concept to reality

A little side thing I find fascinating (and frustrating) from the car world is the move from concept to production. I see a lot of concept cars and yelp "OMG, that so hawt!!!" only to see the production version years later and whimper "Yawn." For example, consider the Chevy Volt:

"OMG, that's so hawt!!!"


Perhaps it's the power of initial suggestion (some studies suggest your first idea is indeed your best), but initial designs seem so much better before the reality of regulation, production, economics, and fear of the dreaded lack-of-visibility criticism from Consumer Reports changes the design. But truth be told, I still drool static electricity when a production version of the Volt hums by. In some ways it's better; in other ways it's not. But you would never guess that the bottom photo started out as the top photo.

I only mention this because the facade of the house has changed subtly as the design has developed from concept to the current realization. Let's revisit:


Current realization.

Let me stress (and double stress) that neither design is a yawner (I hesitated to include that auto analogy above lest anyone's feelings get hurt even though we currently have an unofficial don't-ask-don't-tell policy with the architects about this blog...). The current realization is pretty darn close to the concept, so we can't hoot and holler too much. But there are some details we miss from the original concept. 

One thing we miss are the dimensions of the privacy wall in front of the front door. If you recall, the wall disappeared in one realization and then re-appeared, but with different dimensions (a wee bit taller and not as long), after we requested it back. To our eyes, the wall looks better with its original dimensions, echoing the tan inset on the house and the "Usonian wing" of the house. Perhaps the architects are echoing the "International Style" wing of the house as a transition? Don't know.

Something I miss (here is where the bride and I diverge; I'm much more fixated on this stuff than she is) is the regularity of the panels on the tan inset, how they echo the window spacing and are all "full size". The concept has the luxury of not considering frame thickness (it's the thickness of a line!), so perhaps that's the reason the windows no longer line up with the panels. It might  also be a cost issue: Limestone panels cut that long cost more?  Hmmmm and double-hmmmm. The longer panels accent the horizontality better. And I like them horizontals.

The other thing I miss are the larger aspect ratios (length to height) of the windows above the tan inset. They are a wee bit taller in the current realization than they are in the concept (or at least appear to be). The taller height steals some of the horizontality (I've got the horizontals bad; I keep waiting for the architects to force feed me some Pepto Vertical...). This may have been done to line up the windows with the windows over the door. But it makes the facade look a little bug-eyed to me, especially compared with the concept.

Another thing I miss is a subtle thing: The cantilever of the northern wall toward the front. This very well might have been an oversight when the architects put the concept together, but I thought it was a cool detail. Looking at the loading and whatnot, that would not be an easy thing to build, I reckon, perhaps requiring some structural steel. And that all adds cost (darn you, cool stuff!!!). 

And finally, I kinda miss those stickie-outie structural doodads on the ceiling of the carport (if you look closely, they are integrated across the clerestory windows and entry; probably assumed to be metal and, in good Miesian fashion, exposed). Nonetheless, if they are not needed structurally, they do not need to be there (A moment of silence please for the stickie-outie structural doodads...        Thank you.). [I just noticed that the sticky-outie things are on the top side of the roof now, but the western one {the one closer to you} is not over the window but closer to you, probably to support the overhang in that direction.]

One change we like is that the architects stepped out the tan inset for built-in shelves (a place for the electric fan collection?). 

And although aesthetically the house is prolly better without it, we like that there's now a window in the  powder room. Function over form, my friends!

We went ahead and asked the architects about the above stuff (except for the sticky-outie things; we've made peace with the stickie-outie things). We debated whether or not to ask, but thought: What the hey! Rather ask now than regret not asking later, even if we're drooling static electricity.

A little more about them sticky-outie things:

Here they are on the profile view looking south. One is lined up with the windows on the eastern side and one is on the western side, not lined up with the windows. 

I'm guessing that the stickie-outie things are structural because the overhang in the western direction in somewhat large (like 8 feet large). I reckon that the placement of this sticky-outie thing also has something to do with the removal of the cantilevered wall, but perhaps from the structural support out it could be cantilevered (although that appears to be 5 feet--quite a distance!).

And one more thing...

That blade of grass looks out of place! What the!?!?!??!!?


  1. i agree 100% with your assessment - I would would have gone ahead and asked about the stickie outie things - that could be a cool architectural detail is there wood or steel . . . especially if that line were to run all the way across the front facade of the house to the front door - very cool and very horizontal but probably very expensive :-(.

  2. Hey Ava! Thanks for the comment (and affirmation)! I added another image at the end of the posting above so you can see where the sticky-outies are currently located. Since it appears they are structural and the location of the western one would probably be awkward (not lined up with the window), I can live with 'em up on the roof. They are probably steel, which isn't all that great thermally in our climate. On the other hand, if they're steel, they're probably better under the roof than on top!

    Wondering now if the removal of the sticky-outies is what increased the window height....

  3. hmmmm, sounds like you better go ahead and ask 2d :-) you can work it in to conversation very casually ". . . oh and by the way, I noticed that . . ."

    Love your posts bubba!