person that I felt comfortable speaking to, and therefore I looked to him for help. Fred Stelle put him on the job with me to work on my family’s house, and then I automatically looked to him for guidance when I moved on to my Senior project. I saw him several times a week and never had trouble communicating with him. During the early stages of my project, Fred Stelle looked over my schemes and gave me feedback, but other than that I relied on Lucas as my professional eye.