Sunday, 28 October 2012


Day 1 of Sweden has been amazing, and I promise to upload all the photos when I get home!

Friday, 26 October 2012


So, my review went really well. My tutors and peers seemed to like the presentation and the ideas. Especially the 'technical thought' behind the flooring.

Have a gander (appologies for the wobbly shots):

Off to stockholm tomorrow!!!

Monday, 22 October 2012

T- Minus 4 hours

Shit shit shit.

Still to go -

  • Finish Section sheet
  • Finish model
  • Detail of a construction bit.
  • Material Study sheet (?)
  • Panic
  • Cry.

T- minus 7 Hours

I am currently doing an all nighter with my house mates and fellow architects, Alex and James. We are about 5 coffees, an Irish Coffee and a Baileys down each. And I am loving the project more than ever. I am going through my sketchbook and trying to get rid of the places where I've written "bollocks to thatch" and instead emphasise the sophisticated process and development of design.

I've baked salt dough rocks (coloured with compost to the EXACT shade of the granite on site) and I am currently gluing them together to make the exterior walls. It's looking good.

Still worried.





T- minus 10 hours 40 minutes


My facebook password has been changed for my own good, though how far I can trust the holder of it, lies in question.

So much left to do.

T minus 24 hours, 25 minutes

As I creep towards the 24 hour mark, I am worrying about my lack of model. Models explain more to a client/ tutor than a drawing or rendering can ever achieve. I must get on this today. It is just unfortunate that I also have a lecture (minus two hours) and a meeting (minus 30 mins). Plus I have to get there (minus 30 minutes) .
This means that I have lost 3 hours today before I've even started. 21 hours to finish this project? It's got to be possible!

T-Minus 31 Hours

It's 3 am, and I am going to sleep. I am horrendously behind. Crap crap crap.

What's done:
Started Sections

What's left:
Finish sections
Detail of part of the construction.

Wish things didn't take me so long to do.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

T-minus 2 days

I have to keep reminding myself that today is Sunday. It's surreal.
I had a load of mini deadlines set up for myself. I'm slowly missing every single one. I reckon I'm running about an hour and a half behind. So a new work music mix is going on and head is going down.

Here's a very poor photograph of the master plan. Better photos to come when the game is over.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

T-minus 3 Days

It's Saturday night, and I'm in the library. I've just changed a lot of the design, as always happens around this time in any project, or so it seems. I get to the crunch point and have a gut feeling that some element is just wrong, and nothing else can progress until that is resolved.

Today I have moved off of draft paper onto my expensive recycled thick, beautiful paper. Exciting stage.
I will post a photos after the day of reckoning has come and gone, including last night's very drunk sketches of how the thatch roof could work. Simply awful.

Friday, 19 October 2012

T- minus 4 days

Officially, the panic is setting in. I didn't manage to do that much work today, which totally sucks, though I am loving life more than normal.

Out tonight for a friend's birthday. Bad idea? Probably. I have so much to do.

T-minus 5 days

I should have posted this yesterday, but I was invited to act as tour guide/ student representative for our school of architecture for the RIBA visit, which took up almost all of my day! It was a great opportunity to see what they thought of our school and to ask questions of them. They seemed very happy with our unit system, which I don't think many universities use. The Unit System, introduced last year, is a way of teaching that is much more creative and flexible than the normal system of one brief for all. There are 7 units to choose from at the beginning of Year 2 and Year 3 of the BA Architecture course. This year I chose the Zero Fossil Fuels, which is a very practical unit as we are designing buildings for real life. Other units are looking at ideas from creating abstract worlds for mechanical beings, to looking at sub culture in cities (see my friend Andrew's tumblr - still a work in progress but some idea of it)

I then, very responsibly, went and saw Brother and Bones in the evening instead of doing drafts of my work. Ooops.

So today, I am doing all my drafts (hopefully) to do a practice presentation and 'crit' tonight with my house, seeing as we are all architects (though on different units!).

I will be needing coffee and chocolate today.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The ways in which architecture is in our everyday lives.

I know that this sounds like an easy statement, but some things which come from architectural design are less obvious than, say, a building. Think about some easy translations; coffee tables, chairs (specific post to follow), lights....
And what about shoes?
This course has made me look at things differently; the world becomes more fascinating.

T- minus 6 days

Today I started early, and optimistically. I started the countdown timer for 8 hours, resolving that I would pause it every time I needed to pop to the loo or make tea.
I only managed 5 of these hours.
I did go to the fish mongers, browsed the shops and did a fun weights work out with my housemate.

Work wise, I have achieved all of my checklist for the day:

  • Decide on a floor plan
  • Make a sketch model
  • Research material. (this I need to do more of)
It occurred to me this evening how significant this project is. Firstly, it represents 40% of my year, which I express often. Secondly, it's making me think in different ways and wonder why a zero energy house isn't more common. 

I'm enjoying it, but I'm worried about missing out on a first.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

T- Minus 7 Days

With only a week to go, this project is feeling very real. It is a very scary thought that this project is worth 40% of  the year. Ahhhhh ahhhh aaaaaaahhhh!!!!

The brief:

  • Build a holiday cottage for at least two people without using any fossil fuels.
  • All services must be incorporated into the design (eg drainage, heating etc)
  • The Landscape must be a key point of the design
In today's tutorial, for which I stayed up working until gone 3, I was told that my scheme 'just doesn't work', and that I have to re-think a lot of the design. Since I'm not a fan of flogging a dead horse, I think that I may just start again. 

Wish me lots of luck!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Year Two's First Project


I have just started my second year back in Plymouth. I'm still loving the course, and of course my new housemates.

Our current project is to create a holiday cottage for two, in a wood on Bodmin Moor, entirely without the use of fossil fuels. There is a crumbling ruin on site, with which we must work. To begin with this sounds straightforward, but once you start thinking about embodied energy, then it starts to get tricky....

For example, thinking about which materials to use, one thinks of wood, seeing as it is a renewable material (if managed correctly). But then you have to think of where that wood is coming from (as you can't use transport due to the fossil fuels it uses as power), and how it has been processed (we can't use tools that have themselves been made with fossil fuels or use fuels to power them).

Admittedly, the timber issue was fairly straight forward; I am using local oak to make a green oak frame. This in itself has its problems as it will warp as it seasons (seasoning wood in modern times has been done with a process of 'baking' which uses fossil fuels as power). Also, we must consider whether we actually want to chop down the trees, as this will definitely expose the hidden site. The more interesting problems, however, come with things like the oven, piping and windows - I wanted an aga or something similar, but the cast iron needs too many processes; plumbing generally uses copper pipes, but there isn't a way to make them on site; windows must be made on site, which leaves the option of handblown glass.

See? It gets tricky.

And it's due on the 23rd. Minor panic.
Beautiful bit of Cornwall.
The site is in the patch of trees on the right!

The heavy canopy and the top of the ruin.