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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Catching Up with Jack Sprague

I got this from Jack Sprague last week, but am just now sitting down to post it—sorry for the delay. Perhaps I was just too jealous to post these pictures of his new fabulous home!

Well, hello everyone.

We are doing very well in Santa Fe and are close to getting totally settled, though as with any new home as technologically comprehensive as this is, there are still details that need to be worked out. And being the visual perfectionists that we are the devil is in the details. One minor miss alignment is cause for discomfort, but I know that I am preaching to the choir.

I have had many, many former students contact me and ask about what I am doing and express the noticeable difference at the omission of my shiny bald head in the hall or in room 234.

Our three year house project is really nothing more than a large 3-D graphic design problem that addresses the same elements of design composition, scale, proportion, harmony/unity, alignment, thresholds, juxtaposition, texture, line, shape, color, value, space and materials all working together with a stark natural environment for a series of day-to-day functions. The overall concept from the start has been to create a contemporary, primitive homage to architectural influences of the Anasazi Indians of Mesa Verde and Chocó Canyon that aligns with the southwest landscape AND be responsible in size and be sustainable in energy use, materials etc.

The design is very graphic and we can hear literally hear the moans of the adobe revivalists/traditionalists who are still trying to hang on to unsustainable, old building technology and aesthetics of the typical 4000 + square foot homes of the wealthy.

The house is 100% solar with hot water radiant copper coil floor heating, solar swimming pool, all interconnected with a 600-gallon hot water heater that stands eight feet tall and is four feet in diameter. We will be selling energy back to the electrical grid on a monthly basis. Additionally, the walls and floors under the concrete slab are 16” thick Styrofoam that makes the space insulated at an R factor of 75. For those of you who pay attention and know that the average home high R factor is about 19 to 25 you will understand the significance of the insulation factor and energy savings.

We had a national energy expert do a sustainable analysis of the energy utilization of the home with its extensive photovolic solar system and they determined that after one month of energy consumption that our “annual” total electric cost would range from $800 to $1000. All of you must know how thrilled we were at this since our last electric bill in Dallas for the month of August at our townhouse was $592, half of our total estimated electrical costs. So that is it for our total energy cost since we have no other energy system and have an 800 foot well for our own spring water and a rain cistern for watering our limited natural landscape. Everything within the perimeter plinth stonewalls is crushed granite and the rest of the 20 acres is natural pinion, cedar, juniper and cactus.

So that is about it from Santa Fe. I think about all of you very much, miss the creative communication and all of you students—not the administrative BS, but that just goes with the territory.

Enjoy our most recent pictures. We are really happy with the contemporary, primitive nature of the finishes especially the polished Venetian Plaster walls throughout.

Bye for now.