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Our 2017 Best New Home Award goes to Matt Risinger and Eric Rauser of Risinger & Co. A skillful execution of building-science principles and the quest for a simple, long-lasting home allow a unique detail to shine: the framing. When Greg Heidel told us that he wanted to “simplify the systems” of his life, he was speaking our language. Greg is a single guy who had recently purchased an empty lot in East Austin, Texas, an up-and-coming neighborhood. He wanted to build a new house that supported his lifestyle. Greg spends his time volunteering and saving money to donate to causes that are important to him, so he didn’t want a house that would be expensive to heat and cool or one that would require a lot of time and money to maintain. We don’t design many homes — we’re building-science geeks, and we typically add our knowledge to other architects’ designs. But Greg offered us the opportunity to both design and build his house, weaving proven building science into the plan from the get-go. We had the perfect approach in mind.
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"It turns out that even the building inspector liked the idea that the wall cavities would be exposed. Because the cavities are not continuous between floors, the inspector saw the open walls as advantageous for fighting a fire, should one occur."
With all that wood to feed the flames, I would think the structural integrity of the first floor would be seriously compromised rapidly before the firefighters arrived and applied water. Whether or not the flames reach the second floor, how long will those "sweet" exposed burning first floor studs and joists be able to hold it up?
I would think a building department (and the insurance company) would want to see some realistic data on this type of construction.
Building Science should be based on experimental data, not opinion. Take two full scale two-story houses, one built using these new building techniques, and the other with full drywall. Set a fire on the first floor of each to see what happens during the realistic time before water is applied to them. Has this been done? If not, where's the science?
Hats off to the builders, especially for building without sheetrock, that great enemy of ambience. Using shiplap as the sheathing exposed to the interior instead of plywood or OSB was obviously pretty important to them. Framing exposed or not, shiplap, painted or left raw, deserves to be used a lot more for interior walls.
The interior design of a house needs to take into consideration what it would be like for the occupant, e.g. for reason of sickness or injury, to lay around for weeks or months looking at 4 sheetrock walls and a sheetrock ceiling.
I’d like to see more details on how they managed to hide the electrical and plumbing.
Is the foundation completely made of cement or just the perimeter and cement under piers and then filler?
How can members get more details - example how is home wired for plugs and ceiling lights with open walls ? Is there plans for sale when FHB publishes there winning homes?
Awesome ! The exposed framing is sweet guys, nice work.