Berry & Spatz is a two-person architecture firm doing new construction and adaptive re-use work exclusively in Evanston, IL. ARCHITECTURE is our passion. Its pursuit resulted in our 37 year professional evolution from being pure architects into a multi-disciplined small business. I think we design quality, affordable architecture for our real estate development company, ADAS/spatz properties which includes my real estate partner, Signe Adas. Property acquisition, architecture, construction, property management are all done “in house” giving us total project control. We are exclusively our own client.
I designed and built my previous home, 1220 Main, in 1984-85, and relocated my practice into the home a few years later. The small house next door at 1216 Main was purchased fifteen years ago and rented as an income producing “placeholder”. A new residence was required due to a “recent” family merger presenting an opportunity for a TAKE TWO.
The houses are located in a mature suburb adjacent to Chicago. Each lot is 50’ x 140’ (40’x 83’ buildable after setbacks), has access from the street only and a rear yard that faces south. The diagrams of the homes are similar. Automobile and pedestrian entry is only possible from the street. A central circulation space buffers the southern exposure living spaces located at the rear from street noise and affords maximum privacy.
The 4 occupants: (1) male “babyboomer” architect who hasn’t had a long term roommate since college, (1) female working, worldly “supermom”, (2) aspiring female artists 12 and 14 years.
- autos (attached garage for 2 cars + storage)
- circulation (entry w/closet, powder room, stair)
- living (dining area, kitchen, living space w/exterior deck)
- bedrooms (3 thus, 1 used as elaine’s study)
- circulation (hallway + bath, stair)
- master suite (bedroom etc. + bath)
- living space (under garage…girl’s “noisy” living space, laundry)
- circulation (hallway, future bath, sample room for studio, storage, stair)
- studio (work stations, conference area, ancillary)
When I put sizes to the above criteria, I realized that the new residence would need to be about 50% larger than 1220.
- FIX what was “wrong” with 1220…a studio was NOT part of the original program, stair access brought clients through the living area
- controlled exterior views, limited sideyard orientation
- maximize southern exposure, visually use the neighbors unbuilt yards
- maximum open interior space with appropriate enclosed areas for privacy
- multiple living space choices to insure a successful “family merger”
- a separate yet visually integrated studio since all I do is work…and ride my bicycle
- energy efficiency, daylighting and natural ventilation, on site water management, “sensible” green design, flexibility to adapt to future technologies
- detail everything
- design/fabricate as much of the furnishings as possible
DESIGN SOLUTION “take two”:
I investigated several different “bubble diagrams”, but only having automobile access from the street drove garage placement, the largest space. Its site location, the adjacent homes, and the sun’s path dictated the organization of the main level. The upper level has bedrooms above the garage, circulation is “stacked” and the master suite covers the dining area and kitchen below.
In order for the program area to meet building code lot coverage requirements, living space needed to be put underneath the garage and a portion of the main level had to be elevated extending beyond the lower level footprint. This, coupled with needing more natural light in my new studio and slightly different site topography than 1220, dictated “stepping” the main level. This was accomplished in four, 2 or 3 riser increments. The other levels followed suit.
I wanted to link the interior spaces to controlled exterior views resulting in a “butterfly” roof. This also makes roof water management and a future grey water system easy.
All specified items and purchases were thoroughly evaluated focusing in on a product’s history. The aluminum exterior siding and soffits make the building virtually maintenance free. Energy-related and “green” products were only used after doing our own payback analysis…no voodoo.
- foundation: poured in place concrete foundation
- primary structural system: steel post and beam
- exterior walls: 2 x 6 wood studs @ 24”OC, ½” exterior plywood sheathing (horizontally installed for extra wall rigidity) covered with tyvek drain guard which allows any condensation to escape to the ground. On top of the tyvek is 1.5” rigid foam insulation with taped joints which makes it work as a vapor retarder. the wall can “breath” to the exterior or interior eliminating the trapping of moisture and the possibility of mold throughout the life of the house. tyvek drain guard covers the rigid foam insulation and is covered by factory painted aluminum snap on standing seam panel system (18” panels w/ 1” battens). 5/8” drywall/latex paint interior finish.
- floor system: 2 x 12 wood joists @ 24” OC, ¾” sturdifloor t & g
- roof system: 2 x 12 wood joists @ 24” OC, ¾” cdx plywood with panel clips. On top of the plywood is 2” polyiso rigid insulation, 90 lb. fiberglass base sheet with a single ply modified bitumen roof and silver aluminized roof coating.
- miscellaneous envelope info: All lumber was harvested from renewable forests. Wall construction joints and intersections were sealed by either spray foam, low VOC construction adhesive or silicone caulk to eliminate any air infiltration.
ROOF: 2” of 25 PSI polyiso (r-13) is applied to the plywood deck and 11 ¼” of sprayed “dry” cellulose (r-42) with heavy duty polypropylene netting. We chose a dry system to achieve an additional r-6 increase at Chicago winter design temperatures. A similar system was used for the exterior floor overhangs.
WALLS: The frame walls have 1 ½” of 25 PSI polystyrene (r-10) applied to the plywood sheathing and 5 ½” of sprayed formaldehyde free fiberglass (r-23) with polypropylene netting in the cavity. Formaldehyde free fiberglass was used exclusively. We chose this system because fiberglass has a higher effective r-value in wall installations.
CONCRETE: The lower level walls have a 2x4 wood stud wall built 1 ½” in front of the concrete. 3 ½” fiberglass “batt in a bag” insulation (r 13) was installed tight to the concrete wall. The perforated polyethylene bag breaths in both directions and is specifically designed for this situation.
SOUND: 5 ½” fiberglass batt sound insulation was used in all bedroom, bathroom and mechanical room demising walls. 9” was used in pipe chases and in the 1st floor/basement cavity with impact isolating channels.
HVAC: (2) zones…main & lower level (zone 1), upper level (zone 2). Each system is gas forced air (90% efficient) with fresh air intakes and electric cooling (15 SEER). Per our calculations, each system is 30% oversized due to “super insulation” and building tightness. We decided to specify larger equipment…experience tells us that sometimes the numbers lie. As an FYI, the winter gas bills for 1216 main (new house), which is 59% larger than 1220 main, are 19% LESS. I guess the energy saving design and construction techniques we employed actually work. A 1’-6” x 1’-6” chase links the lower level to the roof for future photovoltaic solar panels..
- electric: 400 amp service with (2) 200 amp panels which are also “zoned” and will accommodate future photovoltaic solar panels.
- plumbing: Toto dual flush toilets throughout. 2.5 gpm faucets, shower heads and tub fillers.
- Interior trim, cabinets & custom furniture : Oak veneer doors, oak trim. ¾” mdf board & plywood w/horizontal rift oak veneer cabinet exteriors and pre-finished maple interiors. Plastic laminate, clear anodized aluminum trim and pulls. All wood products are formaldehyde free and come from managed forests.
finished floors: 12 x 24 porcelain ceramic tile (entry hall, kitchen, baths). “renewable” 2 ¼” red oak flooring, oil based stain (duraseal by minwax) and water based finish called “traffic” (dining and living space). Oak flooring has a long history as does the duraseal (definitely not low VOC). I have 35 years of personal experience with these two. Duraseal was also used on the cabinets, doors/frames, wood trim and furniture to avoid any color matching issues. The “traffic” product has been “wear free” in our hardwood flooring contractor’s home for 8 years and supposedly has a 15 year lifespan.
- appliances & consumer electronics: All energy star rated.
The total cost for ALL the above including construction management, utilities and blueprinting was $140.81 psf
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looking SE: 1216 main (new house) is on the left, 1220 main (previous house) is on the right
looking SW.:1216 main (new house) is on the left, 1220 main (previous house) is on the right
looking S: sloped 2nd floor wall & glazing. concrete retaining wall designates street entry. applied aluminum sheet (leftovers from soffits) on front door.
SOUTH ELEVATION looking NE: elevated living space to meet code. passive solar elements…¼” bent aluminum plate sunshades, overhang. the railing system uses aluminium angle & tube armature, perforated aluminum panels, stainless steel cable. 1 x 6 trex decking on the walking surfaces. the “slit glazing” resembling a pair of “tweezers” grabs the late PM light.
looking NE: curved aluminum tube w/standard HPS flood, lights the deck and yard. best worst spot for condensers since code won’t allow them in the 5’ side yard.
entry hall looking S: dining room w/living room beyond. steel, single stringer cantilever stair. perforated aluminum screen. 12 x 24 porcelain ceramic tile, 2 ¼” oak strip flooring from renewable forests.
looking S from entry: “grasshopper” dining room table seats 12. mdf board w/plastic laminate, oak plywood, aluminum angle & bar, skinny steel legs like a grasshopper’s. all of the major interior materials are incorporated into this piece. FYI, most of the interior furnishings were built on site. overhead lighting by artemeide. living room media center beyond.
looking S into the living space: an 8” steel beam braces the 20’ x 23’ window wall. tracklighting is integrated into the web for uplighting. afternoon light from the “tweezer” windows.
looking E: view from dining room into kitchen. horizontal grain rift oak mdf bd. w/ black granite countertops.
looking SW: afternoon light through “tweezers”.
looking NE: MBR on 2nd floor on left. back side of dressers (oak plywood, plastic laminate tops, perforated aluminum) form rail. MBR bath to the right of the dressers.
looking SW from kitchen: entertainment center (oak doors, oak plywood, plastic laminate tops, perforated aluminum) is on right.
looking NE from the dining room into the solar chimney: steel tube single stringer. ¼” folded steel cantilevered brackets form the treads/risers. ¾” oak applied wearing surface. ¼” steel verticals, ½” rod balusters w/1 ½” steel top tube rail. steel angle frame w/perforated aluminum infill screen, entry hall beyond. transom at upper tight is in the hall bath shower.
looking NW from the 2nd floor hall: bedroom and study transoms daylight the circulation space adjacent to the solar chimney. HVAC equipment and linen closet are behind the bypass doors. the entry door is below the red wall.
looking S from the MBR bed: dressers form rail, window wall beyond.
looking SW from the MBR bath: horizontal grain rift oak cabinets w/wood boxes. black granite tops, bracketed tracklighting. 12 x 24 porcelain ceramic tile.
looking E from julia’s bedroom: left wall and “A” window slope out. steel threaded rod w/bracket suspended shelving system above the desk. this system was used in all the bedroom’s, elaine’s study, and closet interiors. the desk top is mdf board w/plastic laminate supported by a purchased pedestal unit and chrome closet rod leg.
looking W into lower level studio from stair landing: the same fabrication system used in julia’s bedroom is repeated. dining room beyond.
looking N from the lower level studio into the solar chimney: the window at the top naturally ventilates the house. a 2600 cfm mushroom exhaust fan (not seen) can also be used to assist. the undersides of the stair and furnishings needed to be detailed/finished since they are readily viewable.