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Buying a Car, Part 1: Using the Design Process' Decision-Making Steps to Choose

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My impending move to the countryside demands car ownership, and I just signed the papers on a new vehicle. As a city-dweller unfamiliar with the car buying process, choosing a model seemed daunting--until I approached it the way I would any design problem. Here I'll recount the steps I took.

1. Establish Parameters

Design is about making decisions, and I needed a way to narrow down the options. As of last year there were 275 different automobile models for sale in the U.S. Ideally I wanted to get that number down to five contenders or less.

A. I started by ticking off my ideal car's general, desired qualities:

- Utility
- Safety
- Fun

B. Then I addressed my impending geographical situation:

- Remote, rural location
- Four seasons
- Possibility of unpaved roads

C. Next I considered what I'd use the car for:

- Carrying groceries and supplies
- Carrying lumber for DIY/shop projects
- Moving interstate
- Transporting two dogs

2. Determine the Ideal Outcome

By considering everthing above, I could then drill down into the first three categories listed:

Utility

- Four wheel drive (see: Remote location, Four seasons)
- Can carry lumber and bulky supplies
- Can carry two dogs

Safety

- Reliable, won't break down in a remote region in inclement weather
- Good crash test results
- High driving position in case of impact with SUV or truck (the dominant vehicle in the region I'm moving to)

Fun

- Stickshift
- Quick acceleration
- Low road position for cornering

3. Narrow Down Solutions Using Client Preferences and Environmental Factors

The bulk of the qualities point towards a new (i.e. reliable) SUV or truck. But there are, glaringly, two desired qualities on the list that are at odds with each other:

- High driving position vs. Low driving position

This decision was easy to reconcile, using both client preferences (ha) and an environmental factor:

1) I don't find trucks and SUVs fun to drive.
2) The farm I'm moving to already has an SUV on the property. I wouldn't necessarily have access to it, but it made sense to me for the farm itself to have a diversity of vehicles.

That knocks out SUV or truck. And I figured that rather than look into crossovers, which are really just baby SUVs that provide what I think of as the worst of both worlds, I'd go with a station wagon.

Station wagons have relatively low driving positions. That's great for fun driving and terrible if I get T-boned by a Suburban. In this case I looked at the odds of having an accident vs. not having an accident, and was willing to trade safety for fun.

4. Describe the Solution in One Sentence

Now the decision-making is greatly simplified. I'm looking for:

A new, fast, stickshift AWD station wagon.

This neatly narrowed my field from 275 vehicles down to just three or four--because practically no one makes a stickshift station wagon anymore. Volvo, Audi and BMW make manual transmission paddle-shift wagons, but I'd rather drive a goddamned three-on-the-tree than tap on stupid plastic flaps like I'm pretending to be Nico Rosberg.

Next we'll get into the incredibly lousy UX of car buying and the tricky area of aesthetics.


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davebelt
5 days ago
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useful
earth dimension c-138

6 Observations About Colonoscopies That I’m Sharing Today Because I Had One Yesterday

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1. If you haven’t done so already, you should probably go get you a colonoscopy. And yes, I realize that colonoscopies aren’t exactly iPhone chargers. You can’t just walk into a store and find one for 35 percent off on a discount rack. (And if you could, you’d need to run the fuck away from that deal. And that store.…

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Ayvalaan House / Paz Arquitectura

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© Andrés Asturias © Andrés Asturias
  • Structural Design: Consultores Estructurales
  • Construction: CONARQ
  • Electrical Design: PTS
  • Hidraulic Design: CONARQ
© Andrés Asturias © Andrés Asturias

Text description provided by the architects. Ayalaan house is owned by a recently married couple whose children from previous marriages live in other countries and visit Guatemala sporadically. Ayvalaan is the name of the street where the couple lived during their first years together in Holand.

© Andrés Asturias © Andrés Asturias
Ground + First floor plan Ground + First floor plan
© Andrés Asturias © Andrés Asturias

The house is built in the outskirts of Guatemala City within a  development built for the people who enjoy horses culture. The design takes advantage of the surrounding valleys to establish the connection with the equestrian world.

Elevations 02 Elevations 02

Situated on a steep terrain, the design is divided in several sections accordin to its purpose. On the lower part of the land you have the owners offices and a small family area to take advantage of the direct contact with the land. The intermediate level is occupied by open areas to integrate the living room, dining room and an open kitchen in order to link the culinary activities to the social events.

© Andrés Asturias © Andrés Asturias

Above we find the private sector with the main bedroom and a private livining room, and at the highest level there are two bedrooms for guests, so they are intentionally appart from the general core of the house.The sectors described are defined by spaces formed by panels that float by themselves. The use of several material (stucco, concrete and wood) that don’t touch generate a sense of lightness.

© Andrés Asturias © Andrés Asturias

Structurally the house combines brickwalls with concrete structures, to generate an elaborate constructive system and express different stages of functionallity. The main material used are wood, exposed concrete, glass and metalic structure.

© Andrés Asturias © Andrés Asturias
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6 Tips for Designing and Building a Tiny House

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<a href='https://www.archdaily.com/420623/portable-house-aph80-abaton-arquitectura'>Portable House ÁPH80 / Ábaton Arquitectura</a>. Image © Juan Baraja <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/420623/portable-house-aph80-abaton-arquitectura'>Portable House ÁPH80 / Ábaton Arquitectura</a>. Image © Juan Baraja

Tiny houses have become popular in recent years as housing prices continue to soar. Whether as an off-the-grid retreat or a way to live more simply and economically, tiny homes offer a more flexible way to live. They are even being used by charity organizations such as the Tiny Homes Foundation in Australia as a way to tackle the issue of homelessness in cities and the need for social housing. As the popularity and need for tiny homes become ever more prevalent, knowing the necessary skills to design a tiny house for yourself or a client is a useful skill to have.

Below are 6 tips to keep in mind when designing and building a tiny house:

1. Check Local Laws Before You Start Designing

Often, tiny houses are built on trailers to eliminate the need for building permits. In the US and Australia, most tiny houses have wheels so they can be legally classified as a campervan and not an illegally small house. However, local laws can vary so it is important to check them before you start designing. This will also be helpful in determining the size of your tiny house, as well as whether there are any regulations regarding certain materials or where you can place it.

<a href='https://www.archdaily.com/484584/quebrada-house-unarquitectura'>Quebrada House / UNarquitectura</a>. Image © Natalia Vial <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/484584/quebrada-house-unarquitectura'>Quebrada House / UNarquitectura</a>. Image © Natalia Vial

2. A Good Plan is a Good Building

The plan of any building is important, but this is especially true in regards to tiny houses, where every square centimeter of space matters. With careful and clever planning, a 20-square-meter tiny house can feel much larger and more comfortable to live in. One key way to achieve this is through the use of sliding doors, eliminating the space that is taken up by the swing of a traditional door; in fact, it is important to get rid of all unnecessary doors in the first place, to open up the limited space. Another way to create a more spacious environment is to maximize window space (although be careful of insulation issues). By bringing in natural light and views to the outdoors, it allows the inhabitant to feel as if the outside is an extension to the tiny home.

<a href='https://www.archdaily.com/379927/micro-house-studio-liu-lubin'>Micro-house / Studio Liu Lubin</a>. Image Courtesy of Studio Liu Lubin <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/379927/micro-house-studio-liu-lubin'>Micro-house / Studio Liu Lubin</a>. Image Courtesy of Studio Liu Lubin
<a href='https://www.archdaily.com/785103/colorado-outward-bound-micro-cabins-university-of-colorado-denver'>Colorado Outward Bound Micro Cabins / University of Colorado Denver</a>. Image Courtesy of University of Colorado Denver <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/785103/colorado-outward-bound-micro-cabins-university-of-colorado-denver'>Colorado Outward Bound Micro Cabins / University of Colorado Denver</a>. Image Courtesy of University of Colorado Denver

3. Don’t Simply Shrink Everything

An easy mistake to make is to correlate “tiny house” with “tiny everything,” which couldn’t be more wrong. By shrinking bathroom space or bed sizes too extensively, it hugely affects the quality of the living space. A better way to go about things would be to explore multifunctionality, asking whether each piece of furniture could have multiple uses, such as storage beds, or a bookshelf that transforms into a desk. The adaptability of the spaces could also extend to the architecture itself, with adaptable walls pulling out to become seating, and slotted back when not in use. The possibilities are endless, and the potentials for tiny houses can be extended through innovative architecture.

<a href='https://www.archdaily.com/785103/colorado-outward-bound-micro-cabins-university-of-colorado-denver'>Colorado Outward Bound Micro Cabins / University of Colorado Denver</a>. Image © Jesse Kuroiwa <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/785103/colorado-outward-bound-micro-cabins-university-of-colorado-denver'>Colorado Outward Bound Micro Cabins / University of Colorado Denver</a>. Image © Jesse Kuroiwa
<a href='https://www.archdaily.com/420623/portable-house-aph80-abaton-arquitectura'>Portable House ÁPH80 / Ábaton Arquitectura</a>. Image © Juan Baraja <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/420623/portable-house-aph80-abaton-arquitectura'>Portable House ÁPH80 / Ábaton Arquitectura</a>. Image © Juan Baraja

4. Don’t Forget the Foundation (And the Roof)

It is important to consider the foundations when designing a tiny house. The first question is whether you want the house to be easily transportable. The appeal of this, in addition to the legal issues surrounding tiny houses discussed above, are the main reason why most tiny houses are built on trailers. However, there are also other ways tiny houses can be built, such as on skids, stilts, or post and beam or concrete slab foundations. It is important to research the best foundation to use in order to suit the needs of your tiny house. The roof is another important part of the design that can’t be ignored. For example, a flat roof may cause problems where debris and water can accumulate. The roof design becomes even more important if you live in a part of the world with snowfall and have to consider snow weights—and if your tiny house is transportable, you may wish to consider the entire range of environments it's likely to encounter.

<a href='https://www.archdaily.com/396082/diogene-renzo-piano'>Diogene / Renzo Piano</a>. Image © Renzo Piano <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/396082/diogene-renzo-piano'>Diogene / Renzo Piano</a>. Image © Renzo Piano

5. Focus on the Weight

Leading on from the last point, weight is a huge issue to be considered when designing and building a tiny house. If the house is designed to be transportable, lightweight materials must be used to minimize the weight of the house. If built on a trailer, you must also consider “tongue weight,” meaning how much weight is on the front, toward the tongue of the trailer, and how much weight is on the back. If there isn’t enough weight on the trailer tongue, it can end up swaying from side to side when transporting the house, and if there is too much weight, it can overload the tires and push the vehicle around. Both situations can be extremely dangerous, so calculating the weight of the house is essential.

<a href='https://www.archdaily.com/476916/minimod-mapa'>Minimod / MAPA</a>. Image © Leonardo Finotti <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/476916/minimod-mapa'>Minimod / MAPA</a>. Image © Leonardo Finotti
<a href='https://www.archdaily.com/790996/koda-kodasema'>KODA / Kodasema</a>. Image © Paul Kuimet <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/790996/koda-kodasema'>KODA / Kodasema</a>. Image © Paul Kuimet

6. Think Outside the Box for Materials

Tiny houses are often made with salvaged or recycled materials to reduce cost and to be more environmentally sustainable. Architects are becoming more and more innovative in their use of recycled materials, so think outside the box when designing your tiny house. Every choice of material is significant, as the house is so small that every surface must count. Windows were mentioned previously as important elements to expand the space, so the choice of glass is crucial. Depending on the climate in which you want to build the tiny house, it is important to investigate the thermal qualities of different glass products. With around 40% of household energy used for heating and cooling, the use of materials and passive design can lower energy costs substantially.

<a href='https://www.archdaily.com/785103/colorado-outward-bound-micro-cabins-university-of-colorado-denver'>Colorado Outward Bound Micro Cabins / University of Colorado Denver</a>. Image © Jesse Kuroiwa <a href='https://www.archdaily.com/785103/colorado-outward-bound-micro-cabins-university-of-colorado-denver'>Colorado Outward Bound Micro Cabins / University of Colorado Denver</a>. Image © Jesse Kuroiwa
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davebelt
64 days ago
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everyone who visits my apartment in nyc immediately asks if i'm "a fan of those tiny house shows"
earth dimension c-138

Henniker Working Man's Porter reviewed!

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The Food Size Cycle

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There's data suggesting that this model may apply to deep-dish/thin-crust pizza. I've designed a thorough multi-year study to investigate this personally, but funding organizations keep denying my grant requests.
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davebelt
159 days ago
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Never actually seen tacos get bigger
earth dimension c-138
lepperk
157 days ago
https://www.amazon.com/Old-El-Paso-Stuffer-Shells/dp/B01CO6GZJC
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