A real pile driver at work

September 27, 2014. By Ryan. 0 comment(s).

A steel pier and beam system will carry the house on the Guadalupe River. Because of soil conditions and the requirement to build the first floor 2' above the floodplain, we are using 7" diameter pile driven steel piers. They come in various lengths approximately 40' long and get driven into the ground using a crane and pneumatic driven 4000 lb weight.

Piers arrive on site (TX Pile is doing the work)

Caps are welded onto the bottom of each pile

A little steel pier surfing on their way to location.

And the first pier goes in!

 Watch the Pile Driver in action:

Design progress for HousOffice

September 22, 2014. By Ryan. 0 comment(s).
Design and construction of our house/office renovation is progressing again after a brief haitus. We'll be finalizing and rolling out design concepts with hopes to start renovating again in October. 
The front of the house will serve as office. We intend to compliment the existing materials in a fashion that makes sense for a contemporary design office.




Construction Begins on Guadalupe River House

September 13, 2014. By Ryan. 1 comment(s).

We've got a couple of design/build projects going on at the moment and we are very excited to start building the River House in New Braunfels. We started prepping the site for construction in early August and now are waiting for the pile driven pier contractor to arrive. The house is sited to weave through a cluster of trees, minimizing the amount of clearing required while still taking advantage of views to the river. 








Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Challenge Award

April 8, 2014. By dk. 1 comment(s).

Low Design Office has received a Centennial Innovation Challenge Award from the Rockefeller Foundation for the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform, "in support of the design, testing and implementation of a physical and digital platform that would enable young e-waste workers in Ghana to collaboratively create tools to transform e-waste materials and recyclable goods into products that could be sold for higher value." LOWDO Principal DK Osseo-Asare and Dr. Yasmine Abbas, Professeur Associé at l'Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris and Director of Pan-Urban Intelligence, an urban strategic design consultancy, are co-leads on the project.

Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP) is a collaborative project to upgrade the quality of life and environment at Agbogbloshie, the largest e-waste processing site in Ghana and the "worst polluted" place on Earth for 2013, according to Green Cross Switzerland and the Blacksmith Institute.

AMP contends that (domains of) architecture and electronics have converged. At such a moment -- if we can make open, democratic and collective the capability of manipulating materials from the level of chemistry up, by means of digital technology -- we can move beyond the notion of “e-waste”. Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE or 3E), old or new, constitute a vital stream of raw material for the global production chain. In particular, while there is fundamental overlap with the elemental “stuff” of digital space, it is equally important to note that the majority of EEE materials are generally recyclable such as plastics, steel, aluminum, copper, or other specialized or high-value materials.

The project seeks to create an alternate convention that links Agbogbloshie's e-waste, scrap & recycling industry with the technical know-how and social entrepreneurial framework to itself remake the landscape, over time. The approach is to design and build locally a knowledge database and set of tools for e-waste processing and digital fabrication. The intention is to empower informal sector e-waste workers and their peer groups to rehabilitate the environment of Agbogbloshie and to help green the community's current recycling practices. The short-term goal is to design and build a makerspace for the hyper-local context of Agbogbloshie, together with an open-source technology platform to support its operation. The long-term goal is to transform Agbogbloshie's e-waste and scrap industry into a network for more advanced materials processing and small-scale distributed manufacturing.

Participants in AMP work collectively to make & gain exposure to new horizons of digital fabrication, with potential for contributing to youth employment and advancement of Ghana’s maker community. To develop AMP, makers conduct a series of maker workshops (qamp or "camps"), ranging from design research to fieldwork, community outreach and workshops with stakeholders for e-waste dismantling, materials processing and prototyping solutions.

Refer to the project website for more information: http://qamp.net/

the LowDO housoffice | revealing the past

November 15, 2013. By ashley. 0 comment(s).

LowDO is slowly but steadily transforming its Southtown San Antonio location into a vibrant office space. In doing so, we want to create an inspirational office environment that celebrates the historic nature of the 1907 building that we are renovating.

The "Beauregard House" has, in its 100+ years on this site (one mile south of the Alamo), functioned as a private home, a multi-resident apartment building, a bed+breakfast, and most recently the crashpad/workspace for some software developers. While the building hasn't always received much TLC, it does have a remarkable set of remnants from these various stages of existence. So before we act as designers, we get to play the role of archeologists, uncovering clues about the past of this soon-to-be LowDO living+working housoffice.

Peeling carpet back to reveal where an outdoor porch was added-onto in order to form an enclosed dining room. Peeling drywall off to reveal various layers of paint and wallpaper on cedar shiplap.

Walls that have been opened, closed, opened and closed again. The wood pattern suggests windows that originally existed were removed in favor of closing them and inserting a door, which later was also closed off. We have uncovered three brick chimneys in the house; those and the transom windows above the doors represent some of the strategies for passive climate control that kept this house livable for most of the past 100 years (and still do, until we install an HVAC system). We have no idea what the square opening in the wall (that the yellow ladder is resting against) at the upper level was for, other than aethetic value.

We may never have the answers to some burning questions about the house, such as, "What year are these soda cans from?" (They were found among the studs in the walls.)

The house has its fair share of quirks and surprises, but it also has an incredible richness of material layered into its architecture. We look forward to utilizing these existing materials in concert with new (experimental?) finishes and details.

But before we start adding...we have some subtracting (delicate editing really) to do. Next up: three walls and half a floor come down.