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LottaLiving.com • Cliff May
Page 1 of 1

Cliff May

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:15 pm
by plancentric
FYI,

At Houseplans.com, the largest online source of stock architectural plans, we just launched several exclusive plans inspired by the work of Cliff May, and also prompted by my book Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House (Rizzoli, 2008). I included several in my blog at http://blog.houseplans.com -- scroll down to the posting for July 31, or go to www.houseplans.com and click on Exclusives. See what you think. I'd be interested in your feedback. Thanks.

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:39 pm
by Joe
considering Cliff May made a living suing builders who copied his plans, I am glad Mr. Faust did not copy his plans.

Overall, the Faust plan is pretty plain. vanilla. not exciting.

For me, what would be exciting: post and beam construction, modular design, floor to ceiling glass, glass gables, less square footage, economized plumbing.

Thanks for sharing, though. I look forward to seeing more.

Enjoyed the CM book.

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:03 pm
by egads
Well, my initial thoughts were: board and batten does not a Cliff May make. But the open living area is a nice touch, as is the covered patios. The sad truth is, current codes just do not allow some of the best elements of mid century design.

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:57 am
by Perks
I seem to recall stumbling across your site before, as those plans look strangely familiar. I will agree with the others who posted thus far and admit that the Faust design failed to wow me, although I do like elements of some of the La Vardera and Tyree plans. Some time ago I was considering buying a narrow urban lot and building a pre-fab that was very similar to the La Vardera Steel Case House. Thanks for sharing.

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:13 am
by scowsa

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:34 am
by travelteam
I think a couple of the new plans in the "ranch" category are exciting. I like 64-172 and 64-170 . They both seem to have a nice flow and connection to the outdoors. I didn't see those 2 in the "modern" category... maybe they should be filed there as well? It's also nice to see the "modern" category added.

The Only One

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:04 am
by modfan
I kinda like is La Vardera's Palo Alto but only if there's a fireplace to it and it needs some linen closets
He used to post here but not lately.

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:30 am
by egads
I'm not an architect so it's hard for me to be specific. And many elements are not impossible, just expensive. These plans have to pass muster in jurisdictions all over the country. So they are thus watered down. In any case, examples:

Low pitched roofs. One of the things that makes my May a May is it's low slung roof. While a couple of neighbors have been able to remodel and use the pitch, it required a lot of engineering and steel brackets.

There is no way you could have as many windows as I have now. Energy codes just don't allow it. When you see a new glass walled home, sometimes triple glazing has been necessary to get it passed. In California, walls of glass

So, what it comes down to is affordable. Anything can be done with enough money. But the plans linked here are supposed to be affordable.

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:00 am
by scowsa

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:20 pm
by Joe
there's really not that much glass in a Cliff May prefab home, especially when you break it up into the four part grid of a window wall panel. I am sure today's code would allow something pretty close to that particular design. One major issue are 6 inch thick walls of today compared to 4 inch wall construction of the 1950s. Meaning 4x4 posts would be to be 6x6.

I had a 600 sqft addition and 600 sqft separate garage, all post and beam on concrete slab in the spirit of the CM prefabs, designed by an architect. We specified it and bid it out. It was at about $110/sqft. Sure, this was an addition, not new construction. While it included a new heating system, it did not include new kitchen and bathrooms. These figures are from 2002.

I am confident I could design and build a ranch home, close to a Cliff May, Eichler, or Palmer & Krisel home for $150/sqft or less. What kills you is land costs and your finishes. Stay close to the original ideal and it can be done.

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:43 pm
by egads
There may not be that much glass in your model, but mine has so much glass I haven't wall space for my art collection. I have an entire corner that is all glass. (and all original) There's not much shear there. It's one of the biggest tragedies of Mandalay's destruction, that it would next to impossible to recreate. And let's not discount that there is not much old growth douglas fir for straight 4x12 (or even 4x14) beams. At least not enough for tracts of houses. Now I'm don't mean to be negative entirely. I would not mind a post and beam home made out of engineered lumber.

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:59 am
by Dan O.

Cliff May

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:44 am
by plancentric
Great discussion and helpful on the question of designing for current energy codes. (And thanks for the suggestion to move more plans into the Modern category at www.Houseplans.com.) I think Cliff May would have been a leader in energy-efficiency today, though it sounds odd to say this about someone who installed radiant heating in many of his patios to further dissolve the distinction between inside and outside...remember when gasoline was $.30 a gallon! (Not unlike John Lautner, a friend of Cliff and Jean May, who used a column of air instead of a wall of glass to separate interior and exterior in his Goldstein house.) When I interviewed Cliff, toward the end of his life, he talked a lot about the importance of proper sun orientation. And he was an inventor and constant tinkerer: photovoltaic panels would have been the perfect next spark for his imagination. Another climate conscious mid-century modernist worth studying is Honolulu's Val Ossipoff. Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff, Yale Press, 2007 provides an excellent introduction to his work.

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:00 am
by jesgord
On the topic of climate conscious architects, there is also Alfred Browning Parker. There is a nice piece about him in this summer's Modernism Magazine.


Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:56 am
by Stephen

Cliff May

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:16 am
by plancentric
Good eye! And that plan is on p. 129 of Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House. Disclaimer: I asked Rick Faust to take a look at it and several other May plans for inspiration.

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:27 am
by scowsa

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:56 am
by Miguel
I see Dan Tyree's plans ( http://www.houseplans.com/exclusive_hou ... hitect.asp ) as more in line with MCM principles, the indoor-outdoor transitions, the clerestory windows, the overall flow of the designs...
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http://www.houseplans.com/plan_details.asp?id=32267
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http://www.houseplans.com/plan_details.asp?id=32269

Re: Cliff May

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:54 am
by Joe

Re: The Only One

Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 8:19 pm
by lavardera

Hi everybody.

Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:03 pm
by dantyree
I've been reading everyone's thoughts on my plans. Thanks. I'm delighted to see so many people interested in Mid-Century modern house plans. I've just released 6 new modern plans. Check them out.

Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:30 pm
by bamalama
What a great discussion! It seems that my wack-o plan to build Neutra's Omega House when I win the lottery will be more complicated than I thought.