Fwd: Why buildings should be dumb boxes
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2018 11:32:24 -0700 (PDT)
On Aug 25, 2018, at 1:57 PM, Philip Dowds <rphilipdowds [at] me.com> wrote:
> One of many things I was told, as a first year architecture student, was that 
> “Corners are expensive.”  I was not told, however, that corners are bad 
> because they cost money.  Rather, the point was resources are finite, and 
> need to be deployed wisely.

But many cohousers are working with architects and contractors have not told 
communities that they can make their projects less expensive by reducing the 
number of corners. While the central point is that "resources are finite, and 
need to be deployed wisely”, people need to know what things cost in order 
deploy wisely. I am certainly not an architect, but I’ve worked on a fair 
number of planning committees for various types of buildings and never been 
told that corners are expensive.

A larger point is that they are high maintenance. The more complex joins and 
bracings can lead to cracks and leaks. That means costs incurred as long as the 
building stands.

Several years after we moved in and I was on the facilities team, I realized 
that we would have saved ourselves a lot of grief if we had had the manager of 
a multi-residence building look at the plans and tell us what was high 
maintenance. To clean some of our windows and hanging lights we have to use a 
very tall ladder (rickety and dangerous) or rent a cherry-picker which is both 
scary and expensive.

> We can make our gardens easy and inexpensive to maintain by paving them over. 
>  But is that what we want, really?

I pointed out a building to my 7 year old granddaughter that was very large 
with white marble siding and only 3-4 tiny windows. I thought it looked 
monumental, clean and crisp, and by association I could feel the surface of 
unpolished marble.

She looked for a minute, well 10 seconds at least, and said, “If was that 
building, I would paint myself purple.”

One point of the TreeHugger article was how can we make the dumb box more 
aesthetically pleasing while avoiding unnecessary costs, both current and 
future. Proportions, color, surface, texture?

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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