I grew up with camping as an integral part of life - from staying at deer camp to many trips through Scouting as long as 30 days out. There have been too many overnights to count, including more than a few spent sleeping in high places. Being up in the mountains above tree-line, or on the side of a sheer cliff face is often called a bivouac (or “bivy”) by climbers. Although far from comfort, these places award a magic that cannot be found in more civilized places. You only bring the absolute necessities, which allows time to think, reflect, and live in the moment.
Welcome back! We began covering the design of this Oklahoma City shipping container home in last week's post. This was the first container home permitted by the City of Oklahoma City when we filed in 2014, and the first shipping container design either the property owner or myself had experienced.
As an architect, it is always a challenge to put myself into the mind of my client. During the Pre-Design phase, I get to ask a lot of questions and get to know the owner.
Transferring another person’s vision and allowing room for their identity to thrive is what it takes to design a home. This is harder than you might imagine, but it is very rewarding when you get it right! Serving another person in this way is not a one way street, and the best residential designs are a product of a team effort.
Shipping containers belong in a dark, modern version of Dwell magazine featuring Frankenstein’s metro-modular castle. These corrugated units of space are all the rage in print, but they are underrepresented in reality. Point blank, there were no shipping container homes in the Oklahoma City metro in early 2014. That is when I received an email from a childhood friend.
He had heard that I was an architect practicing sustainable design and he wanted to team up to do something new. He had just returned to Oklahoma after living out west and in Asia for several years. Through his travels, he had learned a lot about living lightly and found that a minimalist lifestyle suited him well. He wanted some help designing a small house using recycled shipping containers as the main structure. Sounded interesting!
Last week we began discussing the Pre-Design (aka predesign) process currently underway for a high-performance residential design unfolding in the Red River Valley of Texas. So, why share the process with you?
My hope is that “live-streaming” the architectural design process will serve us both. Writing provides reflection and adds surety to my decisions. I also know that involving others in the design process is a great way to reveal additional opportunities, and avoid missteps.