Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Design Parallel Build

In the early sixties, David Sellers and a few Yale classmates came to the Mad River Valley to do architecture a little differently than what they learned in school. They approached building and design as two works in progress, simultaneously. This was the beginning of the design/build movement. The Tack house (above: photo credit, Mike Ives), built with salvaged materials, was the first of its kind, but a kind all by itself. Below is the Pyramid House, which was claimed to have no drawings ever made for its construction.
This movement led to other architectural experiments in the area. Built by William MaClay, Jim Sanford, and Richard Travers, "The Dimetrodon" (below) was inspired by the ridge-backed dinosaur of the same name that used its back skin surface to absorb energy from the sun to keep itself warm all day. What can't be seen in the photo is the other side of the house that once housed solar panels to heat the houses. This apartment complex was built in order to create affordable houses that had minimal impact on the land and emphasized building a community.

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