I’m happy to report that our first building, “The Gate House”, is 80% complete and is on-schedule for completion early next February 2011.
This building is a 24′ x 30′ steel building made from 100% recycled steel made in Peculiar, Missouri (insert joke here). It’s surrounded full-length on two sides by a 6′ awning to provide an extra 324 feet of covered outdoor living space.
Since cement is highly toxic to manufacture we chose a linked-pier foundation to dramatically minimize the amount needed. We steered far away from a slab foundation as they use a tremendous amount of concrete and seal off the soil effectively killing it. Plus, nothing is harder on your bones than walking on concrete; pretty much any kind of floor is better. We’ll be experimenting with various green flooring concepts, but right now an earthen floor is sounding practical.
In order to further minimize the environmental impact of this first building, we’ve customized the building with extensive sky-lights to virtually eliminate the need for daytime indoor lighting. Also, all of the building’s windows are salvaged, so they have already served for years in previous buildings.
We’re doing some fun and creative things to blend the building into the visual environment. Firstly, the building is rust, gold and green in color. Secondly, we’re supporting that awning with the antique cedar timbers that currently make up the tumble-down coral elsewhere on the ranch. We’re also building Spanish style low-walls around the building out of adobe (made from the local soil) and earthen plaster. We’ll also be adding plastered adobe-brick kiva fireplaces, bancos (adobe benches that protrude from walls), and nichos (small indentations within a wall in which potted plants will be placed).
The final look should beautifully blend into the scenery and be thematically correct and consistent with the unique and delightful New Mexico pueblo style found throughout the state.