Working with an Architect

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We spend a significant amount of time working on the finer details of our projects.  The end results are rewarding not just for ourselves, but also the end-users and owners of the buildings.  However, these details are not always just for looks.  Homes and commercial buildings today are implementing more and more building systems to help with life safety, building comfort, and overall sustainability.  All of these systems live behind the beautiful finishes and details that we create in our buildings.  Some of these details can require an immense amount of coordination to pull off well and each building will require different approaches to achieve the desired result.

In most of our custom homes, the goal is to heat or cool a space with little to no attention drawn to the ducts, pipes, and registers required for building.  Sometimes it is not as simple as just running a pipe or duct within a floor or ceiling space due to conflicts with the building structure.

In larger commercial building projects, we’ll use complex three-dimensional models of the building to help coordinate all of the required systems.  This allows us to spot potential conflicts ahead of construction and reduce problems in the field. The above images illustrate the coordination model produced during the design process to identify and eliminate conflicts between structural members and elements of the heating, air conditioning, fire protection, and plumbing systems.  The below photo shows how those pieces fit together in the field after installation.

Radiant heating systems, like those pictured above, are an extremely efficient way to heat a space, but these systems require some specialized details for flooring installation as well as finding a proper location for the required equipment. Establishing areas where those loops occur and making sure that we plan for the right amount of heating coil is especially important to ensure a comfortable space.

Coordinating the location of piping for plumbing fixtures can be especially difficult in some instances.  Due to structural beams and the required slope for pipes to properly drain, we’re sometimes limited in the ways that we can conceal the pipes. The result is a great looking bathroom shown below.

Photo by Rob Karosis

In larger buildings with bathrooms, showers and kitchen equipment in various places, these systems can become increasingly complex.

Pipes and ducts are not the only system components that can be hard to hide.  Electrical wiring can be a challenge as well whether it is due to larger wire sizes or an increased number of wires coming into one space.

While we often focus on eye-catching design, it’s these hidden, functional features that make a custom home or commercial space safe and comfortable. Taking great care to plan elements like pipes, ducts, wiring, and plumbing can make all the difference, and we’re just as committed to getting these details just right as we are to designing a beautiful space.

Considering a custom home of your own? Get in touch with us for a consultation.

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Renderings of a kitchen and living room design in progress.

Modern technology has made it easier than ever to design a custom home or building. We’ve previously shared how we use 3D renderings to help clients picture what a project will look like upon completion, and today we’re diving into the world of virtual reality. With VR technology, our team and clients can “step inside” of a space before it’s designed, allowing everyone to get a sense of what the design feels like, and make any necessary adjustments prior to construction.

VR technology originated in 1838, with stereoscopic viewers that use similar technological principals to what Google Cardboard and other phone-based VR headsets use today. Headsets and 3D environments were developed in the 1950s and 1960s, but advancements in the space stagnated due to a lack of technology to create realistic, visually appealing experiences. Now with improved graphics engines and software that allows for the creation of realistic 3D spaces, VR has seen a huge jump in use and people and companies are finding the field increasingly more and more popular and profitable.

We’ve been using VR at TMS Architects for a few years now to test out spaces during the design process, occasionally showing them to clients. Using our rendering program, Lumion, we have been able to make virtual 360 walkarounds and panoramas to send to clients to give them a VR experience without needing headsets. Coming into the office to put on a headset is a great experience but when that is not an option, 360 visualizers make it possible to locate the client or user within the space and allow them to see what the space feels like.

Panorama of the McIntyre remodel in Portsmouth

We recently used this when submitting for the McIntyre remodel in downtown Portsmouth, NH and created several panoramas of the outdoor spaces in order to allow the selection committees to better visualize what we had in mind for the project.

Rendering of a project in progress.

VR can also be extremely useful for troubleshooting and fine-tuning designs. While working with a client on an ongoing project, pictured above, she had some concerns about the stair layout and the ceiling height in the entryway. We were able to bring her into the office and place her into the model using our Oculus Rift headset and she was able to journey around her areas of concern. We then redesigned the stairs to make them a more comfortable experience, something that would have only been realized during construction using regular methods of representation. She was also able to see that the entryway celling height was just fine and wasn’t a cause for concern, giving her peace of mind with that area of the house.

VR is also useful for in-office design work by showing the architect and others working on the project any problem areas or clashes within the model. With the prevalence of 3D design software like Revit, buildings are being designed in three dimensions rather than two and issues with the model can occur. We have used the VR headset and other VR software to detect areas that are missing information, need additional attention to detail, or even find places where there are clashes between our model and the structural model provided by the structural engineers. All of this comes together to create a more sound, error-free design.

Virtual reality gives us the ability to showcase designs and streamline the building process as we’ve never been able to before. We’re glad to be able to use this technology to create a more cohesive experience for our team and our clients and are excited to see how it advances in the years to come. If you’re looking to get started on a new home or commercial building, we’ll bring both top-notch talent and technology to your project. Contact us today to get started!

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All great homes begin with a vision. When we begin working with a new client, one of our first and most important steps in the process is to translate their ideas and wishes into a visual rendering. This allows everyone involved to really get a sense of what the proposed design will look like, make any necessary adjustments, and decide on a design that’s just right before moving forward.

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The following amazing photo-realistic images were commissioned by TMS Architects to provide a client with a full understanding of the rather unconventional concept and design of cottages for their extended family and guests.  These renderings will be used as a visual reference for the homeowners, the contractor and the architect to develop construction documents for future construction and were provided to TMS by Jonn Kutyla of PiXate Creative

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September and October seem to be months in which the focus of many shelter magazines turns to kitchens.  Perhaps this is because we are coming inside from a summer of grills and outdoor living and realize that our kitchens might need some work!  As Bill Soupcoff, AIA, one of TMS’s principals always says…”It doesn’t matter whether a home is historic or modern; the kitchen is still the heart of the American home.” 

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As the saying goes, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But when it comes to designing your dream home, we know that the inside and outside are equally important. When you think about it, architecture and interior design go hand-in-hand if you’re looking to create a cohesive, functional, and beautiful spaces.

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As a New Hampshire based architecture firm, we have the pleasure of taking on projects in some of New England’s most beautiful and historic settings. This area is chock full of lush lakefronts, breathtaking coastal views, and idyllic downtown areas with centuries-old charm. When constructing a new building in a naturally beautiful setting, it just makes sense to take a cue from Mother Nature when it comes to design. Today, we’ll share some of our favorite designs that stand out by working with their natural surroundings.

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What kind of image do you conjure up when you think of a courtyard? Many people think only of the grandiose types that are found at mansions or public venues, resplendent with large fountains and lush gardens. In fact, courtyards are an under-utilized architectural detail that can change the whole look and feel of your home. Indoor & outdoor courtyards offer natural light and a sense of outdoor space regardless of where your home is situated.

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Many thanks to Selectwood, a wonderful building supply resource center in Portsmouth, NH, for featuring a TMS designed home in the Spring 2015 Builder’s Price Guide.  The project, A Seaside Renovation, was a collaborative project between TMS Architects, CM Ragusa Builders and, of course, the homeowners!

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Nothing quite compares to the rich tones and textures that reclaimed wood can bring to kitchen designs. Naturally beautiful and warm, reclaimed wood countertops can enhance the aesthetics of your kitchen while reducing your impact on the environment. Since no two pieces of wood are alike, you know you are getting a one-of-a-kind countertop with its own unique story. Not to mention, reclaimed and repurposed wood countertops can be just as beautiful as they are durable, functional, and environmentally-friendly.

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