Residential Design

Vol 4, 2017

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Page 9 of 79

EDITOR' TE What a year it's been. It feels like we've seen or experienced one catastrophe after another—hitting many of us quite literally where we live. As we put the finishing touches on this issue of the magazine, I reached out to the professionals we're featuring from Northern California wine country, where so much acreage is still on fire and so many precious lives have been lost. Fortunately, they and their properties are fine at this writing, and they're already starting to think about what's ahead. As I was working on this issue, I, too, had some setbacks. Atlanta, where I live, was hit by Hurricane Irma's residual force. It caused the first-ever tropical storm warning issued for the city, which is four hours away from any coast. We lost power, and a massive fallen oak tree blocked our road for two days. We consider ourselves lucky, compared to what happened to others. In June, my family visited a Caribbean paradise in the U.S. Virgin Islands called St. John. We met up with some friends who own a second home on the remote Coral Bay side of the island. Irma hit St. John as a Category 5 hurricane, devastating much of the fragile infrastructure there. It will take an untold amount of time before the island functions again for its residents and for the tourists who are the life's blood of the economy. We're told our friends' house is intact, but who knows when they can get to it again. Several days after Irma tore through Florida, bringing with it massive flooding, the AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (AIA CRAN) made the difficult decision to cancel its annual symposium, scheduled for Miami just a few days after Irma hit. A year's worth of very hard work by its leadership was shelved. Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Barbuda, St. Bart's, and many more. So many lives and property lost; so many disruptions profound and reverberating. Storms, floods, mudslides, cyclone winds. And now fires, spreading with explosive force through California and, before cooler weather hit, Wyoming and Montana. Those who've lost houses face tough decisions. Insurance, if they're lucky enough to have good coverage, will only pay to replace the house they had—flaws and all. Learnings from these disasters are not easily or cheaply applied to the next round of building, but they must be. In California, some houses had a fighting chance against the fires—metal roofs, stone walls, real stucco or metal exteriors constituted some of the resilient materials. On the islands, block and rebar were essential survival tools. These disasters challenge residential architects and custom builders to glean as much as they can about what helped and what harmed the buildings they built. It's a matter of health, safety, and welfare. It's a matter of life and death. S. Claire Conroy Editor-in-Chief Strong Medicine 10 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGAZINE.COM VOL. 4, 2017

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