Miami Green Homes


Architects as day-to-day activists, not just design stars:

Few architects will reach stardom in their carrier or their life. The ones that do have typically been blessed by a unique commission that allowed them to truly and freely feature their skills resulting in a spectacular structure. Frequently these structures are of a public or high profile private nature, such as museums, signature buildings or government functions.

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Activistarchitect.blogspot.com

Most architects work on more day to day projects that do not come with glamour, but still have a severe impact: A home renovation or new home design directly affects the lives of the family that is living in it; a new restaurant provides a place of business, employment and entertainment; a supermarket becomes the key to growth of a neighborhood;

The impact of the architect on daily life cannot be overstated. Designs create, in a reasonable timeframe, a place or building that has the capacity to influence history – large or small. Good design choice can and should make statements to encourage underlying principles of good living and good communities. Incorporating a certain feature over another has the potential to shape the future path of an individual, being it a resident, business owner, worker, tenant… or just someone passing by. Look at architecture and design as opportunities for good, not just to the specific client, but the neighborhood, the community and even the planet. Everyone, every project matters!

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Architects versus developers (an architects perspective):

Ideas versus money. That is about the simplest way to distinguish the two and also the easiest way to understand why these two groups need each other. While overlap is of course possible, it is not likely. Developers frequently look at a potential project and create a general concept based on location and possible use of the land. Architects then provide a design concept to realize that opportunity and eventually the detailed plans to actually build the initial vision of the developer. Most projects, residential, commercial or otherwise, were created by the synergy of these two groups.

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An Architect as developer has solved the financial puzzle and can move forward not just with the idea and concept, but the execution of the project as well; a developer as architect first must obtain required licenses and typically look beyond function of the project to integration of concept into a larger scope and environment.

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Planners versus architects (an architects perspective):

When looking closer into the world of design, one will find a distinction between planners and architects. While Architects may act and function as planners, the reverse is generally not true. Urban planners are trained to focus on a larger picture and incorporate varying functions of a place. These functions may include buildings and other structures, but also consider infrastructure and landscape concepts and the use of structures. In short, it is urban planners who try to figure out what happens where. Residential living mixed with industrial production? Large trucks and trains mixed with pedestrians and bicyclists? Maybe not a good mix and match…

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https://www.planetizen.com/node/68464

There are many schools of thought about proper planning and most of us are living in the result of a certain theory in time that won over another idea. Compact live/work areas typically do not blend with strip malls and suburban single family home planning. High density downtowns will not blend with agricultural production – even though urban farming is a strong and functioning concept!

Once the general ideas have been laid out, the architect typically takes over to designing the actual buildings and structures. To learn more about planning: Jane Jacobs, smart cities and CNU may are good starting points.

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What to do with a damaged wood fence from a Hurricane in Miami or South Florida.

A hurricane can leave much destruction in its wake, but even a small wind event may knock over some vegetation and fences.

Under the Florida Building code a permit is required to repair fences, so where to start? The good news is that after a strong wind event, such as Hurricane Irma, the governor has the ability to declare a state of emergency, as he did for Hurricane Irma. Besides federal aid, this status also allows municipalities to provide expedited permits for homeowners to get back to a normal stats of living.

Many municipalities accept a simplified permit application for simple items such as fences. Miami Dade has a standard detail that most municipalities will provide to homeowners to pull an “owner-builder” permit for minor repairs and replace missing sections of their standard wood fence.

 

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This detail is in compliance with the Florida building code and most contractors are familiar with this type of installation. In addition to the detail, you need a footprint of the home and boundary of the site, like an old survey. Mark or highlight the area of the fence to be replaced and provide the actual linear feet either as a side note or on a separate sheet. Make sure to reference the current building (as of this writing it the FBC 5th Edition) as the applicable reference code, again a simple note to be added to the plan.

Lastly some municipalities request an estimate of the cost of work. Get this from the contractor that is going to install the fence.

 

More damage than a wood fence? A permit will be required. Contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture to see how we can help. www.SebastianEilert.com 305.253.5786

 

 



Renovation and addition to the Siqueira residence in Olympia Heights.
September 26, 2017, 2:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

kitchen with center island and breakfat area

This 2000+ square foot home was recently completed. The original house had a main entrance that was underused and some overall small areas, a very dark kitchen and some bathrooms in dire need of an upgrade. The renovation and addition focused on upgrading the feel of the house and the overall flow of all spaces while integrating as many sustainable features as possible. Green building was an important aspect for the owner and sustainable choices were implemented in almost all facets of the project.

To start we evaluated the layout and enclosed the former front entrance. The old side entrance, primarily used to enter the home, was enlarged with a new foyer and entry focal feature. A free standing entry wall now invites into the home and sets the tone for a clean and light experience.

On the inside the kitchen was removed entirely and replaced with a light and open alternative complete with Center Island. The open layout now invites and connects the dining room area and the breakfast feature that is integrated into the island.  Appliances were selected to fit the need of the owner and reduce operating cost.

Next, the HVAC system was upgraded as well to further optimize energy use for the project. The entire ceiling was insulated with spray insulation ensuring a very tight seal and practically eliminate leakage; a great weatherization package.

The study, located slightly off to the side received a change in opening increasing the usable wall surface while illuminating the area naturally. We were also able to provide air conditioning to this Florida room, not previously serviced by AC.

With the renovation already under construction, it was decided to upgrade the roof to a metal roof option, yet another feature to help cool the house by design. Large existing trees remained on the site and new native and Xeriscaping landscaping was added by the owner. Water reduction is not just limited to the irrigation system and plant selection but also carried to the inside with dual flush toilets and low flow faucets.

Some of the original terrazzo flooring was salved and a new hard surface flooring was added. This easy to clean option is also a perfect choice for South Florida as it retains the cool air longer than most other flooring options.

Another highlight feature of the house is a 12’ sliding pocket door by PGT that brings the outside in. Aligned with an operable picture window combination to catch the natural breeze as it approaches the house, cross ventilation works perfectly in this project.

To start on your own sustainable renovation contact Sebastian Eilert Architecture.

www.SebastianEilert.com

786.556.3118

Sebastian@SebastianEilert.com

 

 

 



In Case of Irma…
September 6, 2017, 2:07 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Irma is currently a category 5 hurricane with the potential for catastrophic consequences.  It is critical to take precautions early on.  Preparation is key when it comes to weathering such a storm.  Have all emergency supplies ready.

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Quick Preparation Tips:

·         Stock up on water and non perishable food.

·         Refill any prescriptions and stock any necessary medical supplies.

·         Check / Test any emergency supplies you already have (batteries, flashlights, etc…), restock or purchase as necessary.

·         If you have a generator, check it is operational and you have all necessary components (gas, battery, cables, oil, etc…)

·         Stock up on pet supplies (food, water, kitty litter, medications, etc…)

·         Gas up vehicles.

·         Bring in outdoor furnishings, plants and decorations and any other items that can be picked up by the wind.

·         Take photos / scan important documents.

·         Prepare small evacuation kit if necessary ( change of clothes, cash, important documents, phone numbers, insurance records, etc…)

·         Get cash.

·         Share your emergency plan with family and friends.   

Additional Resources:

FEMA has a good simple list and tools to help:

www.Ready.gov

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Get a Plan! www.FLGetAPlan.com

We are here if you need us, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions regarding your home our business.  We can be reached at: www.SebastianEilert.com .

***Stay Safe***



Residential Energy Savings pyramid

Not sure where to start with energy updated for the home? Ready to install PV panels to get off-grid? …or anywhere in-between. This is a great tool to help make sense of where to start and how to prioritize energy related updates to the house. Look also for other posts on this site for solar panels, insulation and design considerations.

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