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The versatility of Pole Frame enables buildings to be constructed which are economical, environmentally sound, energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing, harmonious and empowering
Series 6-1 (Warrandyte, Vic) Series 6-7b (Warragul, Vic)
Most modern Australian houses have a monotonous degree of uniformity about them. They are a product of our socio-economic values. They reflect our capitulation to conformity and to our role as consumers in a system of bureaucratic control, manufactured materials and mass production techniques. We see the same style of house being built in suburban or country areas with scant regard to their visual or practical relationship with their environment.
ECOLOGICAL & BIOLOGICAL COMPATIBILITY
Using the Pole Frame principle of columns and beams, and by careful choice of materials and geometric form, it is possible to construct buildings which suitably blend with any landscape. Using materials which have a natural beauty and warmth, such as wood, earth and stone, and incorporating them into a spatial arrangement which reflects our vibrational essence, we can both fulfil our personal needs and embody our connection with nature. The 3-dimensional flexibility of pole frame enables me to incorporate into my houses the basic building blocks from which plants and minerals evolve out of their cellular structures into complex and beautiful objects. These building blocks are basic geometric patterns which also represent principles of universal harmony, and symbolized within them are the elements which determine the evolution of consciousness. The resulting pervading energy experienced by those who enter these buildings is simultaneous peace and stimulation. This happens because there is a resonance occurring, a recognition of compatible vibrations at the cellular level which translates through to the emotional and mental levels. (See my essays "The Nurturing House" and "Sacred Geometry in Buildings")
WHAT IS POLE FRAME?
The main structural element of a pole frame building is the column, usually a round pole chosen for its durability and set into the ground encased in a concrete footing. The number of poles used depends on the size of the building, its geometry, and the spanning capacity of the materials used for constructing floors and roofs. Floor bearers and roof beams are bolted or screwed to the poles at the desired levels and angles. These provide support to floor joists, rafters and purlins, which in turn support flooring, ceilings and roof coverings. Walls are generally non load bearing, acting as partitions and enclosures, and are the last parts of the building to be constructed. Light weight materials such as timber weatherboards or sheet panelling on a light timber frame are most commonly used for walls which are suspended from the building frame. Straw bales, which have good insulation qualities, can also be used as suspended walls. Masonry walls can be used (mud brick, block, and stone are options), but these necessitate the construction of supporting strip footings at ground level. The steepness of the site may be the determining factor when deciding whether to use timber or masonry walls, and whether to use suspended timber floors or concrete slab.
Series 8-1a (This 3D graphic shows how a pole house can be designed to suit a steep site with cross fall)
IDEAL FOR STEEP SITES, GREAT ON LEVEL SITES
It makes environmental sense to build on marginal or steeply sloping land, and retain more fertile flat land for agriculture, horticulture and recreational use. Pole frame construction enables the floors of a building to be stepped up or down a slope without any excavation other than for the pole footings. Not only does this reduce building costs by minimizing expensive excavation and concrete strip (trench) footings, but it can greatly enhance the opportunities for innovative design. However, such is the versatility of pole frame, that it is possible to construct far more innovative and exciting buildings on level sites than would be possible using conventional load bearing wall construction.
Series 13-1 (Sawmill Settlement, Victoria)
Series 4-6 (Jindabyne, NSW)
EASE OF CONSTRUCTION
Pole frame houses are simple to build, and require only basic practical skills such as the ability to read plans and to work with carpentry tools. Of course, elaborate and geometrically complex designs are more demanding and can be quite labour intensive, but the principles are the same in all cases. My plans show every structural component in such a way that construction is simply a process of assembling one component at a time in a logical, methodical fashion. Fixing and other construction details are illustrated, and instructions provided to assist the builder with any techniques that are likely to be unfamiliar. Structural computations are provided - all structural components are individually designed by me for optimal performance and economy. You have the choice of using materials of your choice, including locally available materials which I will incorporate into the design as part of the service I offer. In case you wondered, I am a structural engineer with a degree from Melbourne University. Bear in mind, however, that structural computations are based on Australian standards and codes, and may need to be adapted for other countries.
THE OWNER BUILDER
Many people these days are building their own homes, not only to reduce costs, but also to satisfy the creative urge to build their own shelter. The feeling of achievement in building a home for one's family can be very rewarding, and it allows you to put your personal stamp on it and be recognised for your skill and your individuality. Would you not share with your family and your friends your intimacies, your joys and your struggles in an environment that is supportive and nurturing, one which you yourself have created? In "The Prophet", Kahlil Gibran writes ... "Build of your imaginings a bower in the wilderness ere you build a house within the city walls ... Your house is your larger body. It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. Does not your house dream? and dreaming, leave the city for grove or hilltop?"
The simplicity of construction makes pole frame an ideal modality for the owner builder. I have 35 years experience designing and building pole frame houses, and I started as an owner builder, so I know the tricks of the trade. You do not have to do all the physical work to be an owner builder. You may prefer just to exercise your organisational skills and allocate the hard work to others such as skilled subcontractors. Even by doing this, your energy and your passion will go into the building and be absorbed as part of its vibration and its character.
If you are looking for a builder in Victoria, I thoroughly recommend GOLOVKIN BUILDING CONTRACTORS. George Golovkin and his team are highly professional and skilled craftsmen. They have constructed five of my pole houses, and are keen to do more, although the bulk of their work is of a more conventional nature. Pole houses they have built include Series 6-7b and Series 13-1 shown on this page. In November 2010 they carried out modifications to my house in Maryknoll, and I was impressed with their speed and thoroughness. George is happy to work to a fixed contract, or at an hourly rate which suits most owner builders as it allows them to take the work to any stage that suits their budget. George can be contacted through me, or directly on 0416 258400.
Left - Series 12-1 (Sawmill Settlement, Victoria)
Right - Series 14-3 (Dromana, Victoria)
WHAT ELSE MAKES THESE BUILDINGS SPECIAL?
Pole frame has numerous advantages over other construction methods in addition to those previously mentioned. It provides the simplest answer to open plan living, split levels and features such as mezzanines and lofts. Buildings can easily be constructed in stages, thus allowing less initial expenditure and earlier occupation. Roofs are constructed before floors and walls, thus providing shelter to work under and to store materials. Pole houses can be more easily constructed on sites that are difficult, unstable or have poor access. They are ideal for sites that are prone to erosion or soil movement, and are well suited to locations that are subject to strong winds, earthquakes or flooding. Their flexible geometry enables them to be designed to incorporate energy conservation principles by making the best use of site conditions.
DESIGN SERVICE - Choose from a range of house plans, or have your new home custom designed
PLAN CATALOGUE - Purchase my plan catalogue CD to review a range of about 90 designs. These are available with or without modification to suit your requirements.
Series 6-6B (Hepburn Springs Victoria)
Series 6-3 (under construction, Greendale Victoria)
More photos of completed buildings
Top left - Series 4-1 (Wye River, Vic) Top right - Series 5-1 (Toora, Vic)
Bottom left - Series 9-2 (Healesville, Vic) Bottom right - Series 12-3 (Bullengarook, Vic)
Full working drawings are available, with modifications if required - Go to Design Service
Contact me at 27 Tower Hill Road, Somers, Victoria 3927, Australia
Telephone: +61 3 59313269, Mobile 0401 460079
or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org