If you are in the market for a new home heating system, consider radiant heat. These systems come in different configurations such as under or in-floor, or the traditional radiator variety. The most energy efficient and cost effective systems are water based – or “hydronic” systems. Going from an existing forced air furnace to a different system may seem exorbitant, but if you are in the midst of a home renovation and have the opportunity to reconfigure your heating system, it may be worth the effort.
Source: Fine Home Building.
If you do a quick Google search for 'Dog Architecture' there are two typical results. The first, epitomized in Fred Albert's book Barkitecture, are examples of extravagant dog houses, created with all of the creature comforts a well-loved canine companion deserves. The second are examples of off-leash dog parks, expertly integrated into beautiful landscape designs that are discretely fenced and free of poisonous plants. If you refine your search to 'Pet-Friendly Home Design', there are many articles discussing interior design issues such as flooring, furnishings and other elements to provide a comfortable, safe home for you pet. However, in addition to interior and landscape design, if you have the good fortune to renovate or build a new home, there are many pragmatic space planning considerations for the dog owner.
Planning opportunities include storage, maintenance and rest. Compared to a typical house cat, dogs – especially large breeds – have considerable more space requirements. If you love the look of contemporary, minimalist architecture, to achieve this the dog owner must ensure that everything has a place. This includes not only food and water dishes, leashes, mitts, and towels, but also designated areas for sleeping and cleaning. Solutions to these requirements vary from integrated millwork to designated rooms.
The Toronto Society of Architects (TSA) has introduced their 2011 line up of events, including their Urban Affairs Forum. The first of the 2011 season will be held Thursday, February 3rd, at the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto located at 14 Elm Street (two blocks north of the Dundas Street Subway, east of Yonge Street). The forum will "[discuss] ‘the media-cracy of design’. What is the role of media? How can/does design become a public debate? How is awareness generated and, does it matter? How does public perception (and media’s depiction) influence the design process + outcomes?"
The event will be moderated by the CBC's David Michael Lamb and include a panel composed of other architectural critics from around city. The TSA promises that the forum will generate a heated debate. For more information, visit the TSA's website.
When starting a renovation or new construction project, knowing where to start and who to ask for help can be confusing. While a contractor or home designer can modify or adapt at your request, architects are trained problem solvers who can provide design solutions that take many factors into consideration. These include both pragmatic elements such as the cost effective use of building materials and the integration of all building codes, as well as abstract ideas such as natural light and air quality. Architects will ask questions and gather information about your lifestyle and specific requirements. They are trained to recognize and anticipate your needs – even if you don't know how to express them. The success of this process relies on communication. Space creation is collaborative; your architect can't do it without you. For as much training as architects have, however; if you begin a project without having done any of your own research or investigation, the process is more difficult for the architect – and more costly for the client – as the architect will spend many hours trying to determine both your requirements and preferences.
To facilitate this process, you can do some homework. Below is a list of items to consider and collect. They will help your architect quickly get an idea of what you are looking for and also help the architect refine their fee proposal and their own research on your behalf.
An architect is more than someone to prepare permit drawings. They have extensive training that allows them to make recommendations for laying out spaces, material selection and construction processes. The Ontario Association of Architects provides an in-depth look at services architects can provide. Follow this link posted on the OAA's website.
Kate Harrison is a licensed architect and is the principal of KHA.