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! Design: Solarium at Wheaton Labs: Design Conversation

 
pollinator
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I like the switch to gable roof instead of shed, also the vertical offset means not having to marry garage/solarium rooves allowing for different materials.

Regarding the car turnout allowance, and the roof on that side. Is it possible to keep the roof full width (not cut back/asymmetrical/saltbox-looking?) to provide shelter at what I assume will be the main entrance?
Even with the vertical offset, the eaves on the solarium are higher than the garage door opening, which suggests that any "car" that would be garage height (not a Sprinter van) would not even come close to striking it.
At the full width (cantilevered), there'd even be enough space for it to act as a "carport" for loading/unloading from a car trunk in inclement weather. Also puts the door way under cover, so flashing details are less necessary to get perfect.
 
gardener
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Metal roofing is, monetarily and skills-wise, one of the cheapest and longest-lasting materials. It is of course highly refined metal with high-tech coatings (or galvanizing).

Wood shingles (generally cedar) are fairly expensive and take time to apply correctly (staggering joints). They are probably the single most appropriate roofing technology for natural building in northern US locations. They look beautiful and would be a good topping for an introductory piece of building.
 
master steward
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How are wood shingles in a forest fire?  Not sure the risk of that at basecamp...
 
Glenn Herbert
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If forest fire is a serious concern close to base camp, that would be a factor that could outweigh natural building. On the other hand, the existing building has asphalt shingles, so extra protection on the new part might be irrelevant. Is there any consideration of fire management practices to reduce the local risks?
 
pollinator
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Paul was talking about the available time, and needing dry space.
He also said, "The solarium should be big enough to fit a table and some people around it."
He also said, "Gable roofs take some skill."
Earlier, I proposed the idea of closing in the garage door opening with glass.
Therefore, Wednesday, I had an idea that I needed to convey.
The following illustration limits the solarium to a 10'x10' area for people to sit around a table, places a simple shed roof over their heads, and glazes the remainder of the garage door opening. It places one sliding glass door at the garage wall facing South, and another sliding glass door in a solarium wall facing West.
LIBRARY_PLAN06-pic01.jpg
Perspective view of solarium looking West.
Perspective view of solarium looking West.
LIBRARY_PLAN06-pic02.jpg
Perspective view of solarium looking East.
Perspective view of solarium looking East.
 
Davin Hoyt
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Ash and I sat down with Paul to get another iteration of Paul's thoughts.

My sum-up is as follows, and I will apply this to my thinking for all of Paul's (Wheaton Lab) projects going forward:

This piece of architecture needs to be an "artifact"; needs to encompass Wheaton Labs' values, and elicit divine imagination through it's aesthetics.

The following images show where the design is currently. Please comment. Thanks!
LIBRARY_PLAN07-pic01.jpg
Perspective of solarium design from southeast.
Perspective of solarium design from southeast.
LIBRARY_PLAN07-pic02.jpg
Perspective of solarium design from east.
Perspective of solarium design from east.
LIBRARY_PLAN07-pic03.jpg
Perspective of solarium design from southwest.
Perspective of solarium design from southwest.
LIBRARY_PLAN07-pic04.jpg
Perspective of solarium design from top.
Perspective of solarium design from top.
LIBRARY_PLAN07-pic05.jpg
Perspective of solarium design from south.
Perspective of solarium design from south.
LIBRARY_PLAN07-pic06.jpg
Perspective of solarium design from southeast (with notes).
Perspective of solarium design from southeast (with notes).
 
Mike Haasl
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Looking good Davin!  I just remembered that "board and batten" siding might fit in even better in this area and match the other structures on the site.  And it might make the stud/support situation a bit simpler.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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Davin Hoyt wrote:Ash and I sat down with Paul to get another iteration of Paul's thoughts.

My sum-up is as follows, and I will apply this to my thinking for all of Paul's (Wheaton Lab) projects going forward:

This piece of architecture needs to be an "artifact"; needs to encompass Wheaton Labs' values, and elicit divine imagination through it's aesthetics.

The following images show where the design is currently. Please comment. Thanks!



My first impression in three 'phrases': Pizza Hut, Space Invaders, shingle-style visible moon lander. I'm also reminded of some '60's or '70's two-story houses around me that have a cedar shake Mansard roof, with sliding glass doors and "balconies" in it.
I like the glass-as-flashing. It is unexpected, and engaging a "what else can I find going on here?" and "this will be easy, since it's all see-through." curiosity about the structure. I don't understand the glass soffit, and that's okay.

The shed roof design (just prior to this one) has some things going for it as well. Mainly I can see it as a "refuge". A place connected to, but separate from the main garage space that is not tasked with being the only entrance.
It seems to me that it will be a nice cozy space in cool weather, and traffic through there would spoil it.
 
master pollinator
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My taste probably is 'simple'. I like the simple design with shed roof the most. Isn't it possible to put the shingles on the shed roof and on parts of the sides (between or beside the windows)?
 
Glenn Herbert
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The last design is certainly eye-catching, but as a project for workshop participants to build, I don't see it working out well - quite complex and lots of finicky angles. The skylights and roof angles demand professional-level construction skills to avoid leaks.

The shed concept is reasonable as a workshop project, and can be tweaked from the basic design shown to include some highly visible natural building techniques. I second Inge's comments about it.
 
Davin Hoyt
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Thanks for all the comments.

Paul called my last design "weird". Hah!

We talked about how the multiple faces of glass are desired.

I explained my thinking:
1.) for the small footprint condensed to the west (allowing space for cars to back into the area to the east);
2.) glass at the bottom of the walls (acting as a moisture barrier).

We sketched out the angles of glass and walked out the site area again.

Mike is here as well. He looked over my shoulder a few times and narrowed the structural design down.

So what we're wondering most now is: How do we design the bottom of these walls? How can we insulate them? How can we protect them? How can we have secured footings without toxic materials?

Please comment, and see images below.
LIBRARY_PLAN09-pic01.jpg
Perspective of solarium from southeast.
Perspective of solarium from southeast.
LIBRARY_PLAN09-pic02.jpg
Perspective of solarium from south.
Perspective of solarium from south.
LIBRARY_PLAN09-pic03.jpg
Perspective of solarium from southwest.
Perspective of solarium from southwest.
LIBRARY_PLAN09-pic04.jpg
Perspective of solarium from east.
Perspective of solarium from east.
LIBRARY_PLAN09-pic05.jpg
Perspective of solarium from top.
Perspective of solarium from top.
LIBRARY_PLAN09-pic06.jpg
Perspective of solarium wall base from southeast corner.
Perspective of solarium wall base from southeast corner.
LIBRARY_PLAN09-pic07.jpg
Perspective of solarium wall base from southeast door.
Perspective of solarium wall base from southeast door.
LIBRARY_PLAN09-pic08.jpg
Perspective of solarium rafters from interior.
Perspective of solarium rafters from interior.
LIBRARY_PLAN09-pic09.jpg
Perspective of solarium wall footings from interior.
Perspective of solarium wall footings from interior.
 
Davin Hoyt
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I through this together as a solution for adding insulation to the bottom of the south wall.

It would be similar (and less) for the east and west walls.

Please note that this idea plans for stones to be shaped and placed at the bottom of timber columns. And cob is to be placed between the stones for the lowest (5" of wall). I have also planned for anchor bolts to be embedded into the bed rock below the existing structures and landscaping.  
LIBRARY_PLAN10-pic01.jpg
Perspective of solarium from southeast.
Perspective of solarium from southeast.
LIBRARY_PLAN10-pic02.jpg
Perspective of bottom wall section.
Perspective of bottom wall section.
LIBRARY_PLAN10-pic03.jpg
Perspective of bottom wall section.
Perspective of bottom wall section.
 
gardener
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*cue dueling piano music*

New concept sketch. I'm sure it's hard to parse. Think berm shed x solar dehydrator with a glass roof.

(In all seriousness, the way I see it, we're not dueling, but instead are using our varied tools and skills to try to reach the end goal.
IMG_20201027_234402_1.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20201027_234402_1.jpg]
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Ash Jackson wrote:*cue dueling piano music*

New concept sketch. I'm sure it's hard to parse. Think berm shed x solar dehydrator with a glass roof.

(In all seriousness, the way I see it, we're not dueling, but instead are using our varied tools and skills to try to reach the end goal.


This is Permaculture. The social aspect of it. Different people working together on the same project, each has his own skills and knowledge.
 
Glenn Herbert
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With the angled face to the south, the greenhouse-like shelf makes sense. An all-glass roof sloped to directly catch maximum summer sun concerns me. I would bet a summer white canvas covering would happen to reduce the bake oven effect. I am not enamored of the largely glass exterior, but it does have the attraction of a novel way to protect lower walls from splashback. Ash's berm-shed-like timber bracing looks cool, though I think a far more modest version of it would be fully sufficient to stabilize this structure which has no lateral forces on it aside from wind and doors opening and closing.

I note the cob layer inside the glass facing in a detail; would this cob be in danger of trapping water vapor at the cold face and getting waterlogged? I think using the exterior glass skirt as splash barrier, but leaving air circulation space (an inch or so) behind it and letting the cob breathe might work better. Also, the principle of interior mass insulated from the outside seems to be turned upside down here - granted the amount of cob is not really enough to call "mass". I could see reducing the overhang under the shelf and making an actual mass thickness of cob on the interior, with an insulating layer and perhaps more cob behind the glass on the exterior. Maybe this sandwich could be made visible at a corner or end as a demonstration.

For the roof, the relatively low slope does make glass attractive for waterproofing, but it also necessitates high-tech sealants between panes to avoid leaks. I agree with the notion of increasing light into the depths of the garage space. I wonder if there could be a solid roof with a clerestory strip at the upper end abutting the existing wall. That would allow insulation on most of the roof to reduce massive winter heat loss and summer heat gain, yet still light the interior.
 
Glenn Herbert
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The simplest and probably most effective clerestory glazing concept would probably be to run solid new roof up to the existing wall, and replace the existing wall sheathing/siding above it with glass.

Deepest light penetration, glass somewhat sheltered from direct summer sun but exposed to winter sun, glass-to-new-roof transition somewhat protected from water...
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