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Dougie Do'ins

Living Remotely or Off Grid

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45 minutes ago, neko said:

"It's mostly rocks, man".
 

One of two large natural springs I found in the forest. Like walking on a giant sponge.

kWINkhX.jpg

 

1km of waterfront and a private bay.

yn8KXfq.jpg

 

View from rocky point

xPT2Q4f.jpg

 

View from another ridge in spring

RpaCNsT.jpg

 

Views above private bay in autumn - not a person for miles (except the wife)

s0Ezxxc.jpg

 

Mostly just rocks, Sunset 

AfHLie9.jpg

I'm really really jealous. 

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Started foraging for mushrooms last summer as well. Found over 15 different types (amongst all the rocks).

 

You can fill buckets with chantrelles in the summer.

 

Just make sure to pick out all the rocks (large rock on left for scale next to mushroom)

 

KqLYKuV.jpg

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Needed a bit of a laugh during these dark times, so decided to spend a few dollars on a 3D model of a grizzly bear to add some 'life' to the cottage design before presenting to the wife.

 

vYstOV6.jpg

 

Will post some more images soon.

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22 minutes ago, Paul said:

Is that your gaff? Fucking hell mate! Strugglin’ on...

I learned a good lesson many years ago - it's cheaper and easier to draw things than to build them.

 

It'll happen though. It's a simple box really - nothing too fancy.

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5 minutes ago, Colonel Bumcunt said:

Heard a helicopter overhead today. Couldn't be bothered to see what it was, we get a lot of helicopters here.

 

Turns out it was an Apache.  Brother in law sent me this pic he got....

2417c19a29974e96bc4623bbcf1eae5e.0.jpg

Nah, looks like a helicopter to me.

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13 minutes ago, Colonel Bumcunt said:

Heard a helicopter overhead today. Couldn't be bothered to see what it was, we get a lot of helicopters here.

 

Turns out it was an Apache.  Brother in law sent me this pic he got....

2417c19a29974e96bc4623bbcf1eae5e.0.jpg

You bastard I've got Ride of the Valkyries in my head now. Just walked out the kitchen whistling it. 

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On 17/06/2020 at 08:45, Karl_b said:

Involved in lots of high end residential? It's never been a sector I've got involved in, I don't have the stomach for it.

 

I get to work on some interesting projects, to be fair, and have had a varied and interesting career to date.

 

I tend to work on HE buildings (ha, not any more!), including big academic facilities, energy centres, a medical school (seeing bodies is fucking creepy) and research facilities, so have lived off that bubble for the last 5 years or so. We'd started to move in to other things, acknowledging that it doesn't last forever, but I've realised how much I miss working on housing, particularly social housing. I'd love to be doing Kundig-esque stuff but actually I'd be most at home trying to achieve even a fraction of what these guys do:

 

http://www.peterbarberarchitects.com/housing

 

Proper, community-lead housing with quality, robustness and decency. 

 

I'm off topic here.

Fantastic Karl. Love to see stuff that’s reflective of the times we live in rather than a dull pastiche of a long dead architectural period that nimby cunts and conservative planners think is desirable. There’s nothing more soul-destroying than seeing a new build that looks like something from 20/40/60 years ago.
 

Maybe my perceptions are wrong but it seems to me that so many new buildings have only one design criterion (build cost) which results is loads of bland shite being thrown up as quickly as possible for a fast buck. 

 

One of the things I most enjoy about really interesting contemporary architecture is seeing it in the context of the architecture from a different period in which it sits. I suppose, an obvious example would be The Louvre extension in Paris. The juxtaposition enhances both bits. 
 

Obviously, I’m no expert, but I know what I like and that is not what seems to be being built in this country most of the time. 

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3 hours ago, Colonel Bumcunt said:

That's grim. Where?

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 

 

And it’s still snowing. Saturday I was on the patio at the local getting a tan. It’s also called heart attack snow as it’s the heavy kind and people have coronaries shovelling the stuff. 

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3 hours ago, Nunavut Patrick said:

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 

 

And it’s still snowing. Saturday I was on the patio at the local getting a tan. It’s also called heart attack snow as it’s the heavy kind and people have coronaries shovelling the stuff. 

Snow is bad news.  It's nature warning you to move.  

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On 13/04/2021 at 07:38, Paul said:

Fantastic Karl. Love to see stuff that’s reflective of the times we live in rather than a dull pastiche of a long dead architectural period that nimby cunts and conservative planners think is desirable. There’s nothing more soul-destroying than seeing a new build that looks like something from 20/40/60 years ago.
 

Maybe my perceptions are wrong but it seems to me that so many new buildings have only one design criterion (build cost) which results is loads of bland shite being thrown up as quickly as possible for a fast buck. 

 

One of the things I most enjoy about really interesting contemporary architecture is seeing it in the context of the architecture from a different period in which it sits. I suppose, an obvious example would be The Louvre extension in Paris. The juxtaposition enhances both bits. 
 

Obviously, I’m no expert, but I know what I like and that is not what seems to be being built in this country most of the time. 

I'm not sure I can do this justice in a written form but here goes...

 

This isn't necessarily unique to architecture/construction but we were taught (and I still espouse) the principle that you can have any two of cost, speed or quality but always at the expense of the third. So, you can have something quick and of high quality but it'll cost. There are very few clients that don't want the cheapest possible solution but they also want the highest quality and shortest programme! 

 

A lot of what I do is for Universities and I've been lucky enough to work on some high value, high quality projects (4 major buildings are just completing or will be complete in the next 12 months after a lot of work in the last 5 years) and I'd make a good case that all of them have some unique qualities about them and clients that are willing to invest because they see the long term benefits. Those long term benefits are mostly two fold - how do they impact people over the building lifespan (eg do they have an impact on attainment and therefore attract/make better students) and how much do they cost to run over their whole life? As they own and manage the asset, as well as the capital needed, they can make long term decisions about operational costs and not just capital costs.

 

Not all sectors are like this. Commercial development - housing, student accommodation, retail - often isn't like this and capital costs are usually the primary driver. Build it, sell it, make a profit, let someone else worry about the future. 

 

Almost all design and construction contracts are awarded with a heavy bias on cost and not quality. Quite apart from the construction costs, architects, designers and consultants are in a constant competition and as an industry we've been racing to the bottom on fees for some time. Low fees mean we (the industry) want to do the bare minimum possible and usually in extremely tight timescales. This leaves little room for thorough investigation, development and creativity on projects. Again, this isn't all projects or sectors.

 

Cost isn't the only reason there's a lot of bad architecture about but it's a big part of it. Other things I'd point to include: a weak and underfunded planning system; the complexity of statutory regulations and building systems; a lack of experience amongst architects about actual construction methods; people being limited by the CAD tools they're using (the tools are good but people over-rely on them); and, frankly, poor and inconsiderate design. 

 

In my experience, and probably unsurprisingly, the best buildings are built by public/pseudo public institutions or those companies that care about people - it's easy to do amazing things with boatloads of cash (don't get me started on Bloomberg's building winning the Stirling Prize) but there are some wonderful schools, hospitals, social housing and University buildings out there with much smaller budgets.

 

I've lived my whole professional career as a TLW'er and my views have changed a lot in that time. Now, in my mid-30s (fucking hell) I've reached a point where I have enough experience and integrity, whilst still a relative youngster, to start forging my own path. I've spent a long time thinking about this over the last 18 months and I can see a significant shift coming in our approach to the built environment that really excites me.

 

We have no choice but to build net-zero carbon buildings. Most of the focus has been on their operational energy/carbon, which is becoming easier and easier to achieve, but we've long neglected the impact the actual construction has, in terms of energy, carbon and the depletion of natural materials. This is a whole other discussion but it means that we need to start thinking more closely about the whole life impacts of every building, not just on those with informed clients. This means designing buildings to last, in every facet of its meaning. This is changing rapidly in the public sector and legislation will soon be brought in demanding embodied carbon assessments as part of the statutory approvals process. My hope is that this leads to better decision making and the creation of better buildings that are designed to last. Peter Barber's practice are an example of just this - great sustainable, people focused, contextual architecture.

 

Sorry - a long, windy (and late) reply but I wanted to give this a proper response. Still not sure I've achieved that!

 

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Nice one mate. Thanks for that. Why do you think so many new builds are so aesthetically bland, in the context of what you’ve just said? Is it simply the cost/speed factor? Build what we know because it’s cheaper and quicker? If so, that’s where, for me, planners need to intervene more. My perception is that they restrict new and interesting architecture though.  

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A combination of all the above, in a round-about way but familiar, cheap and quick to build systems with low risk are definitely the default. A lot of construction, and certainly commercial development, is "design and build" meaning the contractor is often responsible for completing the design post-planning. They'll have tendered the job at a certain price and will then do everything they can, rightly, to deliver to that cost and make a profit, so they choose cheap materials and effectively dictate the design.

 

Planning is an issue but it's [mostly] not because of individual Authorities or personnel, the framework is the issue. The National Planning Policy Framework has a presumption in favour of development and aesthetics aren't a very strong justification to refuse an application; it's economic development above all else. Couple that with the decimation of local authorities in general and the decades of cute they've had to make to their in-house Planning teams and it leads to a lack of experienced officers who don't have the time to challenge applications in the way that they'd like to, if the NPPF even allowed it. The planning issue is systemic, I mostly find planners open to good, interesting, contextual architecture but their hands are very often tied; it's a bit of a thankless job and I have great sympathy for them. Architectural horror shows can quite easily meet all relevant "objective" planning policy that mean "subjective" views on aesthetics are less important, unfortunately. 

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Well said Karl, but maybe this discussion should be in the Architecture thread ?

 

I would sum up your frustration (and mine before I quit the industry) that unfortunately there are too many people with too many other interests involved in creating buildings who simply don't share your values or respect your knowledge and experience.

 

The longer you work in the profession, the more cynical and jaded you'll become.

 

Buy some land and build your own house off-grid. You'll feel much better.

 

edit: it's great that you've found your passion. Sorry to be such a downer.

 

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5 hours ago, neko said:

Well said Karl, but maybe this discussion should be in the Architecture thread ?

 

I would sum up your frustration (and mine before I quit the industry) that unfortunately there are too many people with too many other interests involved in creating buildings who simply don't share your values or respect your knowledge and experience.

 

The longer you work in the profession, the more cynical and jaded you'll become.

 

Buy some land and build your own house off-grid. You'll feel much better.

 

edit: it's great that you've found your passion. Sorry to be such a downer.

 

Yeah, should probably take it over to the Architecture thread! 

 

Don't apologise though, I'm still not entirely convinced this is the career for me! I'm passionate about it but frustrated in equal amounts. I'm very fortunate that I've been given good opportunities with informed clients on interesting projects but I hate a lot of what happens in business and industry to be fully content. 

 

Still working towards that self-sustaining, off-grid lifestyle though! I may actually have some land to investigate further.

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On 14/04/2021 at 08:53, Karl_b said:

 

Almost all design and construction contracts are awarded with a heavy bias on cost and not quality. Quite apart from the construction costs, architects, designers and consultants are in a constant competition and as an industry we've been racing to the bottom on fees for some time. Low fees mean we (the industry) want to do the bare minimum possible and usually in extremely tight timescales. This leaves little room for thorough investigation, development and creativity on projects. Again, this isn't all projects or sectors.

 

Cost isn't the only reason there's a lot of bad architecture about but it's a big part of it. Other things I'd point to include: a weak and underfunded planning system; the complexity of statutory regulations and building systems; a lack of experience amongst architects about actual construction methods; people being limited by the CAD tools they're using (the tools are good but people over-rely on them); and, frankly, poor and inconsiderate design. 

 

In my last proper job we used to design and supply Fire Alarm and AOV kit, almost the entire industry did the same with the race to the bottom, getting stuff made in China that was barely functional and every job being run to the bone to milk as much money out of it by doing the bare minimum.

 

The bolded parts seem to be a common theme across a lot of industries. I'm doing a Mechanical Engineering degree now, I had been doing an integrated Masters but I'm dropping to Bachelors as the degree is a complete waste of time. All they are bothered about is churning out degrees, myself and the one other mature student wipe the floor with anyone else on every project/assignment. However, whenever we raise issues about the course the entire faculty is baffled and the response is always a variant on "but you've got the highest scores" because their entire mindset is that it's about scores and passing rather than learning.

 

The fresh out of high school kids are all really good at the maths side of things (certainly a million times more capable than I am) but none of them can design a bloody thing. We had to make a prototype car as a scale model and then race them against the clock, we made the only one that went in a straight line, mainly because we used bearings and they were all amazed and couldn't figure out how we knew you needed bearings. 

 

None of them seem to have done simple stuff like maintaining their bikes as kids or that kind of thing. I don't think a single one of them has held a spanner before.

 

When you press them as to why they want to be an engineer it usually seems to boil down to "it's a good job", rather than any specific desire or interest. I suspect that may be the same with some in the architecture field?

 

The main thing that has thrown me though is how poor they are at the IT side of things, partially that over reliance on the software that you mention, alongside the lack of physical experience means they can't see results are inaccurate i.e. we did an FEA module and they couldn't see that the results didn't match what you'd expect just from having experience of bending metal. 

 

Even though I grew up first messing around with Spectrums, including doing "Hello World" when I was probably about 8 years old or something and have done programming in the past I really thought the kids should be better with that side than me as it's been there for their entire lives. But they have really struggled to learn any software and complained about the "programming" being too hard on projects which are really just based in relatively simple markup. 

 

Sorry, I've veered off a little. TLDR: Mechanical Engineering is fucked as well. 

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Do architects tend to think about buildings being both multi use and the prospect of adding on to them in the future? That could,possibly,make things cheaper and more efficient?(a subjective word I know these days.)

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