The design process and off-site construction of Alchemy’s Squam Lake Residence


The design process and off-site construction of Alchemy’s Squam Lake Residence

Internationally recognized for its weeHouse® concept, Alchemy has proven since 1992 that even the smallest of homes can have a huge impact. weeHouse®, a term registered by Alchemy in 2002, was conceived as a modular design system that emphasizes quality over quantity, and has been recognized by a “less is more” philosophy. The Minnesota-based company, led by Geoffrey Warner FAIA, designs the structures to be modern and stylish, paying particular attention to the use of expressive local materials that are respectful of the environment.

The Squam Lake House in New Hampshire, while technically not a weeHouse, was required to strictly adhere to the floor space and volume of a dilapidated cabin 15 ‘from the shore. Manufactured primarily off-site by Bensonwood using 18-inch thick pre-glazed wall panels and white oak wood framing, the panels were erected in just 4 days.

Eric Winter, AIA and architect at Alchemy, shared valuable information on the project design process.

Design Considerations for the Alchemy Lakeside Home

“The house is metaphorically a box of trees,” says Winter. “With an interior entirely in oak adorned with black steel jewelry, it embraces the spirit of the densely wooded site. Trees bring light and define spaces, circulation and storage. The house was 3D modeled in Vectorworks by Alchemy, allowing the tree shapes to be CNC manufactured in collaboration with Digifabshop.

Squambox ideagram.  Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Squambox ideagram. Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects

The adjacent boathouse is a fallen tree with the spirit of a wooden boat. The two buildings were designed separately but covered with the same weathered wood rainscreen.

Alchemy uses BIM at every stage of their workflow, as it helps them connect complex geometry to related parameters. Winter describes this particular project as “extremely 3D modeling intensive,” which BIM in Vectorworks helps streamline due to the ability to add data to any type of geometry.

Axo rendering plan.  Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Axo rendering plan. Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects

Local Inspiration & Natural Materials

The alchemy was inspired by both the landscape and the history of the region.

“The project is located by a lake and is surrounded by trees,” Winter said. “We were inspired by the idea of ​​trees, the history of local lumber and canoe building. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s on the placid shores of Squam Lake, where On the golden pond was filmed. ”

The house and boathouse use the same white oak, selected for its beauty and natural durability in interior and exterior applications.

Render of the boathouse.  Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Render of the boathouse. Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Plan and section of the boathouse.  Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Plan and section of the boathouse. Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects

Use BIM to bring 3D models to life

Frankly, the shape of the boathouse is so unusual that it is hard to imagine accurately modeling and installing it. But Alchemy used several features of Vectorworks design software to bring their vision to life.

“In this design, there were actually very few traditional ‘building elements’ like walls or roof facades,” said Winter. “We modeled and detailed almost everything ourselves. ”

Modeling plan of the boathouse.  Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Modeling plan of the boathouse. Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects

The boathouse was modeled by creating a semi-curved path translated into a conceptually simple line geometry, bent 30º in plane and 30º vertically. The architects extruded and arranged shapes along this path.

“The boathouse is like a single log or a single branch,” said Winter, “with ribs that provide a reinforced structure with longitudinal purlins and a skin of plywood.”

Alchemy used Vectorworks’ algorithm-assisted design tool, Marionette, to design the fabricated tree elements that intersect in the main building.

Squam skylight puppet.  Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Squam skylight puppet. Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects

The network of connected nodes shown above is the Marionette Alchemy script used to procedurally generate the complex geometry of trees. The picture shows that they started with a simple shape modeled with the Extrude Along Path and Add Solids commands. After the Marionette script was applied, the shape transformed to represent the structural system needed to build the original shape. These trees will cross the structure and the envelope of the house.

Shot of the Squam Lake house.  Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Shot of the Squam Lake house. Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Elevations of the main house.  Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Elevations of the main house. Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects

Complex geometry diagram for coordination and offsite fabrication

Alchemy’s detailed diagrams of their unique geometry serve as a communication tool as the design progresses through prefabrication and construction. With the ability to export DWG files from Vectorworks, Alchemy can provide builders with the information they need to produce their own designs for CNC routing or laser cutting.

Squam skylight construction.  Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects
Squam skylight construction. Image courtesy of Alchemy Architects

“Typically the manufacturer will share an image export with the base dimensions of the DWG file to verify that everything is correct,” Winter said. “We rely on metal fabrication for many custom items such as handrails, steps, awnings and lights. The ability to craft really cool items that fit our clients’ budgets makes it extremely important that we work with manufacturers in a very practical way.

With the prefabrication process currently underway, construction has already started experimenting with the bark and frame details – both in oak – to fully realize this exceptional large-scale design.

How the weeHouse system influenced this design

“As products and systems spread over time, the weeHouse seeks to maximize durability, design efficiency and durability at an affordable price, while achieving designed and meaningful architecture,” explained Winter .

So while the Squam Lake residence does not technically match the weeHouse system, many of the same design principles influenced the construction – considerations such as durability, efficiency, innovation, and craftsmanship.



Source link

Previous A tutorial on sequential machine learning
Next Case Study: Creating Efficiencies in Remote Production in Tokyo