4 November 2010

A little on SPEC - Part II

Where were we yesterday?...oh the 2 hurdles!  Every project has a bit of them, but this was one of the most extreme to date (you can read about yesterday's post on Part I HERE).

We took a step back, and examined the design scheme....our conclusion was that our approach was perfect in addressing all the difficult issues and totally logical, it was the only way we would have approached this project.  So.....

Hurdle 01 - Money -

We re-assessed the detailing of the carpentry boxes, and standardised the modularity to eliminate variation (ie, make it simpler), and minimised material waste by reducing the height of the box (so it can be made with 1 standard board, rather than cutting from 2 boards).  We also had minimal material choice left in our hands, so we went with the most basic (and economical...) colours - black and white, no "espresso" or "night galaxy" or "aubergine".

along circulation space; modularity of the boxes is visible

Hurdle 02 - Time -

we had to compress a 6-10 days construction program into 2.  So we reduced the amount of trades (ie people) involved in the construction. What happens normally is that the waiting time between different trades drags out the process (trade 1 comes in day 1, touch something and wait for trade 2 to come in next day to do something else before they go on to the next thing), here we had to manage the process closely and have that waiting time happening across the site on the same day rather than across different days (eg trade 1 starts at one corner and while he works across to the other corner of the site, trade 2 can come in and work on what was already started...then trade 1 can go back on top after....).

day 01 on-site: we started 7pm before the actual 2 days we had, so the traffic in the city settled and carpenter could bring in materials. To save time as soon as the carpentry plinth was in place, electrician started drilling holes in the plinth to run cables within, while the carpenters worked their way around to fix the rest of the plinths. This is so the day after, bigger carpentry boxes can come in and sit over the plinths without waiting.  This could have easily been 3 days work under normal circumstances..

So why did we go invert black / white boxes - something our carpenter swore to never do again - ?

The graphic designer and his wife, the beauty consultant, have very strong (and opposite) characters.  Whilst the graphic designer requested for a "night" atmosphere so he can concentrate on the monitors (and he wears a lot of black), the beauty consultant preferred a more relaxing, neutral atmosphere for visitors and consultation (and she wears a lot of white and pink).  This hinted us a kind of characterised colour scheme when we were going through the restricted material palette.

This way with the inverted boxes, from within the beauty consultation box, everything (the box interior and the other box's exterior) is white; from within the graphic designer's box, everything is black...everyone was happy.

view from within the graphic designer box, which is black inside but white outside. The inside of the beauty consultation box is visible in the background

at the doorways into the 2 boxes. the floor linear lighting replaced the original harsh fluorescent in the ceiling grid 

In the end although the spaces were defined and separated from each other, there is a strong sense of "togetherness" and "openness" due to the opened top boxes and how programs and facilities were designed to allow cross-over of user groups, and a sense of interactivity.

The creative process of making architecture (or anything creative) is not easy.... we can choose to either suffer and complain through the process or enjoy the challenge...

Since the project completion, every time we meet with the graphic designer and the beauty consultant, we were greeted with their satisfied smile and expressions of "everyday I come into work I think of how good it was to have you designing our space".....now that is bonus for us!

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