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New Compact House Designs Paperback – January 8, 1991
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From Library Journal
These plans are the winners from the second Compact House Design Competition, a juried contest receiving designs of up to 1250 square feet and with at least two bed rooms from North American architects, designers, and architecture students. Each design provides a floor plan, four elevations, a perspective, one wall section, and a site plan (though many designs have yet to actually be built). The houses vary greatly in cost, and range from classic to postmodern in style. The inadequate text provided means that one must be an able "print" interpreter in order to ferret out many of the good ideas and space-saving arrangements. Recommended for libraries with plan book browsers. The designs for winners of the first contest were presented in Compact House Book (Storey Communications, 1988).
- W.T. Johnston, formerly with Coastal Plain Regional Lib., Tifton, Ga.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
In 1990, Storey Communications sponsored the Compact House Design Competition, a juried contest open to architects, designers, and architecture students. From the numerous entries that were received from all over North America, professional architects Don Metz and Peter Woerner selected the best and most innovative designs to include in New Compact House Designs. Although the top three designs received cash awards, all 27 of the designs in this book are winners -- and each design illustrates a classic or contemporary approach to living gracefully in a small house.
The basic guidelines were clear: design a single-family house with a minimum of two bedrooms whose gross floor area does not exceed 1,250 square feet. Aside from these stipulations, almost anything went, and the broad spectrum of designs included in this book reflects the geographical and stylistic diversity of the winning entries -- from a classic New England farmhouse to a sophisticated postmodern design, from a New Mexican desert hacienda to a fanciful house with Elizabethan overtones.
The perfect idea book for current and future homeowners, New Compact House Designs will also appeal to anyone interested in architectural design. Each entry included in the book features a site drawing, floor plans, elevation and section drawings, judges' comments, and a complete description of the project. Addresses for architects and designers are also provided for readers interested in obtaining scale plans or more information on any particular house.
Top customer reviews
I sketch architectural floor plans as a hobby. I have hundreds of house plans I've drawn over the course of several years. This book contains at least a half dozen brilliant, solid, useable ideas that have spawned numerous considerations as my husband and I prepare to buy a piece of land and finally build our post-kids, small home for the next phase of our lives.
Any fan of small home designs will appreciate every plan within this book, and will probably find at least a couple favorites among them. If you're planning to build small, this is a great book to jump start your process.
This is an exact copy of a letter I received from Don Metz when I complained about the plans not being under 1250.
Dear Mr. Measuring Things Very Carefully,
Your letter was surely the most self-righteous, missing-the-point piece of work I've ever recieved. Frankly, it would please me no end if you did indeed become "very skeptical of any books that you or the other judges publish in the future because of what I perceive as incompetence." That way, I won't have to read another of your whiny little responses ever again. If you are so obsessed with measuring things, I suggest you try measuring your capacity to understand that the book is meant to feature and promote compact house design. What defines a compact house? Size, mostly. What size? Take your pick, Mr. Measuring Man. Small? Not big? Modest? Efficient? I couldn't care less if the houses featureed are a bit under or over the 1250 advertised -- and if your so-called "architectural background" had anything to do with anything other than the nit-picky measuring of things, (as if that were somehow crucial to the importance of architecture) -- you wouldn't either.
As for owing you an apology, I owe you nothing but my bemused contempt.
P.S. Any response to this letter will be deleted, unread.
While I admit that I did use the term incompetence, I should also point out that the inability to accurately measure a house in a competition with a square footage limit is, in my opinion, incompetent. So I feel it was justified. If curious, here is the letter I wrote.
I would prefer if Mr. Metz would contact me, because this comment is very specifically directed at him and therefore he can most accurately respond.
I own the title New Compact House Designs and have a major complaint.
I have an architecture background and am currently designing a house that when finished will be sub-1250 square feet. I purchased the book to give me some ideas about what I might do to squeeze the most out of the space. I was pleasantly surprised to see the winning design was very full featured. It was only when I attempted to apply some of the concepts in the house that I realized that it is not even close to 1250 square feet. The back cover of the book states that these houses had the following guideline: "design a single-family house with a minimum of two bedrooms whose gross floor area does not exceed 1250 square feet." Gross floor area is the covered area within the exterior edge of the exterior walls of a minimum ceiling height of 7'6" (typ.) not including areas that are open to the elements such as porches. I suspect that the winning house would not even qualify if you measured based on the interior of the exterior walls. The only way I think it can come close is if you subtract all the interior and exterior walls. I have not checked all of the other house plans, but I will be very curious to discover how many followed the requirements of the competition.
My questions are the following. 1) Why did you not check the designs to make sure they fit the size limit? 2) Do you plan on doing a second printing retracting those designs that failed to meet the size limits and ask that the ineligible winners return any sort of award they received? 3) Does this fiasco not shoot your whole small house attitude in the foot if you yourselves prefer larger houses and award larger houses instead of small houses in your own competition?
I will be very skeptical of any books that you or the other judges publish in the future because of what I perceive as incompetence. I think that you owe an apology to anybody who purchased this book and especially to the architects who submitted designs that followed the rules and lost.
I will be very curious to hear your response, and in the meantime I will very carefully measure the designs.
Just thought I would share my experiences with this editor.
I would not recommend it to those who want a typical small suburban tract house, or to those using Sunset plans, Home Planners, or Garlington House as a bench mark for modern style house plans.