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Residential architects who specialize in the hot, humid, southern climate

New York Boat Tour

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New York is always fun to visit and this year we took an architectural boat tour around Manhattan. AIA New York has teamed up with the Classic Harbor Line to offer daily boat tours leaving from Chelsea Piers. The tours are led by a local architects who’s knowledge of the areas architecture is invaluable. 

The almost three hour tour first takes you to a up close view of the Statue of Liberty. Then the boat goes up the East River, through the Harlem River and down the Hudson River where you get to view the New Jersey Palisades.

Another highlight of the tour is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms Park on the tip of Roosevelt Island. The park was one of the last projects designed by the renowned architect Louis I. Kahn in 1972. It was finally built in 2010-2012.

Go here to book your tour.

Eileen Fisher - DesignWorks

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Eileen Fisher was on the American Institute of Architects A’18 Expo Floor promoting her new business DesignWork. She created DesignWorks to compensate the fashion industry unsustainable business model of creating new clothes every year while tossing last years styles. Roughly 85% of textiles end up in land fills, including those donated to charity. 

Fisher decided to recycle clothes into new beautiful objects that consumers will keep for years. After enjoying wearing Fisher’s clothes, the company will buy them back, in any condition, to be resold or renewed through techniques like overdyeing and mending which uses part of what is collected, but not all. In 2015, Eileen Fisher launched DesignWork studio to create new textiles and uses from scraps of their own remaining recycled materials.

All DesignWork materials are made directly from the old garments and scraps from new garments. They are felted with 100% recycled fabric from Eileen Fisher and transformed into products for the architecture trade and for homes. Products include pillows (shown above), wall hangings, and acoustical panels. The new felted fabrics are beautiful in looks and soft and cozy to touch.

Go to www.eileenfisherrenew.com to see how to recycle your clothes an receive a $5 Rewards card.
 

Jane to be the 2020 AIA National President

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NEW YORK – June 22, 2018 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announces three new leaders to its Board of Directors, which were elected at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 (A’18).

At the meeting, AIA delegates elected:

Jane Frederick, FAIA of AIA South Carolina as the 2019 first vice president/2020 president-elect; Jason Winters, AIA of AIA Chesapeake Bay/AIA Maryland as the 2019-2020 secretary; and Jessica Sheridan, AIA of AIA New York as the at-large director.

From 2016 to 2017, Frederick served as an at-large director of the AIA Board of Directors while chairing the Board Public Outreach Committee and serving on the Board Visibility & Engagement Task Force. Previously, she served as the regional director of the South Atlantic Region from 2012 to 2015. Frederick also chaired the Small Firm Round Table’s Executive Committee in 2014 and served as president of AIA South Carolina in 2010. She has been a principal at Frederick + Frederick Architects since 1989 and received her B.Arch. from Auburn University.

“To create a future with better buildings, better communities and a better world, we have to be flexible, nimble and seize opportunities to turn dilemmas into advantages,” Frederick said. “As architects, when we are at our best, we don’t talk about the future—we create it.”

June Construction Photos

All of our jobs are making nice progress as the photos below indicate. 

Factory Creek House 1

 The shadows are really nice on the carriage house wall. The siding is reverse board and batten. By reversing the board and batten it creates a drainage plain for the wall to dry.

The shadows are really nice on the carriage house wall. The siding is reverse board and batten. By reversing the board and batten it creates a drainage plain for the wall to dry.

 We are looking forward to seeing the stairs finished

We are looking forward to seeing the stairs finished

 The Coquina Stone terrace will stay cool in the hot sun.

The Coquina Stone terrace will stay cool in the hot sun.

Covered walk

Spring Island

Spring Island
Spring Island

Port Royal Plantation

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Fripp Island

 This major renovation is getting close to being finished.

This major renovation is getting close to being finished.

Long Cove

 The screened porch will have a great view of Broad Creek

The screened porch will have a great view of Broad Creek

Factory Creek #2

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 I don't think that there is a bad view in Beaufort County

I don't think that there is a bad view in Beaufort County

by Jane

Designing for Hurricanes

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Climate Prediction Center (NOAA’s CPC) is predicting an “above normal” hurricane season with 11 to 17 named storms, 5 to 9 hurricanes and 2 to 4 major hurricanes over category three. The historic method of learning about building performance is through experiencing hurricanes such as Matthew and Irma in 2016 and 2017, respectively.  The better, less risky way is through research.

The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has a research center in Chester County, South Carolina.  The building performance testing is done on full-scale 2- story models in a 21,000 square foot, 6 stories tall building. They can create a broad spectrum of weather – ranging from hurricane conditions, windstorms, wildfires, and hailstorms. They use the data to develop best practices in building construction.

The research center also has a “roof farm” which is an exterior installation to test decay and deterioration caused by severe weather. This allows them to conduct long term evaluations on new materials and systems.

Recently, a contractor said to me that impact windows were a waste of money because they still can crack and the insurance will pay for any damage anyway. This is false logic. The IBHS research shows that a key mitigation step is protecting the windows and doors with either impact rated windows and doors, shutters, or plywood. When the openings are not protected, wind pressure can build up inside the house. Then, when a door or window is forced open, the roof blows off and the walls can collapse.

Their research also shows that roof cover damage is the most frequent source of hurricane related insurance claims. Metal roofs tend to perform better than asphalt shingles but it is essential for the roofing material to be rated for high wind speeds. The roof assembly, deck, flashing, and the approved roof cover all must be installed to be the current building code.

Fortunately, here in South Carolina, we have stringent building codes. The IBHS rates the 18 hurricane-prone states on the quality of their building codes. Of the 18 states, South Carolina is third with a score of 92. Florida (95) and Virginia (94) are first and second, respectively.

Julie Rochman, former IBHS CEO, said “ States with strong, updated codes saw stunning proof this year that updated, well-enforced building codes have led to the construction of homes and buildings that can stand up to fierce hurricane winds. It can’t be any clearer: these codes work.”

Residential Design Magazine & CRAN Panel at A'18

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Michael is a panelist at A'18 the AIA Conference in New York City in June. The panel is sponsored by Residential Design Magazine and CRAN the Custom Residential Architect Network. Read more about the panel here.

by Jane

Material Science

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As we work to make our buildings more sustainable, selecting environmentally responsible building products and materials is critical to reducing the carbon footprint and building healthy buildings.  To select materials wisely, we have to understand what is in them, how they were made, and if they can be recycled at the end of their usefulness.

There are over 60,000 synthetic chemicals that were grandfathered when the first chemical regulatory system was adopted in the 1976 Toxic Substance Control Act. These materials are considered innocent until proven guilty and the burden is on the public to prove they are unsafe.

Toxic chemicals can be found in many things including paints, flooring, carpeting, PVC pipes, and appliances. One example is Methylene chloride that is found is the paint stripper Goof Off Pro Stripper. Veena Singla, Ph.D Associate Director of Science and Policy at the University of California, San Francisco said, “Methylene chloride is a toxic chemical that can quickly build up to dangerous levels in work spaces. It can cause rapid unconsciousness and death and has killed far too many people already. These tragedies are preventable.” The elimination of toxic materials is most important for interior products where occupant exposure is an issue.

Materials should also be evaluated on their life cycle which includes embodied energy consumed in the raw material extraction, production, transportation, use, and recycling or disposal. This is especially important for large quantities of materials.

A tool that help determine the best materials is an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)  which is sometimes described as a “nutrition label for products”. The EPD document outlines the sustainability of a product. It includes a list of the basic materials and components, a description of the manufacturing process, the life cycle assessment, the carbon footprint and other environmental impact data such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions or third party certifications.

There are two good resources to find sustainable healthy products. One is  The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is a non-profit organization that provides independent certification of sustainable products from building materials to cleaning supplies. Their list of certified products are found at www.c2ccertified.org. The other is Building Green found at www.buildinggreen.com

 

Home Security Systems

We decided that it was time to invest in a security system for our house and office after our house was broken into on Christmas Day. As we starting researching, we discovered that the options were almost overwhelming. Did we want to self-monitor the system or have a third party monitor? Did we need cameras? Should every door and window be connected to the system? How many motion detectors? What about smart-house options? Did we want a professionally installed system or do it ourselves?

Contemporary alarm systems are comprised of three basic sub-systems, burglar alarms, smoke and fire alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms. Temperature and water sensors are also available.

The burglar alarm monitors the perimeter of the house with door and window sensors and cameras; the interior is monitored with motion detectors. Select motion detectors that are pet sensitive and will not be set off by your animals.  Most people opt for a combination of the above. Depending on the visibility of your house to your neighbors, second story window sensors may not be needed.

Smoke and fire alarms can be the basic smoke detectors or be upgraded with a heat detector which monitors a sudden rise in temperature. The building code requires a smoke and fire alarm to be located in each bedroom, outside of each bedroom, and on every level. The alarms must be interconnected (either wirelessly or hardwired) so that all the alarms will sound when one is activated.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas. The carbon monoxide alarms are installed on each level of the house and detect when carbon monoxide is present at an unsafe level. The building code requires carbon monoxide alarms in houses with fueled fired appliances and/or houses with attached garages. Most systems offer a combination smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide alarm. This reduces the number of sensor mounted on the walls.

Temperature sensors monitor cold air inside the house to prevent pipe freezing. The water sensor detects water intrusion or a leaking water heater.

Cost can be a determining factor in deciding whether to have a centralized third party monitor or to self- monitor. A self-monitoring system will notify you on your smart phone when the alarm is activated. It is then your responsibility to call 911 or determine if it is a false alarm. One drawback with this system is if your phone is turned off you will not be notified. Centralized third party monitoring has an on-going subscription fee. Many home insurance policies provide a credit for monitored systems so it might be a break even investment. Both professionally installed systems and do-it-yourself systems offer centralized third party monitoring.

Remote access and the integration with a home automation system is available with most security systems. With the remote access you can log on and control your security system, thermostat, lights, locks, and other connected items. Some systems will even notify you when someone rings your doorbell and you can talk to them by video on your phone. Most systems allow you to add additional automation features at a later date.

Online reviews of security systems and meeting with local security specialists can help you determine the best solution for your needs and budget. The system we selected for our house and office was professionally installed and monitored. We chose it because of the ease of use, the ability to add home automation systems later, and the price was reasonable.

 

April Construction Photos

Spring is in the air in the lowcountry! Every day, the marsh gets greener and our clients get closer to living in their dream homes! Here are a some progress photos from a few of our current projects:

Spring Island

Spring Island
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Framing is progressing nicely at the Spring Island house. Spring Island is one of our favorite communities in Beaufort County. We love their dedication to preserving the natural beauty of the island! 

 

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Port Royal Plantation

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It's always fun to see the view that our clients will enjoy from the elevated height. Quite a view from this house!

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Factory Creek

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Framing on the garage for this project is nearly complete, and beginning for the main house. 

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Fripp Island

Fripp Island Renovation

This renovation project is almost finished. We started construction over a year ago by raising the house 5 ' to get it out of the flood plain. Here is the post of when we raised it.

Fripp Island Renovation

Exterior Rendering

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An exterior rendering is an excellent tool when selecting colors and materials for your home. To decide the window color for our project on St Simon's Island, Benjie prepared three options to show the clients. By using a combination of our Revit model, photographs and stock photos of plants and materials, Benjie can create a realistic image of the house. The live oaks in this rendering are from photographs of the site!

On the Boards - Dining Hall

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Our clients love to host large dinner parties at their historic lowcountry plantation. A tent erected on the lawn worked well until this winter when it was just too cold! The cold winter inspired them to build a dining hall that will seat thirty. The cozy interior is all antique heart pine. We will break ground soon to be ready for next winter’s cold weather.

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