Gary Walker | Gallery | ARCHITECTURE | Atrium Tower w/Explanation below

Atrium Tower w/Explanation below

Over the many years I have remodeled many homes, some old, some new, on both coasts.  The photos in this album features a custom home I personally designed and built. The challenge in this case was how do I connect an older 1950s single story style home with a large new addition. 

After employing the services of a well known architect and not liking any of his ideas, I decided to take the design challenge on myself.  My solution came in the form of a three story atrium tower I designed to connect the original single story older home with the new two story addition.

The other challenge for me was what shape would I use for the connecting atrium tower.  After considering square, rectuangular and conical shapes, I came upon the idea to design and build a six sided  structure after studying the shape of a large crystal, which was six sided. 

After working out the concept of the oblique angles which this shape called for and also cantelivering a part of this new atrium tower over the roof of the existing older structure, I took all my ideas to a structural engineer to work out the necessary calculations which he subsequently certified which then allowed me to get the necessary permits to build such a structure.

For this design I used maximum glazing (window space), 2x6 exterior construction to thicker walls and deeper window reveals and designed a large 8x8x8 skylight at the top of the tower to pull in additional light and from which I hung a large chandelier. 

I also had the idea to view the top of the tower as a 'diadem' or crown and to make this a reality, I found twelve antique stained glass windows that came out of an old estate in England and symetrically placed them at the top of the tower in such a way that as the sun rotated around the tower, it pulverized the inside with colored light from these stained glass windows, thus giving off a beautiful glow.

I also designed a complex chevron pattern of structural (load bearing beams) at the roof the the tower, that were not only practical and necessary to hold the roof up but also interesting to behold.

I used only natural materials throughout, including solid Walnut and Brazilian Cherry wood planking for floors and stair system (along with wrought iron I had fabricated) which I designed and Rainforest Marble from India for the floors.  I was able to find solid core Mahogany and Alder wood doors from a building recycler, which complimented my design.

For added visual interest and scaling, I was able to employ oblique angles along side arches and right angles and used various ceiling heights to give added spatial interest to the overall finished product.

While I'm not a licensed AIA architect, I have studied and admired architecture and great architects my entire life, which is why I no doubt felt confident and comfortable taking on such a challenge.

Subsequent to completing this project, I had a well known architect friend come view it.  Upon touring the structure he asked me what architect I had used to design such a beautiful and complex building.  When I told him I did not use a professional architect, but that I had done every phase of the design and construction, he was rather stunned.  He said it was one of the most creative and intersting designs he'd ever seen.

This building incorporates many classic and cutting edge design and engineering principles and techniques and I found it to be a fun and challenging creative project and undertaking.

Gary Walker, Building Designer/Architect and Contractor

Camera Maker:Canon
Camera Model:Canon PowerShot A1100 IS
Original Time Taken:2010:09:19 09:31:52
Shutter Speed:1/100 sec
ISO Sensitivity:160
Exposure Compensation:0 EV
Metering Mode:Pattern
Flash Fired:No Flash
Focal Length:6.2 mm

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