Week of July 23, 2009

swamplot: Nine and a Half Bathrooms – The Turnberry Tower Penthouse Evacuation Plan

  • Grace

    LOL Thanks for putting us on to the evacuation plan. What a hoot!

  • Terri


  • Daniel Fernandez, Spain

    This has nothing to do with this but i just read one of John Brown’s posts welcoming me to the website and asking where i’m studying. It’s rare to see the founder of a website actually being active in the discusions and comenting on what others have posted, for that I applaud you!
    So I decided to take some time to reply! Well thanks for the welcome, I’ll definately return to this website very often and can’t wait for the next ‘What’s wrong with this house?’ segment. I’m currently studying in A Coruña, Galicia.
    Congratulations on the website, keep up the good work.

  • John Brown

    I am glad that you are going to be visiting our site.

    In creating a virtual design school for non-professionals we are trying to have as many of the aspects of a traditional studio teaching environment as possible. This includes project exercises, demonstrations of how they could be completed, critiques of submitted projects, and a free ranging discussion about the exercise.

    The discussion part is really important. As a student in a real architecture school I am sure you would agree that the most valuable learning often occurs during conversations about a particular exercise or issue. I therefore participate in the discussion as much as possible.

    As a teacher I believe that anyone who takes the time to participate deserves to have some feedback. It is the only way to learn.

    I have never been to Northwestern Spain but I have heard it is very beautiful. The students in the Master of Architecture Program at the University of Calgary where I teach spend a term studying in Barcelona and as the coordinator of the program I am fortunate enough to visit each December for the final reviews.

    Welcome to Slow Home and I look forward to your participation in the upcoming exercises.

  • Jim Argeropoulos

    Hi John
    Today I was listening to Sarah Susanka on http://info.aia.org/aia/AIAPodnet.cfm and she was talking about coming up with more than one design for a customer. Some how it triggered me to remember http://99designs.com. 99 Designs came out of http://sitepoint.com/forums where they had a weekly contest to come up with the best design. Like the Slow Home, people would play off each others work and submit better and better designs. For a brief moment I thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a 99 Designs equivalent for architecture? But the reality set in and I remember engineering and site surveys and so on.
    I thought it would be fun to share even if physical realities make it not possible.

  • Leo

    Hi John

    This is a fantastic site and my wife and I have been following along for a while. I do have a question. Where do you get the design projects? Are they actual clients of yours? Are the plans that you post the actual proposed designs for these clients? Or are these all simply exercises?

  • John Brown

    I am glad you are enjoying the site. You ask a good question.

    The design project exercises come from a variety of sources. A few are indeed past projects that we have had in the office. In those cases the proposal I demonstrate is the one that was actually built. If you go back through some of the early design project exercises you will see that a couple of them refer to finished projects described in a case study segment.

    Most of the exercises, however, use house plans that I have collected over the years. Just about every house can benefit from some kind of redesign and I try to select a variety of different house types, styles, and range of issues for the design project exercises. However, the approach I take with these plans is no different than if they were brought to the office by a client. They aren’t “made up” or altered in any way. What I bring to the group each week is a real house in need of real work.

    I look forward to discussing the project exercises with you in the coming weeks.

  • John Brown

    Thanks for sharing the link to Sarah’s talk. I am not familiar with 99Designs but I will check it out.