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

On the Boards

This house on Lady's Island has great views of the Beaufort River and major potential! It is elevated, with one story of living space and storage in the ground floor space which is in the flood plain. 

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Our plan for the renovation includes adding a second floor to house a new master suite, adding outdoor living space, re-doing the kitchen and adding solar panels to the roof.

North East 3D View
South West 3D view

Outdoor Rooms

Outside Fireplace

Many of us choose to live in the Lowcountry because of the natural beauty of our great trees, salt marshes, and beaches. The health benefits of spending time outdoors has been documented by many studies including a 2015 Stanford University study that found that mental health is improved by being outdoors. So it is not surprising that The American Institute of Architects most recent Home Design Trends survey reported that requests for outdoor living spaces have increased for the 8th consecutive year.

With Fall’s gorgeous weather approaching, it is the perfect time to spruce up or create your outdoor living space. When planning your outdoor living, establish zones or rooms for different activities such as cooking, dining al fresco, relaxing, entertaining, swimming, backyard games and sunset or sunrise viewing. The rooms can be defined by structures including porches, pergolas, and gazeboes; different paving materials; plants; and fences. A sense of discovery and surprise adds interest to the garden.

Essential components for sensory richness are light, sound, smell, colors, movement, textures, and patterns. These can be created using fire, water, plants, shade, paving, and light. Start by anticipating the experience you want to achieve. For example, a fire allows you to linger outside a bit longer on a cool evening. This can be something as simple as a fire pit or chiminea or as elaborate as an outdoor masonry fireplace.

Sun Pocket

The landscape architect Robert Marvin often included a “sun pocket” in his designs.  A sun pocket is a south facing sitting area with a masonry wall behind the seat. The masonry wall soaks up the sun’s warmth and blocks  the cold north wind and creates a warm micro-climate which is a perfect place to sit on a cool afternoon.

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Bird baths are an easy way to add water to your landscape. Their benefits are not just for the birds. It is delightful to watch the birds preen when they bathe. Fountains add interest both visually and through sound. Devise an element of surprise by placing the fountain where it is not immediately seen but can be heard. The Japanese Shishi-odoshi or “Scare the Deer” is something we all might want to add to our lowcountry gardens. The bamboo fountain is on an off center pivot. The open end of the bamboo fills with water. When full, it tilts to empty the water and makes a loud thud against a rock when the bamboo returns to its original position. It repeats about every five minutes.

The final components for your outdoor living is the furniture, lighting and accessories. Comfort and durability are key. One reason while fall is a good time for sprucing up your outdoor space is many outdoor furniture companies have their products discounted now.

 

Under Construction August Update

Factory Creek Houses

Cabinet installation on Factory Creek

The Factory Creek 1 house has cabinets being installed. We are looking forward to this house being finished soon.

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Factory Creek house ii

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Fripp Island Remodel

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We started this project with raising the house about 3 feet to bring it above the flood plain. The post about raising the house is here

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Spring Island

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Hilton Head

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A new table for our studio!

It was time to upgrade the table in our studio. The table that sat in the center of our space was outdated, very wobbly and had a broken glass top. So naturally, we designed and built a table that is perfect for us! 

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Michael designed the table, with input from the team. It is simple and clean, made from steel tube legs and with a steel plate top. We decided on standing height, since we never sat at our old table. 

Now for the fun part! Tom took the lead on welding the table, which may not have been the fun part for him in 90 degree weather.

We all took turns with the grinder. Benjie shot some pretty impressive videos full of flying sparks!

After the base was welded and the table had rusted to our liking, we brought the pieces into the studio to assemble. The table is too big to fit through the door, so it will remain in the office for the foreseeable future. 

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It took us about a month of  our "Friday Fun" time to complete the table (we always knock off from work at 4:00 on Fridays to have a little fun together). We are very happy with the result! 

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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

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Port Royal Plantation

Port Royal Foundation
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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