This week we are focusing on our favorite classes, and by far my favorite class is ARCH 305a: Building Science II. I started to talk about it a few weeks ago in my blog here, but since then my group has made a lot process on our midterm project. The goal of the project is to design a triangular shaped beach house located in Malibu, CA.

In the past few weeks we have been focusing on the architectural components of our house, specifically the layout of the rooms inside – we have to make sure the rooms fit together in a logical sequence. For example, having a dining room next to the living room makes sense, but having a bathroom with a door near the kitchen isn’t ideal. We also have to take into account components such as plumbing. Construction becomes much easier when rooms with water pipes, like bathrooms and kitchens, are at the edge of the wall so that the pipes only have to run through the exterior walls.

One major problem we ran into was the layout of our upstairs, where we have two bedrooms. Because the deck takes up a decent amount of space on the 2nd floor, we have limited space to fit the 2 bedrooms. We struggled to make both the bedrooms a rectangular size, while still fitting in a closet and bathroom for each bedroom. Finally, we decided to have one bathroom for both bedrooms that would be accessed from the hallway. This allowed the bedrooms to be larger and have a more rectangular shape.

Another problem we ran into was support for our large glazing. Because the property is located in Malibu, we wanted a large glass wall facing the ocean for stunning views. However, since we are required to construct our house out of shear walls, we needed a large diagonal wall on both sides of the glass to support it. This wall ended up cutting through where we wanted to place our downstairs bathroom, so we had to readjust and move our bathroom.

The downstairs bathroom after the added shear wall!

The downstairs bathroom after the added shear wall

Since we have finalized the architectural details, we are now moving to the structural side where we will compute numerous calculations. This week we started on our seismic calculations, as California is very prone to earthquakes! The whole project is due in three weeks so we have lots of work coming up. Check back in a few weeks to see the finished project! Fight on!

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Civil Engineering, Class of 2016, Learn more on her profile here!