Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Beauty of a Construction Site

Something that architects and contractors take for granted but that homeowners rarely experience, is the construction site. When it is your house being built or added onto, I recommend that you spend as much time as possible with the "insides" of the place where you will be living.

It is a bit like viewing the inside a person during an operation. Yes, it may be messy and confusing unless you know how everything works, but it is always fascinating and sometimes beautiful. Not to take the metaphor too far, but a home has structure like we have bones, wiring and controls as we have nerves, and mechanical systems like we have...maybe I've gone too far, but you can see where I'm going.

The most universal observation is that during the building process, the scale of rooms and the overall building changes dramatically depending on the phase of construction. When the foundation is poured the space may look too small, with the framing up, the building may look too large. Trim, siding, windows and roofing bring the massive structure back into proportion. Inside finishes and trim as well as cabinetry and paint make a room that felt too large or small, feel comfortable.

The craftsmanship that goes into the framing and rough plumbing and electrical work pays off as the home is being finished. Straight, plumb, and square walls and floors make the trim carpenter's work easier and faster. You can tell a lot about a contractor by the way the early stages of the building are completed. If they care about the way the house is framed, chances are they will take the same care in finishing the job. A friend and talented photographer, Michele Muir was at one of our job sites photographing everyone in our office, and took some time to record the beauty of the job site.

James M. Crisp, AIA is an architect working in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Moisture Against Gravity Destroy

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