Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Architecture of the Alabama Hills

So far on my travels, I've been surprised at the lack of contemporary architecture. Building seems to be strongly sentimental, making it difficult to discern old from new. Irby and Steve's hiking friend, retired architect Brian Webb, has created an exception for himself and his wife near Lone Pine.

Appearing to be of heavy masonry, its strong block forms are in fact built in lightweight construction to cope with earthquakes. Here are some of the features, in case you're curious:
  • 5.5" thick timber studs with bracing ply on the outside and inside
  • Rendered board externally
  • Heavy bulk insulation to wall cavities
  • Plasterboard internal wall linings
  • Double-glazed windows and doors
  • Polished concrete topping slab with colouring from sprinkled oxides - this sits over "bubblewrap"-type insulation and pipework for subfloor heating above a strong concrete raft slab.
Large windows to the west frame view of Mt Whitney, the highest point in continental USA at 4,418m while others look out to the Inyo Mountains, the play area of Irby, Steve and Brian.

We enjoyed the view from the comfy couches in Brian and Grace's open plan living room, while sipping delicious red wine and nibbling on blue cheese. I was slightly self-conciousl about the fact that I hadn't showered for 3 days and had plenty of desert dust on me but our hosts were very understanding.

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