new work – panama cabin

For the last several weeks I’ve been working on an interesting project – a 2 story cabin, with full basement, in Panama. Yes, Panama, the place with that really big canal thing that ships drive through.

A project that I originally placed a bid for via one of the popular freelancer websites only as consultation. The client was looking for someone to help them develop the project they had created in SketchUp to a point that could be then built. In looking over the model and talking with the client to get at the real scope of the project and what was going to be required to get it built, we found we worked well in talking with each other, so he asked me to do a set of 2D drawings and a 3D model of the project in SketchUp to be used as a tool for construction administration.

As I typically use SketchUp in such a way as to be only the necessary faces for interior and exterior renderings, this has been a bit of a challenge, but a good one. The home, or cabin, is 16′-0″ x 23′-4″ (cmu coursing). The main level is raised off grade about 3′-0″ and contains the main living space and a small bedroom/office as a possible future nursery.

Exterior Elevations - copyright 2012 r | one studio architecture

The basement contains the kitchen/dining area with a half bath and laundry room. The water heater and sump pump are located under the stair landing with access within the laundry room. Originally the client wanted the basement level to be completely closed, with no windows, but I convinced him that some kind of natural ventilation was necessary (there’s no central hvac) especially in such a temperate climate.

The master suite takes up the second floor and consists of a full bath, bedroom, 3 closets and a small office desk area. In order to make this second floor space more livable, the roof pitch is set at 12:9, which is a ridiculously steep roof, if I do say so myself. But it works, so whatever. 🙂

Building and Stair Section - copyright 2012 r | one studio architecture

I’ll post some interior and exterior renderings to the portfolio section once the finishes and colors have been worked out. Till then, as always, I welcome any comments and/or critique.


5 thoughts on “new work – panama cabin

  1. I’m interested to hear about which site you got that job through?
    I’ve always thought of it as such a great way to get work – but never heard of anyone having a good experience.
    My fear with that particular platform of job getting is that it ends up being a very capitalistic exchange rather than being about the relationship between client and architect – but you seem to have had some fairly fruitful interaction with the client (all via email / skype I assume?) – which is awesome.

    • Mark, thanks for your comments. This particular job I landed through I’ve had a fair amount of success with this and other sites. But then, I’ve also been taken for a ride a time or two as well. Most of these sites charge fees as a percentage of the contract amount awarded. This fee is charged at the time of acceptance of the project. If the client decides they don’t want to pay the retainer or simply not pay at all, you’re stuck paying that fee. This has happened twice in the last couple of months. Needless to say I don’t accept a project before the retainer has been funded and released.
      But, like I said, I’ve also had a good bit of success finding clients who understand the value of good design services, which have outweighed the negatives. I think mostly it’s a matter of properly outlining your scope in the proposal and making very clear how billing should work and sticking to that.
      And yes, communication with this client has been solely through email and skype video conferencing. It’s been a great project so far and is set to wrap up in the next couple of days at which time I’ll most likely be starting on two other small projects for the same client.

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