Craft and place

Material Information

Craft and place 3 case studies
Spine title:
Craft & place
Schenk, Don
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
40 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Workmanship -- Case studies ( lcsh )
Place (Philosophy) -- Case studies ( lcsh )
Place (Philosophy) ( fast )
Workmanship ( fast )
Case studies. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Case studies ( fast )


Statement of Responsibility:
Don Schenk.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
61134693 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A72 2002m S33 ( lcc )

Full Text
craft and place
3 case studies
don schenk
spring 2002
thesis committee
Joseph Juhasz
John Frankhouser
Julee Herdt

table of contents
definitions 1
a poetic response 2
case studies
place #1 4
a kitchen
place #2 12
a horse barn
place #3 24
a house

conventional Conforming to established practices or accepted standards. Unimaginative.
craft The art, skill, or attitude in a specified field or calling whose process brings an idea to fruition in a manner suggesting great care or ingenuity.
place A location where collaborative physical relationships unconsciously awaken feelings of nourishment.
architecture A comprehensive art form and the science of planning designing and constructing buildings in which human requirements and construction materials are related in a way that furnishes practical use as well as an aesthetic solution.

case studies

a poetic response
The purpose of these case studies is to show that there is a
relationship between the degree of craft and the quality of
The "crafting" of a "place" is a process that engages a conscious
production or arrangement of ideas, forms, colors, sounds,
movements, materials, etc., in an artistic way that connects the
traditions of the past, technology and wisdom of today, and
visions for the future. "Craft" explores what is and what is not in
harmony. In short, it is an attitude, an attitude that architecture
is a comprehensive art form.
With the increasing awareness and acceptance of "place" as a
basic human need, it is inevitable that the importance of "craft"
will only increase. No longer can it be presumed that people
will adapt to housing that caters only to regulations and
production, and not to spirit and dignity, because this type of
housing does not meet the exigencies of its inhabitants.
If one agrees with Frank Lloyd Wright's perspective that
architecture should take you somewhere beyond what is, it
would then follow that architecture should be imaginative and
have aesthetic value.
Imaginative architecture, the "art of architecture", is created
and crafted by the conscious use of skill, arising from the
experience of intuitive faculties, in the production or

place # 1
a kitchen

place # 1
description of project:
Design and build kitchen/family room renovation.
The original program called for updating the existing kitchen,
leaving the layout conventional, (fig. a) Because of the
location and the lifestyle of the clients, a new layout was
presented that incorporated the previously isolated kitchen,
into a larger area that would combine both the kitchen and the
family room.
The kitchen is the nucleus of the house, the center of daily life.
It should not be isolated, but rather embraced as the center of
activity. This approach opened up numerous possibilities and
was the first element that began the process of transforming a
conventional place into a "crafted place".
An understanding of their lifestyle was key to the success of
the layout that was finally "crafted", (fig. b) It met their unique
needs. (Their two primary uses for the space were food
preparation and hosting social gatherings.)
There was one major obstacle in bringing this plan to fruition:
the existing octagonal steel fireplace. Because of this the

crafted plan (rig t>)

# photographic views
conventional plan (rig a)

view #1

.1 '
view #4
vieui #3

place # 2
a horse barn

place # 2
description of project:
Planning and design of a horse barn to house:
four horses
tack room, feed room, vet room, and hayloft
horse run
While still in the conceptual stage, the crafting of this "place"
had already begun with the siting of the bam. The site was
adjacent to both city and county open space, and was highly
visible from a well-traveled road with scenic mountain views. It
was a given that the project would be highly scrutinized as it
went through site review of the planning department.
The initially selected site was denied for environmental
reasons. The decision was appealed. During the appeal
process, it was proved that this site was actually better than
the site the planning department requested. It had less
environmental impact because fewer trees had to be removed,
and less soil had to be moved (cut &fill). To lessen the visual
impact, it was set among the existing trees and additional
trees were to be added. The planning department agreed.

#3 >
# photographic views

view #2

Wcm #7

crofted stall
view #3

crofted born on site

place # 3
a home

place # 3
description of project:
Design, build, and specify interior architecture, amenities and
The original house, built in 1965, was a 6,500 sq.ft, single
story home with a flat roof. The roof had an electrical heating
system designed to melt any accumulation of snow. The system
failed, and sometime in the early 1980's an intersecting gable
roof was constructed over the existing roof. This created
approximately 4,700 sq.ft, of mostly unobstructed attic space.
The house was purchased out of foreclosure in 1994 by
speculators who planned to renovate and resell it.
Designing for the unknown offers the opportunity to be a little
freer in the process of problem solving, because specific needs
(both aesthetically and functionally) for specific clients do not
have to be addressed. Designing takes on a more general
approach to attract a wider audience of appreciation. It also
can be more difficult because the design has to be more
objective than subjective to attract this unknown audience. An
intuitive ratio has to be achieved for this goal to be reached.

role of the more massive, dominating wood representation of
trees. This entrance extended a warm greeting that expressed
the feeling that you were about to enter a special "place".
Other elements were added to support the outside to inside
concept. Slate was used for the flooring in the common areas. In
the entry, planters that actually went through the slate floor
were created for live plants and a water fountain. Wormy maple
wood (a grade of maple that has color streaks and defects)
was used though out the house to bring a casual elegance to
this vast living space.
The attention to just these two parts of the architectural whole,
moved the whole, to something more than it was originally
perceived to be.


view #4 detail

view #3 detoil

vieuu #1 detail


There is no doubt that "craft" affects "place". The more "craft",
the more spirited the "place". It is true that these uniquely
spirited "places" do become the building blocks of sustainable
communities. Just look at any city center, the spirited
architecture continues to exist. Connecting the traditions of the
past and the visions of the future.
It is also true that "crafted places" can be built with common
materials, conventional processes, and imagination. "Crafted
places" can be simple, and should be. Complex "craft" should
only be implemented when appropriate. The three case studies
presented here were all created this way. They may look
complicated, but in fact, simple to produce. If these projects
could be constructed, there is no reason that this process
cannot be implemented in projects of lesser or greater means
(cost). Projects that affect a greater number of the population.
There are two basic reasons that imaginative architecture is not
more widely practiced today. First, presently it is commonly
perceived that integrating meaningful aesthetic details in the
built environment is too costly, making financial rewards for
investment too small. Second, which goes hand-in-hand with
the first, is "perceived value". The built environment that
exhibits "craft" is perceived to cost more.