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the design. The old southern Californian style of a house built around an internal courtyard presented itself as a good solution; this courtyard would form the focal point for visits from relatives and for playing with the children and grandchildren.

The site is at the corner of two streets, the east and south facades facing the road. A 5 x 3 m floodwater culvert crosses the site, thus preventing the provision of a basement garage. Therefore, the ground floor merely contains the entrance and the garages, all in reinforced concrete. The apartments themselves are located above this in three storeys. Entrance, communal rooms and connecting courtyards are concentrated in the corner of the building where the two residential wings meet. All 60 apartments are accessible via open walkways and although only small - each is only 50 m2 - all apartments receive daylight and ventilation from both sides.

The apartments are arranged thus: entrance, living area, dining area, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, with a row of built-in cupboards opposite the kitchen and bathroom, as is so common in the USA. All the apartments have balconies with different designs facing the street; each group of six apartments is combined to form a three-storey "cluster" which enlivens the facades and helps to disguise the fact that all the apartment layouts are identical. The building, completed in 1993, was well received by its new occupants. In fact, the common feeling expressed itself in the unanimous decision to convert the multipurpose room near the entrance into a chapel.

Structure | This is a structural timber-frame building which is characterized by the closely spaced, standardized timber beam-and-column construction. In general with buildings of one or two storeys height all structural members measure 2x4 inch (approx. 50/100 mm). With three storeys, however, larger sections (3x4 or 2 x 6 inch) must be used for the construction of the lower storey, as was the case with this building. Its layout is marked out on the concrete foundation, or rather the reinforced concrete slab over the garages, using standard 2x6 inch timber sole plates (approx. 50 x 150 mm) anchored to the concrete with steel bolts. The walls for the first floor are then built on these using 3x4 and 2x6 inch studs spaced at 40 cm, covered both sides with 16 mm plasterboard. The framework for the storey is completed with a head plate comprising two horizontal

2 x 4 or 2 x 6 inch members. The cavity is filled with insulation batts, and stiffening intermediate studs are incorporated if required. Fixed to the head plate is the ceiling construction consisting of 2 x 12 inch (50 x 300 mm) joists at 40 cm centres.

Owing to these very thin joists, 2x12 inch stiffening timbers must be provided at each end; likewise every 2.40 m (max.) within the span. An 18 mm plywood covering to the joists provides a stiff plate effect. This acts both as a backing for the floor construction and as a support for the walls of the next storey. The second and third storeys are constructed identically except that here 2x4 inch members are used. Apart from that, the lower supporting members are doubled, i.e. two 2x4 inch, owing to the thickness of the floor construction.

Instead of plasterboard the external walls have a layer of plywood to which the bituminous felt is nailed. The outer skin consists of a three-coat external rendering on a wire mesh. Remarkably, no internal vapour barrier is necessary for the external walls; in this climate the warmth comes mainly from the outside so that the thermal insulation is not subjected to any long-term and, hence, damaging water vapour from the inside. The walls separating the individual apartments are doubled with a 3 cm gap and only have plasterboard on the sides facing the rooms - a form of construction which is sufficient for sound insulation purposes in this case.

The flat roof is laid to a fall of about 1 in 25 and terminates on all sides behind the projecting parapets of the external walls. The loadbearing 2 x 10 inch joists follow the fall of the roof and are covered in 16 mm plywood and four layers of roofing felt. The plasterboard ceiling below the roof is attached to horizontal joists suspended from the roof joists. The 250-mm-thick thermal insulation is laid directly on the ceiling and there is no vapour barrier. The air space above the insulation is ventilated via grilles incorporated in the external walls with covers to protect against rain penetration. Exposed downpipes on the external walls are used for draining the roof. Spouts are laid through the parapets and over each an overflow pipe in case the spout should become blocked and also to enlarge the flow cross-section for the case of heavy rainfall.

The details of this structure more or less correspond to the Californian standard for timber-frame construction. It is interesting to see how the idea of Venturis "decorated shed" has been realized effortlessly here and how post-modern forms have arisen naturally out of the possibilities created by the timber-frame concept. This is especially evident in the projecting balconies. Perhaps post-modern architecture had its real roots in the timber designs of California and was then later transferred to other countries, somehow adapted for other materials and only in a formalistic sense.

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