Intro

Swap information about modern living in the Valley of the Sun. Introduce yourself, ask a question, or announce events to modern homeowners & enthusiasts here.

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Kaffer
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Intro

Postby Kaffer » Sat Sep 18, 2004 12:56 am

Hello everyone,
My name is Shawn Kaffer, and I am currently renovating a Haver at 1409 West Myrtle Ave (the ugliest in the neighborhood right now). My fiance and I have been here for about 2 years and have been doing all of the work with some friends. We completely gutted it, removed the stucco, reworked all of the utilities and now it is starting to finally come alive!!!
I would also like to thank you for this website- it is phenominal! I am a young architect infected with the modern virus, and I find myself checking for new updates quite frequently for inspiration. Believe me, there have been many times we have needed it!

Thanks again,
Shawn Kaffer

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PixelPixie
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Postby PixelPixie » Sat Sep 18, 2004 9:42 am

I bet you Matthew and I have seen you out working on the house with friends on the weekend, next time we drive by we'll stop and say hi :-D There are some really great houses on your three streets, and its so good to hear you've de-stuccoed yours. Isn't it neat to see everything that people have done to personalize their homes? I like your neighborhood because it is kind of conservative that way when compared to Marlen Grove or Paradise Gardens. Very understated and well... just NICE! Good luck with your ugly duckling and definitely take lots of Before pictures so we can appreciate how far you've come :-D

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Kaffer
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Postby Kaffer » Sat Sep 18, 2004 11:53 pm

I figured you probably have seen us out there since I have seen some recent photos of our neighborhood. Yeah the neighborhood is very nice, and I think we will start to see more and more life invested in the architecture in the next few years here. These homes definitely do not have the elegance of details that the other neighborhoods do. Such as lack of clear story windows and exposed rafters. Though I really wish it had, we have been finding other opportunities to bring life beyond the original design.
I have been closely studying these neighborhoods since we moved in, and to be honest I cannot determine whether Ralph Haver had intended these homes to be manipulated buy their occupants or not, but I will say that I find the potential of the renovations to be the most fascinating element to the design. They are basically always changing and developing into something better.
Anyway, stop by anytime, just be prepared to see quite a disaster!!

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Postby PixelPixie » Sun Sep 19, 2004 12:31 am

I often wonder, too. But what builder would not expect for the structure to eventually be manipulated? Especially when designing something so malleable? That is what makes a house a Home.

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Postby Kaffer » Tue Sep 21, 2004 10:32 pm

Actually, considering Haver's influence (Wright, who designed everything right down to the plates and silverware) would be an extremely forward position to create such a design that the occupant completes. How modest would he have to be? To be completely honest, from an architect's point of view, I would find it very difficult for me to design something that would be manipulated by others. Regardless of the intention, I believe that it is a shame that modern day develpment hasnt picked up on that. It also seems to me that modernism is becoming more and more popular in the mainstream. Definitely something to think about......Oh, the possibilities...............

Speaking of possibilies, I do have some original windows from our house that are looking for a new Haver home. They need some work- but definitely salvagable. If you know of anyone looking for some - please let me know.

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Postby PixelPixie » Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:39 am

I would post up a description of the windows and maybe a photograph and put it in our Want Ads section in case people never get this far in the thread.

The question of modification and control is one I'll bring up in our interview with Haver's son.

The question for me boils down to my design philosophy -- the primary difference between art and deisgn is that design must be useful in a practical sense. If a design fails to meet all the user's needs, I think it should be expected and allowed to change. Users change. Their needs change. Or sometimes users (owners) change entirely from one person to the next. So design changes and adapts to those needs.

One of the things that makes the Haver homes so attractive to us today is their tendency toward open plans and few loadbearing walls in the middle of the house, so the space may be carved up and carved up again as needed. I will ask if this was a deliberate feature or a happy accident for us. :-)

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Postby Kaffer » Wed Sep 22, 2004 1:26 pm

I would agree with you, but only to a point. Architecture is an art- in that makes a statement towards a constant progression. To progress to me means that the design goes beyond our current perception. So our perception, or our practical sensiblity might not be caught up to our art of design. This may mean that we have to make a sacrifice to live in this statement, but it does contribute to that progression (sometimes more than others). But I do find that the statement is important and sometimes very relevant. I heard once that Wright designed a home in Illinois that in order for you to go from the kitchen to the bedroom you have to go outside. That didnt go over very well with the client, but I do believe that concept was built here in the valley. It does make for an uncomfortable trip to get a glass of milk in the middle of the night, but I can image that the dynamic of design called for such a drastic composition. It then brings up the question of do we really need all of these walls? What is really necessary? I believe our insticts yearn for us to be as close to nature as possible, so if you think about it - it might not be so crazy after all. I could see that if the user were to change this condition by enclosing the space, something in the architecture would be lost.
In the case of the Haver homes- this postion is just the opposite, hower both concepts push the envlope, and I find to be very important.

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Postby PixelPixie » Wed Sep 22, 2004 2:22 pm

Interesting. Keep it coming.

Matthew and I had a discussion the other night about whether Design was meant to be transcendent -- to touch upon the intangible or spiritual the way art is supposed to. Matthew has long been a disciple of functional design while I, as an artist as well a designer, often blur the lines between the two disciplines. To me, in the end, architecture is more design than art and when it ceases to be more functional than aesthetically pleasing it dips its toe or dives into the realm of sculpture. And that isn't necessarily Bad, that just Is.

As designers, and as artists, I think we often have to practice detatchment from the end use of our products. Once the design leaves the studio, it is out of our hands. I've had a good number of designs desecrated but I take that part and parcel as part of the job. At least the work is being used and is useful to SOMEbody. There is a big difference from detatchment (in the buddhist sense) and not caring.

We watched show the other day on Minimalist architecture and interiors, and about the exacting control the designers officiated over the work, and the self-control the inhabitants practiced so as to not disturb their own surroundings. The architecture quite literally shaped their behavior. I don't have a lot of time to write about this phenomenon now before I trot off to work but maybe Matthew can pick up where I left off here and deliver the punchline of the show.

Because nothing lasts. There is only Change.

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Postby lavardera » Wed Sep 22, 2004 6:19 pm

Architecture falls into both camps, by serving a function it is by default industrial design, but by also by conveying meaning through shaping our experience it is also like art.

Now there is plenty of construction that does not necessarily live up to that aspiration of architecture, and much housing and day to day building falls into that broad category. But culture can creep up on a building, and throw it from one realm to the other despite the designer's intentions, or lack of intentions. Ultimately it is the eye of the beholder, or the experience of the beholder in this case, that makes something architecture over simply building.
Greg
gregory la vardera architect
modern house plans http://www.lamidesign.com/plans

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Postby Kaffer » Wed Sep 22, 2004 10:25 pm

I believe that everything speaks.......about something. It is a reaction to how we live, and a successful architecture sings.

I find that the intention of the time is what makes a structure in a sense sacred (or as we call it architecture). I find Haver homes to be sacred based on the potential of the occupants ability to renovate, update, and manipulate in a fashion that is appropriate to the modest modern architecture. Whether it is intended, or an accident- it is as it should be.
Now, this might not be true of a Wright home- I would find it diffucult to accept for many - including myself for an occupant to manipulate one of Wright's "masterpieces", regardless if you like the California colors or not. I believe we see these homes as a bench mark for a time in history, whether or not it is lacking in practicality- and lets face it- many modernist were not always practical.
The Haver home has lent itself to sort of bridge the gap between what we know today of residential development to 20th Century modernism, and for that matter- design in general. I see these homes to speak more to people with a lower economic status - than those who seek out for high end design and have the budget to meet those needs.

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Postby Kaffer » Wed Sep 22, 2004 10:44 pm

To add to my last statement-

I find that generally "architecture" in the residential world lends itself to those with the deep pockets. The Haver home simply shows us what could be possible in development for the masses.
How wonderful would it be if you drove along I-17, and instead of seeing rows and rows of stucco, we saw the Haver neighborhoods. Quite a difference, I think. .......a field of Haver's - it does make me wonder why he stopped? Why not keep going- you would think they were profittable..........

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Postby PixelPixie » Thu Sep 23, 2004 12:10 am

I think there are folks out there like Wendell Burnette who are proving that good one-off alternatives to Taco Bell can happen under $150,000, however why there are not more out there proving the same such thing is a mystery to me. And where all the good tract home designers are now is particularly beyond me. There are all the Loft and Townhouse and Highrise style developers out there, and sure high-density urban living is hot right now, and yes they are slightly (post)modern but surely something can overturn the current stucco stigma for new single-family homes.

I often travel between North Phoenix and Scottsdale, and as I drive down through Hayden Road, my childhood mainline to the rest of the world, I often ask myself: "Will McCormick Ranch tract homes soon constitute the next wave of preservationist tendencies? Is the architecture enough to carry momentum of revival though the next decades? Will anyone wax nostalgic about them? What merits preservation?" Only time will tell. Love of architecture is the kind of thing that seeps into one's bones. But I wonder if the preservation comissions will come to a practical standstill once they reach the year of preserving 1971. :wink: Perhaps that is just a pretention on my part, however.

It begs the question of whether the popular architecture of the 70s and 80s was merely an awkward bridge to the 90s and New Millennium.
Last edited by PixelPixie on Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby lavardera » Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:00 am

It's hard to compare one-offs, singular designs to production housing, even inspired production housing (that may have had a short run :) ). Production housing must arrive at a generalized solution that will work for and appeal to many people. To do something unique and inspiring, like the ranch houses we love, at the same time is a tough design problem. You walk the tight-rope of limiting the designs appeal, or diluting its integrity - the best solutions manage to satisfy both goals at the same time. It is this same generalized approach that makes these houses adaptable and long lived. The singular design emerges out of a very personal agenda of the owner and designer. These houses have the opportunity to make a much stronger statement in both regards, but don't hold up well to future adaptation. Any changes always serve to un-do the original intentions. The best you can expect is something like the sensitive restoration of the Kaufman House in Palm Springs by Neutra. There they were able to move the house forward into the present, but still retain its integrity.

But the real achievement of these modern ranches is their ability to be reinvented, to survive the changing domestic requirements, and lend themselves to new situations with their integrity intact.
Greg
gregory la vardera architect
modern house plans http://www.lamidesign.com/plans

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Postby PixelPixie » Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:06 am

Perhaps this is what the prefab contingent is trying to solve -- building good modern houses in quantity but largely bypassing the trouble of finding tracts of land to put them on en masse. I would like to see entire prefab communities spring up, not just one or two dotting the local landscape surrounded by... well... you know. Mediocrity for miles. Frustrating.

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Postby PixelPixie » Sat Oct 09, 2004 11:14 pm

How did you remove the stucco by the way?

And once you destuccoed it, did you get what you expected?


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