The shed : designing and building : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)
As I near the completion of my undergraduate degree in Architecture, I am often asked if architecture is my future. I typically reply, "I don't know," and then continue with, "what I really need to do is design and build something — no bigger than a shed, and I think that will be the litmus test for my future as an architect or designer." I sense the need to move from 1/8" = 1'-0" to 1" = 1". The full-scale world is all I am concerned with. It is a world that was utterly neglected in my studies as an architecture student.Last autumn, alongside my Dad and a family friend, I helped assemble a Sears backyard shed that came as a kit of parts waiting to be formed into floors, walls and a roof. This particular kit of parts must have sat in our garage for over a year, but the pieces went up willingly enough, as it was only daylong project. Having followed the directions and making sure the end result looked as the diagrams indicated, we assumed we now had a shed to last. But, Kalamazoo — where my parents reside — is accustomed to regular snowfall in the winter months. The Sears shed must not have been designed for such regular snowfall, because within three months of assembling the shed, nature disassembled it, collapsing the roof under the weight of the snow. My opportunity had arrived.The following is a log documenting the construction of a new backyard shed. For most, a humble project; for me, a project infused with sentiment and introspection, concepts of beauty and ethics, and a chance to turn from a critic to a creator. Oh, to most who ever see this shed it will appear as nothing more than any familiar organization of brick and metal, a proper orientation of walls and a roof - nothing to even mark a memory in one's mind. But, I don't build for them.