The design of Dwell Home Venice blurs the boundaries of interior and exterior space. Every room in the house has a courtyard, patio, deck or roof garden to look onto or walk into. The windows and doors play a critical role in defining and opening space and also setting the character of the home. For the fabrication of this significant design element of the home we selected Archispec based in River Hills, Wisconsin. Archispec specializes in custom oversized windows and doors and has fabricated doors for distinctive homes around the country such as the Edstrom Residence by Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Dwell Home Venice features an array of mahogany-framed windows and doors from Archispec. These are double glazed with tempered glass and Low E glass coatings which reflect or absorb heat energy from infrared light.
We spoke to Dan Ward, Principal of Archispec, about the company and what makes them unique.“We still produce double mortise and tenon heavy full timber products. Many others have moved away from these in order to gain cost and time saving production. Our no-veneering full-timber approach allows for terrific oversizing capabilities and long term durability.”
Archispec values craftsmanship in this era of mass-production. Dan Ward: “In the wood industry, we no longer hear the terms master or grandmaster craftsmen or of those who learned from them such as apprentices or journeymen. The talents of an older generation are now retiring and are generally not being replaced. It’s not unlike the auto industry where a technician attaches a troubled auto to a computer to diagnose and then replaces “modules” rather than repair or rebuild parts. Wood working has evolved into the feeding of wood through high tech machines. The know-how of selecting timbers by eye to make them square or straight and to yield is being replaced by large wood maximizer machines. These modern methods fail the capability to go beyond basic shapes, to bend or arch, to oversize… to make things unique with lasting beauty.”
Installing a window at Dwell Home Venice:
With all of the windows and doors installed the house had a final, second wrap of black building paper applied over the Tyvek paper. The house is now almost completely watertight and ready for siding.
Michael Sylvester is a writer who lives in both Los Angeles and an aisle seat, preferably in the exit row. On his pilgrimage to Dan Rockhill's Studio 804 in Lawrence, Kansas, to see its fabled prefab projects, he was feeling a bit self conscious being a Left Coast vegetarian in steak country. "In addition to their cool prefabs, there was a great vegan restaurant downtown. Who doesn't enjoy mixing good architecture with good food?" he says.
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