Friday, August 12, 2005

Phoenix or bust

Well as it turns out we've moved to Phoenix and the Spartan will be joining us later. It is unfortunate. I'll add the most recent photos soon. We didn't get it completely finished. The search for a place to park the Spartan will continue. I've looked into trailer parks and they don't appear to be an option. There are three criteria defining the three options for trailer parks. The first is that we be senior citizens. The second that our home be newer than 1975; during that time they redefined the mobile home. The third is that we be trashy. So we're looking for land that we can rent or maybe a house to buy; that would allow us to park the Spartan in the back and rent the house or use the Spartan for a guest house. That would be way in the future though. For now we will focus on our jobs.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

same as ours... well almost Posted by Hello

canyon de chelly

well i guess if architecture doesn't work out we can be rockstars Posted by Hello

plan b

Tuesday, June 07, 2005, 7:24:26 AM

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

the plan

the plan is that scott, who is finished working tomorrow, and i will finish up the Spartan in six weeks. we will then head out to Phoenix for a few days of interviewing, hopefully, and we will continue to the west coast. we will then travel north through LA, San Francisco, Portland, Eugene, Seattle, Vancouver. we'll head west to Toronto where I have a family reunion at the end of June and then down the east coast through wheeling wv, new york, pittsburg, dc and chapel hill . we'll swing back through Arkansas to pick up the Spartan and finish up in Phoenix in July.. right about the time it's warming up. We hope to visit everyone living on the coasts and hit up all the national parks in between. we'll see what happens... plans are just plans and reality never seems to follow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

here are a few photos. sorry it's taken so long.


emblem as painted by floyd against buffed panel

among friends

mom helps me put up the first of the insulation

as we found it

three weeks...

and we'll have it on the road


maybe a little longer than 3 weeks

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

detail: front window glass removed

Monday, November 15, 2004

1: strategies

3 weeks turned into 6 weeks and 6 weeks has turned into 9 months. We've decided to sit the winter out in Arkansas and remind ourselves why we've chosen the desert as our destination. Progress on the Spartan took a spiral downward as Scott went back to work for Marlon and I tired of riveting patches and installing rigid insulation.

2: exterior

If you are looking at the original pictures of the Spartan, the window unit is gone and the sawed off window frame is replaced by a fixed pane, the roof unit is replaced and the “chimney” is gone, the emblem at the front is yellow now and the section of aluminum it sits on is buffed thanks to Scott’s friend Floyd. The front window has a new gasket but still a gap (not that you can see the gap) as we are still trying to fit the curved plexi into shape. We know that originally the two curved pieces were plexi but we’re not sure these two are the original. The one on the left is giving us trouble so we may just recut it. A large gust of wind easily showed us that the aluminum of the front door is not the most structural of metals. There is a clasp to keep the door open but it must have slipped off letting the door slam shut breaking the lock and bending the aluminum. So that needs to be addressed. We’re thinking of a custom door but our original intent was to keep the exterior shell as pure as we can. We considered some paint schemes for awhile with the gentle coaxing of Floyd (he paints cars) but I think the only thing that we will paint is below the bottom runner. Someone felt a skirt was necessary and there are many holes in this section; our budget as of now allows putty and paint. Although at a later date we may replace the aluminum. So besides the door and a window I have to replace because I broke it the exterior just needs a slight buffing and a little paint.

3: interior

The floor now has a working surface. During the recent three weeks of torrential downpour I found that there were a few leaks in the seams. Turns out they were right in tech: water is our enemy. Hopefully I have solved that problem. Scott and I got a jump start this weekend on the insulation in the ceiling. We were able to use batt because the joists are 5 inches at their thickest point. In the walls I installed a layer of ½ inch rigid insulation that has a layer of aluminum on one side. I installed the aluminum side to the aluminum skin with a spacer to cut down on radiant and conductive heat respectively. And then I used a one inch R board that is extruded polystyrene with a layer of fiberglass on either side. As I said I dragged my ass on this because I was cutting around the electrical wires which we ran through holes designed in the aluminum studs. Once I make one last check for leaks we will be ready to start reskinning the interior.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


well we've striped the spartan from the inside out. all that remains are the 1.75in aluminum studs and the aluminum.. then the 5in aluminum joists. we've gone just down to the original tile which we'll seal before we put a working surface back on. we found about 20 ant colonies during the stripping process.. unless it was the same one moving from one eroded spot to the next. they're adaptive. and lots of spiders. oh i can't wait for the scorpians. so our next step is to seal the floor and walls and rewire the electricity. we're thinking of doing an on-demand water heater. they're more efficient and smaller but take lots of electricity initially so are more complex to wire. then we'll reinsulate and put on the finish walls and ceiling. we have the design more or less done. we'll keep the layout relatively the same. it's efficient.
we'll have some more pictures up soon hopefully.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

One for the Road

The past few nights we have stayed up extremely late perusing the internet for ideas of what the Spartan might have originally looked like. When these were new to the market, you had a few choices that one could make in purchasing your new trailercoach. The main difference we have seen during the research is the window number and location. We have yet to find an Imperial Mansion that has the same arrangement as ours.

When I was growing up and still to this day, my parents would go to auctions and buy things - many things: Big, small, vintage and even new (usually in mass quantities such as boxes full or trailers full). The items that were antique or vintage were always kept in the condition that they were found. There was an idea about preserving the old. Before I started architecture school I had come to the conclusion that this is how everything in the would should be treated. Buildings should be left in their original condition or preserved. If something were in need to be replaced then it should be replaced with something that copies the original. As my instruction in architecture increased, I quickly found out that there would be cases in design where what would have been preserved could compromise the design or keep it from being fully realized.

With the case of the Spartan we now find ourselves in a situation where we are posed with a set of rules. Some are original and some have been constructed according to a renovation that happened, as mentioned before, sometime in the mid 70’s. Neither one of us are in the mindset of attempting to restore the trailercoach to its pristine condition of 1955, but we are also not so blind as to try to understand and learn from what had existed before.

Monday, June 28, 2004

an image tells only a part


sweet as honey

Looks like we'll be around for a bit longer. We hoped we could have 'er cleaned up in two weeks... but we'll take 6 and hope that'll be enough. The carpet has to go, as does the bathroom. She lost some of 'er efficiency and beauty during a redo that we think by the sculpted shag was sometime in the 70s. We don't mind redoing the original birch. The aluminum frame and aluminum riveted wrapping around the entire body will be new to work with but I think we can figure it out. So we plan to head to Phoenix in September now. Maybe the heat will have risen out of the valley by then. And we'll search for a lot with a tree and a well. We're converting everything to electric so eventually we can use solar panels. Might as well do it up right.

76 | 80 begins

Jena and I did something completely radical today. After great consideration and time invested in researching ideas (one day to decide, 6 hours to research), we decided to start our first project and in turn our first residence.

We bought a Mansion. Portable. 43 Feet of Aluminum.