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    ArchWeek Residential No. 135
    Dear Designers, Builders, and Dwellers,

    ArchWeek Residential brings you housing news and analysis from the editors of ArchitectureWeek. This edition is sponsored by Marvin Windows:


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    How does the concept of quality fit into your work in residential design and construction?

    Probably almost everyone who operates a business wants real quality on the business side - trustworthy employees, effective sales, minimal waste, good cash flow, accurate accounting, and so on.

    On the other hand, businesses can take rather different approaches to the issue of quality in their product delivery. Some aim for maximum product quality and command a premium price. Some aim for basic saleable products at the lowest possible price. And so on.


    The high-tech Chevy Volt is a flagship product for a General Motors that is widely considered to have joined Ford and Chrysler/Fiat in refocusing successfully on high-quality, high-efficiency products. Photo: Kevin Matthews/Artifice Images

    The thing is... quality consciousness in a modern organization is largely a matter of culture. Deep quality is something an organization has to live and breathe. It is difficult to manifest if compartmentalized, or turned on and off depending on the situation.

    As a result, there can be a contradiction in aiming to maximize quality profits on the business side, if not maximizing product quality on the delivery side as well.

    Arguably, this is part of the lesson of the ups and downs of American car makers since the 1970s, when their domestic dominance was first threatened. Initially, imports were dismissed as uncompetitive econoboxes, while American cars got even bigger. Then, as a good chunk of the domestic car market was being lost to higher-quality foreign producers, American makers found refuge for a decade or two in the easy production and high margins of the uniquely American truck-based SUV.

    That didn't last either, and eventually, long after the writing was on the wall, it took hard economic knocks and major government bailouts for American car makers to shift their focus to designing and building high-quality, efficient cars for today's demanding market.


    There are thousands of examples of great new places created by the U.S. residential building industry — and thousands more of subdivisions filled with under-designed, under-built new tract houses, too. Photo: Flickr user smart growth

    Does anyone else see an analogy with American homebuilders who may be pining for the easy profitability of the suburban McMansion niche? Is there any fairness in the comparison?

    Has the American mainstream residential production industry made the paradigm shift, yet, to a primary focus on building great compact contemporary housing, with world-class quality, in time- and transportation-affordable locations?

    How often do you think about contributing to a culture of deep quality in your residential design and construction-related efforts? Is there something new you might do, from whatever position, to help maximize quality in your organization(s)?   *|TWITTER:TWEET|*


    Residential Design and Building News

    Housing Declared "Bottoming" in U.S. - Bloomberg, 2012.0425

    Transit-Oriented Residential Community Planned for Somerville - Boston/ SF News, 2012.0425

    Vancouver's Development Permit Board Okays Controversial Project - The Globe and Mail, 2012.0425

    Houses of the Sundown Sea - Wallpaper, 2012.0425

    Tel Aviv Battles to Save Heritage of Bauhaus from Decay - BusinessWeek, 2012.0425

    Housing Needs More Freedom, Innovation, Not More Loans - Bacon's Rebellion, 2012.0425

    Interview with New York Developer David W. Levinson - New York Times, 2012.0425

    Cost of Spain's Housing Could Force a Bailout - New York Times, 2012.0425

    Even in a Prime Neighborhood, Some Forlorn Vacancies - New York Times, 2012.0424

    How Our Home Was Saved from Foreclosure - CNN, 2012.0424

    Savvy Buyers Now Expect LEED-Certified Homes - Nashville Ledger, 2012.0424

    Rentals in Houses Outnumber Those in Towers - Wall Street Journal, 2012.0424

    Purchases of New Homes Exceed Forecasts - BusinessWeek, 2012.0424

    U.S. March New Housing Sales Report - Bloomberg, 2012.0424

    Design Firm Leader Employs Holistic Philosophy to Foster Clients' Creativity, Comfort - Chicago Tribune, 2012.0423

    Builder Horton Skips Celebration on Quarterly Profit - Wall Street Journal, 2012.0423

    Supreme Court Refuses to Hear UWS $1,000/Month Rent-Stabilization Case - Gothamist, 2012.0423

    Planned Palace Upsets Some Neighbors in Tony D.C. Suburb - Washington Post, 2012.0423

    Native Trails offers artisan-crafted, eco-conscious furnishings and fixtures for kitchen and bath design. Rooted in the traditions of centuries-old artisan craftsmanship, we take every opportunity to use recycled, reclaimed, or sustainably certified materials to bring eclectic sophistication to luxury living.

    Disaster Solution? House in a Box, Maybe - News Journal, 2012.0423

    Sales of New U.S. Homes Probably Climbed in March - Bloomberg, 2012.0423

    Apartment Demand Drives Commercial Building Rebound - Los Angeles Times, 2012.0422

    Family Takes Long, Winding Road to Their 'Green' House - USA Today, 2012.0421

    $16M Project Unveiled for Former Steam Plant: YMCA, UT Clinic, Apartments Planned - Toledo Blade, 2012.0421

    The Finest Estate Home in America Found - Huffington Post, 2012.0421

    What's Next for Top Condo Builder? - Calgary Herald, 2012.0420

    Behind the Numbers: Existing-Home Sales Fall - Wall Street Journal, 2012.0419

    Neighborhood Profile: High View Park - Washington Post, 2012.0419

    A Co-op with Elbow Room - New York Times, 2012.0419

    What's in a $22 Million 1 Bedroom Condo? - CNBC, 2012.0417

    Homeowners Keep Renovations Simple, Budget-Friendly - USA Today, 2012.0417


    The white plaster curved stair inside Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye (1931) in Poissy, France, is an architectural sculpture rendered in daylight. Photo: Jay Chatterjee

    Basics - Stairs, Ramps, and Slopes Title
    by Nancy Gesimondo and Jim Postell

    Stairs, ramps, and slopes are specific types of flooring assemblies that join two or more different levels. Their design is guided, in part, by larger design intentions that involve human movement through space, along with scale, location, orientation, wayfinding strategies, and their contextual fit within the immediate and surrounding environment.

    Their design and construction are also influenced by code constraints established to address concerns of safety and accessibility.

    Through their components, materials, and surface articulation, stairs, ramps, and slopes can communicate spatial hierarchy in the way people navigate through buildings. The assembly of these systems can serve many purposes, including articulating space and establishing spatial order.

    These elements also contribute to a wide variety serendipitous functions, such as serving as a place to sit and talk, or as a place to meet briefly.

    Consider opportunities for integrating building assemblies with engineering systems. Stairs, ramps, and slopes can be considered primary building assemblies in which structural support, lighting, and MEP systems are incorporated.

    These systems will influence the material selection as well as the composition and detail of their assembly.   >>>

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    Update to AutoCAD Web and Mobile Access
    Autodesk recently released an update to AutoCAD WS, which enables users to view, edit, and share their AutoCAD designs and DWG files through web browsers and mobile devices. The AutoCAD WS 1.1 plugin and mobile app are currently available for free (subject to terms and conditions):

    Satellite System Will Speed Up Tsunami Warnings - Nature, 2012.0420

    SmartGeometry 2012 Conference - AECbytes, 2012.0419

    Here's the Uber for Architecture: Elite Services for Web-Saavy Commoners - VentureBeat, 2012.0418

    New in AutoCAD 2013: Object Modification - CAD Notes, 2012.0418

    A Midterm Test for the CAD Industry - Graphic Speak, 2012.0418

    A Practical Approach to Implementing BIM - Structure Mag, 2012.0412

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    Contents, RSS, and Surface of the Week

    Metal-framed glass atrium ceiling in a modern commercial building (CR-018)


    Architecture Quiz this week's new question...

    How tall is the Empire State Building? In what year did King Kong climb to its top?

    Architecture Answer for last week's quiz...

    The ratio of span to thickness in a thin-shell concrete dome is so high that these concrete shells have often been compared to eggshells. How similar are the actual ratios for concrete shells and eggshells?



    Classic Home 045 — Two-story brick house with porch, by William Carver

    "Here is a splendid two-story house, with exterior walls of brick, which is very popular in the South. The first floor has the splendid feature of a bedroom and bath. Entrance from the pergola is into a hall, where the stair and coat closet are located. One may also enter directly into the living room, which is well lighted on three sides and has an open fireplace. On the second floor, there are three large bedrooms and another bathroom."


    The latest architectural headlines, linking across the Web:
    Design Context Building Culture Technology
    Continuing dimensions...
         Daily Building, Directory of Architects, Architecture Books, 
         Building of the Week, Free Classifieds, Great Buildings, the 
         ArchitectureWeek Online Library, Web Directory, Archiplanet, 


    Five years ago in ArchitectureWeek:

        AIA Housing Awards 2007, by ArchitectureWeek


    Ten years ago in ArchitectureWeek:

        Old Prague and New, by Don Barker


    For anyone counting... yes, it does look like a big jump from ArchWeek Residential No. 114 to No. 135. Turns out, while converting from using dates to using numbers, we made a typo in transferring the count. So No. 114 should have been No. 134, and this edition really is (more or less) No. 135. Hooray!

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    Disagree, agree, have some to add, or get inspired, with something in ArchWeek? Tell the world in our DesignCommunity forums.

    And, as always, please talk back, to ""!

    with best wishes,

    Kevin Matthews
    Editor in Chief

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