Details to Reality

Sometimes it is the little details that make a project great. Below are some of the details of the Aleen Steinberg Center in Dupont State Recreational Forest. Thank you very much to Eco Wise Construction for taking our details and making them a reality.

Compass Rose w/ Forest Service Emblem (All Wood FloorCraft)


Wainscoting Detail on Lower Level Classroom



Awning Detail on Lower Level



Railing Detail



Column Detail



Unique Mountain Home


We are excited to finally get to post some sketches of a mountain home we have been working on. The home will be in Woodfin, NC and will be taking full advantage of the amazing views the Asheville area has to offer.

The design of the home began with a careful site analysis, at both the large and small scale. Through aerial photos of surrounding terrain and multiple site visits, we pinpointed the best site lines. Siting the home in such a way to accent views along two adjacent valleys, we formed the floor plan and shape of the home. These site lines are emphasized by the two main structural walls of the home, creating visible weight and presence in almost every room of the home, and then serve as the main structural support for both levels and roof. The main floor of the home consists of a symmetrical floor plan with two master suites, kitchen & dining, garage, both private and public decks, and private gardens. The lower level consists of two guest suites, storage and the mechanical spaces.

The placement on the site and the structure of the building was specifically designed to disturb as little of the site as possible, running the length of the natural slope versus perpendicular, requiring large retaining walls/elevated facades. A thoughtfully placed foundation, serving as site retaining walls, along with angled structural supports project the residence lightly from the site. The prominent stone structural walls define the various living spaces within the home, while also providing an open floor plan throughout. The roof of the great room gently drapes between these two walls, with the exposed structure of the roof radiating from the entrance towards the window wall, drawing the eye towards the expansive views of the surrounding mountains from the moment you begin your approach to the home’s front door.

The facades of the home uses traditional mountain home materials and aesthetics. The exterior is board and batten and stone, of a various natural colors with a darker palette. The private gardens will have stone and metal low walls with decorative gates. Stone walls will gracefully enclose the front landscaping, all surrounding a water feature that will catch the cascading water from the central curved roof.

The rear of the home opens up to maximize the view. Large decks provide outdoor living spaces and are a natural extension of the floor plan. The angled structural components allow the decks to reach into the treetops without disturbing the ground below.

Best Architectural Designs of 2013

Every year the Design Museum of London holds the “Oscars” of the design world. They have several different categories that they cover, but of course Form & Function prefers the Architecture category. This years nominations have just been released.

My personal favorite is the  Astley Castle in Warwickshire, UK, by Witherford Watson Mann.

Photo: Witherford Watson Mann








I am kind of surprised that DOUGH Market didn’t make the list though 🙂

Happy National Women’s Day – Women in Architecture

Can you name these influential women in architecture. These women worked with and influenced architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and  Le Corbusier.  ArchDaily gives a wonderful summary of each of these women’s careers. Who is your favorite women architect or designer?

What it takes to become a Licensed Architect

Since I was a sophomore in high school I have known that I wanted to be an architect. (Thank goodness I stopped playing the trumpet and took a drafting class instead) I took every class related to drafting and architecture that my school had to offer plus lots of math and art courses.  Not that I knew exactly what that path would entail but I knew the basic road to my goal; college (BS & MArch), intern hours, exams, license. Sounds simple – right?

Currently I am an intern architect. Everybody knows a bit about what college can entail but not everybody knows what it takes beyond that point. Depending on the state that you live in and want to practice architecture in you have several options on how you proceed. All require intern hours and taking exams. I have chosen to go through NCARB. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, NCARB, is recognized in many states and countries. They also make keeping track of all of your hours fairly simple, and of course this is all done for a fee.

It takes approximately 3 to 5 years of interning to finish the Intern Development Program (IDP). We are required 5600 hours to complete IDP The hours are spread across, pre-design, design, project management, and practice management. These hours are periodically reviewed and approved by your supervisor to assure that you are correctly logging your hours.

At the magical number of 2000 hours you can begin taking your exams. But first you must prove that you have met the magical number by requesting  “authorization to test”. Sounds very formal, but it is a simple form mailed off to your local board of architects. Once you are authorized you may begin exams…this is currently where I am on my path. This is the only portion of my path that I have been dreading and from discussion with other intern architects, I am not alone. The idea of sitting down and studying is not appealing. The idea of paying $210 for 7, 4 to 6 hour long tests that are pass or fail is not appealing.


I have concluded that I just need to sign up for one and force the issue of studying. Luckily AIA Asheville has a wonderful service that it provides to its associates. They have a full set of the Kaplan Study guides available for check out. Not sure which exam I will start with but I am going to go and take the Beta Practice Tests that NCARB is offering on their website. At least this should give me some idea of what I am in for.

Once all of my exams are done and all of my hours have been met I send all of it to the board and in return they send me a pretty certificate saying that I am now a licensed architect. Of course if I actually want to practice architecture I must pay fees and such but that is par for the course with any professional profession.

My first year at Form & Function Architecture has taught me so much. In the up coming year my goal is to take at least two, hopefully three or four of my exams and continue earning all of my hours. So in about 2 years be looking for that title of “Architect” beside my name. I have been working towards that goal since I was 15. It has been a long but wonderful path.


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