Autistic Philosophy, 6 – If I Had a Hammer

Philosophy of house design, surely I must be joking! No I am not. I have designed several custom homes, and have employed a substantial philosophy in the design process. Indeed, I use philosophy on two different levels during any building design, whether home or commercial. The actual design will be philosophy made sufficiently real as to be used as a guide to actual construction: which is to say that this is the Professed Philosophy which will be used to guide the actions of construction; which is the Operational Philosophy. To arrive at that compleat set of drawings, I will use my meta philosophy as a guide to producing that Professed Philosophy! That is a lot of fifty dollar words! Here are some, not all of my house design points of philosophy:
1. It isn’t my house! The job is to make the client happy. I should get my ego out of it.
2. Except in that I can take an ego satisfaction from a satisfied client.
3. However, I should advise. It will not be my house; I will neither pay for it nor live in it. However, I have done this job before. I should make my practical experience available to each client.
4. The house must be producible. I should always wonder: ”How will the contractor build this?”
5. The house must be legal. No need to design a house that will not meet plan inspection requirements.
6. The house should be affordable. Do not add any cost unless the thing that adds cost truly is needed, or hugely desired.
7. The house should be usable. Do not waste space. Do not leave out greatly needed features. The house is a machine that someone will live in, if the house fails to work for them then they are working for the house.
8. The house should be usable. We all will be disabled some day. Plan for this.
9. Good enough isn’t. Anyone can design a house – poorly. Great is just about good enough.
10. Add niceties. Some things add no cost at all. Being able to soak in a tub without staring at a toilet need not add a dollar to the cost. Many such features require cleverness, not the brute force of additional floor space and cost.
11. Plan for real world use: people will walk through here, vacuum this, sweep that, paint something else, and all this space must be heated.
12. Plan for the future. Sure, solar is not a part of the house as it will initially be built, but what about twenty years from now? Design for upgrades and flexibility.
13. Be conservative in engineering. I do not want the building to hurt anyone!
14. Draw so that plan inspectors, site inspectors, contractors can build from drawings without ever meeting me! Make it compleat.
15. Think long term. How can this roof be repaired? Is there good access to the furnace for repair? For replacement?
16. Learn from experience. Is there a new material available? Has the government of jurisdiction altered procedure or demands?
That is a lot of stuff writ on my black board. There is more related to design of a house than that! In setting up a meta philosophy, one must consider the purpose of the philosophy to be generated as it will direct actions in the real world. One will, rationally, proceed from Meta philosophy to Professed, to Operational, and then to actions.
Whether this process is to be set in motion within a circumscribed and local region of life such as the design of a house, or within the largest territory of all, the design of a you, the process is the same. Start at the beginning and then move forward – one step at a time. Understand the process before starting it. Things are probably about to get fun!
BTW: there is a component of this process that I have not done well, ever, and which I will discuss later!

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2 Responses to Autistic Philosophy, 6 – If I Had a Hammer

  1. david iverson says:

    hi laura,
    here’s a website for people to discuss physics that i thought you might want to check out:

    http://www.physicsforums.com/

    take care,
    david (caregiver/trainer at rusty’s)

  2. Chip says:

    Damn I wish more engineers thought like you ! Especially Ford engineers !! (Sorry, when I get an honest chance I do tend to slam on Ford, since my attempt to change a water pump on a compact)

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