Moving Violations

By Dan Maginn / Published by Dwell
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Can you spot the 11 infractions in this modern house?

Years of bloodhound-like neighbor-hood exploring on the mean streets of Scottsdale, Arizona, have served Jeffy well in his new career as a junior building inspector. Check out the IRC violations he sniffed out on a visit to this prototypical modern home.

1. The ironic 1970s princess touch-tone phone buttons serving as house numbers can’t be seen from the street.

2. The off-center pivot front door doesn’t meet the minimum require­ments for egress. It needs to be side-hinged and at least 32 inches wide.

3. The eight-burner restaurant-grade superwoktop requires a restaurant-grade superrange hood.

4. The Danish woodstove was installed too close to surrounding combustible construction, thereby voiding its (IRC-required) UL listing.

5. The space between the imported Spanish glass stair treads allows a four-inch imported Spanish glass sphere to pass through.

6. The Tokyo-hotel-style sleep cap­sule is too small to be considered a bedroom. A room has to be at least 70 square feet.

7. The hyperthin ferropolymer-frame window in the bedroom is too small to be considered an egress window. For ground-level windows, the minimum net clear opening is five square feet.

8. The experimental translucent R-11 insulation in the translucent exterior walls does not meet the minimum R-13 requirement for Scottsdale, Arizona (zone 3 on the IRC climate zone map).

9. The steel reinforcement put in the reclaimed-cypress concrete founda­tion was never approved by the build­ing inspector.

10. The penguin-feeding platform is cantilevered over the penguin lap pool more than 30 inches, thus requiring a guardrail.

11. Commercial animal breeding in a residential area isn’t approved of in Scottsdale’s zoning ordinance.

Fun Fact: The first automatic electric fire alarm was invented by Francis Robbins Upton and Fernando J. Dibble in 1890. Upton was an associate of Thomas Edison, and there's evidence that Edison worked on the device.


Dan Maginn


Dan Maginn is an AIA-member architect who lives and carpools to work with his wife, Keri, in Kansas City. Although he and his partners at El Dorado Inc. are extremely interested in promoting sustainable design on all scales, he does not consider himself to be an "eco-warrior." Instead he prefers the term "eco-tainment specialist"

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