Friday, March 20, 2015

Recent Sketches: West Islip



The initial stages of an architectural project are a design challenge based on many factors including site, program, zoning, budget, and aesthetics.  Trying to arrange the flow of the house in coordination with its footprint while remaining within the zoning guidelines of setbacks and lot coverage is only compounded when working on a waterfront home. Challenges like these require patient problem solving and the cumulative experience of previous projects.  Once the program seems resolved, then it's time to work on the form of the building, a balancing act of shapes and textures.  Above are sketches for a new waterfront project in West Islip, with views overlooking the Great South Bay.  These sketches will now be drafted using AutoCAD.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Everything and the Kitchen Sink


BPA-designed kitchens: top, Old Field, NY; bottom, Captree, NY

The history of the kitchen is one of my favorite topics.  Perhaps no other room speaks so directly to cultural, technological, and social changes in human lifestyle.  Whether we gather around the open pit hearth or the granite kitchen island, kitchens offer a duality between the work of preparing food and the hopes for a convivial, communal experience.  Today's kitchen, laid out to maximize prep surfaces and efficiency, offers a myriad of cooking opportunities while remaining centrally located as not to miss all the action.  It is a space full of aspirations of the life we wish we could lead-- the Viking oven installed for the apply pie you might bake someday instead of the takeout food you reheat regularly.  Traditional or modern, the kitchen is certainly the heart of a house, turning it into a home.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sandy Cottage: An Eye to the Future




After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, BPA's engagement in rebuilding and elevating homes in low lying, FEMA zones increased overnight.  Many of these modest homes had structural issues even before the storm, and it became clear that many would need to be rebuilt from scratch.  Exploring structural elements that are aesthetically progressive, affordable to build, and FEMA compliant, BPA has designed Sandy Cottage, which uses an efficient and consolidated structural system in order to reduce material and labor costs. With the option for solar panels and water capture, this energy efficient home helps rebuild neighborhoods with an eye towards meeting the needs of the future.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Local and Green: The New Brinkmann Hardware Store




Many years ago, BPA started its practice in Sayville, NY, so we were quite familiar with Brinkmann's local hardware and paint store. In fact, we still own and use the barbecue grill they recommended to us twenty years ago.  Helpful service and high-quality products make it quite easy to support this family-owned business. Combatting an era of impersonal corporate big-box stores, Brinkmann's Hardware Store has grown and is currently working with BPA to create a store that will reflect its values: tradition, community, and environmental responsibility.  The 18,000 square foot space will now house hardware, paint, and office space under one solar roof.  Yes, 120 KW of photovoltaic panels combined with a geo-thermal system will set this building on the path to net-zero energy, creating an efficient building which will serve as a model for both its consumers and other commercial buildings.  With one foot planted in the family tradition and the other in the alternative energy future, it is very exciting for us to chronicle this project from start to finish.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Little Details, Big Picture








The Nassau County Art Museum in Roslyn, NY featured some of the most interesting contemporary paintings I've seen in a long time.  Using patterns of color, texture, and text, the images remained abstract until viewed through the digital lens of my iPhone.  Ironically, the image could not be captured as the naked eye saw it; instead it morphed into a realistic portrait.  The top image by South African Gavin Rain was created from rings of colorful circles, only to become the visage of a movie star or political activist, an odd juxtaposition for certain.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Oak Beach Goes Pop

In exploring decorating options for the BPA Brooklyn office, the large white walls will clearly need some artwork that pops visually.  I'm beginning to play with some images of BPA projects that might work in a colorful and graphic format.  The Oak Beach house seems like a perfect fit, with its dynamic rooflines and rhythmic forms.  This image is the first attempt; luckily photographer Cliff Gardiner of Klph and John Studio has offered his expertise in this endeavor.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Need a Lift?





Ever since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Bouler Pfluger Archiects, PC has been busy lifting houses out of flood areas all along Long Island's south shore, as well as homes in NYC's Build it Back program. A house lift doesn't necessarily mean a change in aesthetics or a decrease in the character of the neighborhood, as seen in these three lift/renovation projects, which are homes that were improved in the process of getting them out of harm's way.