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Sandpoint Architect's Journal - 400 Mile Per Gallon Architecture
400 Mile Per Gallon Architecture

Imagine you are considering the purchase of a new car that gets 40 miles to the gallon... when you learn about a similarly priced high performance alternative that is far better built, looks great, and runs 200 to 400 miles to the gallon, depending on your driving habits. It uses some German parts...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Passive House at a Glance
Passive House at a Glance

The term 'passive' in the context of passive house refers to the reduction or elimination of 'active' mechanical systems. There are many compelling reasons why this is a more intelligent and responsible way to build. Here is a quick list of benefits - in no particular order:- Increased comfort.- I...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - What Breed of Architect is for You?
What Breed of Architect is for You?

Pretty much by definition, embarking on a search for any professional to place your trust in is likely to be a little worrisome. The prospect of selecting and hiring an architect can be something of a challenge, for any number of reasons. On the chance you may be in this situation, or know someone w...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Rammed Earth Architecture
Rammed Earth Architecture

It comes as a surprise to many people to see an architect working in the Pacific Northwest designing and building with rammed earth, which is generally associated with very arid, hot climates and low tech, indigenous building traditions. I became interested in working with rammed earth as an unexpe...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Breathing Clean Indoor Air
Breathing Clean Indoor Air

Optimum interior air quality has become an increasingly prominent concern in our work. Passive house interior air quality is pristine because highly filtered fresh air is constantly being exchanged with the interior air. The passive house standard requires filtration systems that achieve a MERV (Min...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Perspectives: Knowledge vs. Wisdom
Perspectives: Knowledge vs. Wisdom

Architecture has the potential to be greatly enriched with an inclusive appreciation of both 'Western' ('European') and 'Eastern' ('Asian') perspectives. This is not to say that we favor Asian style, but rather, that we appreciate the contrasting character of Asian thought systems and what thos...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Proportions of the Particular
Proportions of the Particular

Questions of proportion span across philosophy, mathematics, science, history, and numerous aspects of art and architecture. Two opposing schools of thought about our understanding of reality recur in this context. One camp describes proportional systems as a means to better understand the harmonies...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Loss, Love, Architecture
Loss, Love, Architecture

"Architecture is not really about buildings, any more than poetry is about vowels."    Life is full of disappointments, small and large. Then there is loss in life, an entirely different matter. The former, time will surely reveal to be relative, perhaps even trivial; the latter is absolu...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Building and Car Pricepoints
Building and Car Pricepoints

"Design is usually not about luxury, but rather, making the best use of available resources for any given project."   Buildings and cars are both designed and created across a spectrum of price, from low-end to high. Buildings are very different from automobiles in important ways... build...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Carbon  Neutral Architecture
Carbon Neutral Architecture

The built environment is responsible for three fourths of annual global greenhouse gas emissions: buildings alone account for 39 percent.  Eliminating these emissions is the key to addressing climate change and meeting Paris Climate Agreement targets. The American Institute of A...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - High Performance Architecture Pays Big Dividends
High Performance Architecture Pays Big Dividends

Once we have a conceptual design solution that has been approved by a client, we typically provide them with a financial analysis of the costs and benefits of building to the passivhaus level of quality as opposed to simply building to current code minimums. "By building to passive house quality in...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Quality, Time and Cost
Quality, Time and Cost

Quality, time, and cost are the three legs supporting the metaphorical stool of project management. Good project managers constantly work to maximize the outcome for a project in each of these three realms. The most difficult aspect of this nonstop challenge is that each of these priorities c...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Advanced Design Technologies
Advanced Design Technologies

We design using cutting edge tools and technologies to create - truly - the highest quality environments for human habitation in the history of our species.  It's far beyond the incorporation of high technology in components of the buildings... the buildings themselves are technologic...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - HERS Index:  The Home Energy Rating System
HERS Index: The Home Energy Rating System

 The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is the industry standard by which a home's energy efficiency is measured.   HERS scores are designed for new homes (or homes after a complete renovation). When builders need to meet efficiency standards, they use the HERS Index, which has...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Design in Uncertain Times
Design in Uncertain Times

No one knows what twist of fate will materialize next week, or tomorrow, or even today. We live with a gnawing awareness that actions we take - or fail to take - now may have profound consequences that are often equally unpredictable.  What are the implications for architecture in this uncerta...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - The Path to Health and Happiness
The Path to Health and Happiness

Health and happiness cohabit in a powerful alliance. It is a close partnership; one does not fare well without the other. Neither just happens. Both require attention, both require work. To this simple rule, no exceptions are allowed, no excuses are granted. There are no shortcuts. Anything that ...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - The Meaning of 'Professional'
The Meaning of 'Professional'

The meanings of words shift over time. In the 13th century the word 'nice' meant foolish, or stupid. Today, the word 'professional' has been shifting to refer to pretty much anything done for money. But this erosion of meaning muddies the critical distinction embodied in the term. Professional&nb...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - My Mentor's Mentors
My Mentor's Mentors

"There is one timeless way of building. It is a thousand years old, and the same today as it has ever been. The great traditional buildings of the past, the villages and tents and temples in which man feels at home, have always been made by people who were very close to the center of this way. It is...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Terroir and Architecture
Terroir and Architecture

Our present position begins with the observation that people and cultures are defined by the balance they make between the general and the particular. We feel that in Western society this balance is in jeopardy. Mass culture is becoming so predominant that the local and the particular are becoming l...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Low Voltage Electrical Systems
Low Voltage Electrical Systems

This article is somewhat technically oriented, but it is also about the larger picture. Our design focus favors taking forward-looking, intelligent advantage of emerging but proven technologies. What we are doing 'under the hood' enhances our work with improved economies and performance - weaving t...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Why We Build Buildings Twice
Why We Build Buildings Twice

Before our projects are actually constructed on a site, they are built first in our studios, in a comprehensive computer model. Working closely with specialized experts in each of the disciplines involved, we model every system in the project... not just the architecture, but the lighting, plumbin...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Rammed Earth: Deep Green by Design
Rammed Earth: Deep Green by Design

A view of earth from space reveals a trace band of blue - our atmosphere - just visible across the sunlit edge of our planet. Below, eighty percent of the globe is coated by salt water but a fraction of the depth of that atmosphere. The remaining surface area rising just above the seas supports an...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Architecture and Water Vapor
Architecture and Water Vapor

  Water is one of the most powerful forces of nature, and one of the primary variables determining the durability and performance of buildings. Depending on the climate, regional building design responds directly to rain, snow, and ice, but another powerful form in which water interacts ...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - The Language of Mechanical Comfort Systems
The Language of Mechanical Comfort Systems

“Environmental control systems tend to be treated rather like the Cinderella of architecture; given only the plainest clothes to wear, they are relegated to a back room to do the drudgery that maintains the elegant lifestyle of the other sisters: light, form, structure, and so forth." ~ Lisa Hesch...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Art as a Way of Life
Art as a Way of Life

A quiet conversation with artist David Secrest in his studio and home in the Flathead Valley of Montana....

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - NOT Passive Solar
NOT Passive Solar

One of the most common misunderstandings we see about our high performance architecture is that we are preoccupied with passive solar design - which is actually something we don't have any particular interest in.  It's easy to see why this confusion happens: Passive House (or Passivhau...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Design for Aging
Design for Aging

We experience our environment in very different ways as we age. Too often, we fail to fully appreciate the importance of this simple but profoundly important reality.Architecture for the elderly is a distinctly different challenge that requires knowledge, awareness, appreciation, and emp...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Building A Timeless Wooden Boat
Building A Timeless Wooden Boat

"In my view, the connection with the processes of making continues to be seminal, and a wise architect today searches deep personal friendships with craftsmen, artisans and artists to reconnect his/her intellectualized world and thinking with the source of all true knowledge: The real world of mater...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Shading Data - No Guesses
Shading Data - No Guesses

One of the many aspects of site specific architectural design now standard practice in our pre-design research process is to acquire a forensic understanding of the shading conditions that will alter how our architecture will be exposed to the sun over the course of each year.Designing high perfor...

Sandpoint Architect's Journal - Passive House Northwest
Passive House Northwest

Sam Rodell Architects is featured prominently in the recently published book Passive House Northwest 2016, including several projects recently completed and currently underway and a brief overview of the firm:   "The work of Sam Rodell Architects is characterized primarily by thoughtful ...