80 % of work is in the planning, 20 % of the work is in the making.

initial sketchInitial drawings of studio (Exterior)

In Japan, there is a saying “80 % of work is in the planning, 20 % of the work is in the making.” This could be said about any work and vocation, but in Architecture it is as evident and certain as our sky is blue and snow is cold.

What we envision and how we choose to carry out a project will determine the outcome. When I was a student attending Cornell University, architectural ideas and concepts were prioritized, but when it comes to actual practice, it is important to seek practical solutions utilizing the materials that are available and sustainable.

Sustainability is extremely important.

When we design at Yaitopale, we place a heavy emphasis on materiality and availability. Environmental cost is as important, if not more, than financial cost. As I mentioned earlier in my writings, what it good for our planet should also be better for our economy. This means building with the materials that are immediate to us will not only leave behind a smaller carbon footprint, but will also bring business, opportunity, and future possibilities to local industries. In the long run, it is better to work with people that are close, and to think about design and possibilities with materials that are immediate to us, for this mind set, process and community approach will help create a identity that is unique to the land.

The initial designs we made for our studio, and the final product is different. Architecture is designing with limits and conditions. Limits are aspect like cost, and conditions are aspects like site and climate. When it comes to renovation projects the physical condition of the building will also have a significant impact on the way things turn out. So our schematic drawings look different from what our final space ended up looking like.

We worked and built with reconstituted materials, b-grade lumber, and materials I obtained from the mountains. A close friend, architect, and designer, Kwang-Jae Kim, came and helped us out for a couple of weeks. His insight and sensitivity towards design and detail brought depth and cohesiveness to the space. A good friend and associate will always bring out the best in you. Kwang-Jae does not use any power tools. He sticks with the vernacular style of using hand tools.

KwangJaeKwang-Jae Kim working on the floor

As I mentioned earlier the way we choose to build is extremely important, and the sound that the carpenters make through the building process also have an influence to the final product. Although what we built was of personal interest, architecture has a large impact on the social and communal climate as well. If your site emits a sound that is gentle and pleasant, our neighbors will be at ease. Yet, with power tools and big machines, the sound is a pollutant that will be disturbing. The air quality and the sound quality also has a large impact on how your community will respond to what is made. Overall, sustainable architecture always emits a pleasant sound. Kwang-Jae’s presence was one of comfort and serenity.

Here on todays blog posts are some more photos taken during the construction period and some schematic drawings of our initial concepts.

sheyenSheyen S. Ikeda working on scaffolding - Photo by Kwang-Jae Kim

planPlan 1 FL
Plan 2nd FL

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