Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Architecture Redux

Original front entry, now undergoing reconstruction.
Life seldom offers a second chance. Unless you hang around long enough in the world of architecture. Lately, I have had the pleasure of reworking several of my earliest projects. Some are for new owners who have different needs. Others are for original clients whose families have grown and now have a different program for their architectural environment. And some properties are simply in need of a twenty-first century facelift. It is a honor to be involved in all of these. There is probably not an architect alive who wouldn't welcome the chance to rethink aspects of any project the moment it is completed. That is why Frank Lloyd Wright always answered, "The next one," when asked which project was his favorite. One of my "second chances" is an extensive remodel and additions for a project I designed twenty years ago in the mountains outside of Denver. The new owners want to expand the floor plan with larger terraces, a new atrium, and a guest house. This was also an opportune moment for new windows, new exterior cladding, and interior updating. The kitchen and baths, in particular, were ready for a fresh look. These changes led to rethinking the fireplaces, flooring, and ceiling treatments. As a result the structure is now stripped to its bones and on its way to a completely different look. It became an opportunity to introduce new materials (Wisconsin limestone), new products (patio doors that pocket into the walls), and a new attitude to the interior design. Since most of the structure had to be stripped bare to implement the new design, the owner also decided to replace the mechanical and electrical systems. We are adding air conditioning and in-floor radiant heat. Light fixtures are being replaced with products that didn't exist when the house was built. In the end, this will not be a remodeled house, but a new one. The original owners were ideal clients, encouraging creativity and innovation. The new owners have been equally enthusiastic about producing a quality project. Their goal is to have a living environment that feels like a destination vacation spot. I am as excited about this new incarnation as I was about the original design.

The house looked like this when built:
Original rear decks.
Long view of original west elevation.
Here is what it looks like today with work in progress:
Stucco is removed; decks and original greenhouse are gone.
Plywood protects openings that led to original greenhouse.
Orignal multi-level decks are removed.
Here are our drawings for the redesigned project:
Perspective showing original house in background, new atrium (replacing greenhouse) on left,
new guest house on right., new deck in foreground.
New exterior elevations. Completed house will be Wisconsin limestone and stucco.
Main level floor plan with new additions shaded.
The original house won a MAME award for House of the Year and was published in The Rocky Mountain News
The Rocky Mountain News. 
We are aided in this effort by interior architect Claus Ranemacher, New York City. The structural engineer is Foothills Engineering, Boulder, Colorado. The builder is Mark Manley, Golden, Colorado. 

Updates of the finished project will appear on this blog in 2013.