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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recap :: AIAS Firm Visit to Placetailor



By Fernanda Sotério Dias Pinto, BArch Candidate

On the way to Placetailor's current site visit someone had asked me if I had any intention of working and exploring the design-build field. I wasn't sure because I knew very little about it.

I always imagined that a design-build firm would mean that they would work closely with a construction management company. However, Placetailor's visit was soon to be one of the most remarkable of all of my firm visits so far due to their uniqueness in the field.

The project that they are working on right now called Rocksberry is located in Roxbury on Marcella Street directly across from Marcella Park. Declan Keefe, BAC Alum and one of the co-owners of the firm welcomed and presented to us what Placetailor was all about.


The presentation was very simple, directing us to key points about the firm such as the fact that they like to refer to themselves as designers building. The concept comes from the fact that they are the ones responsible for every phase of the project, from concept design to developing and construction phase. Keefe explained that their goal is to build to the Passivhaus standard. The term passive house refers to a rigorous, voluntary, standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint.

In the case of the Rocksberry house, the concept of passive house meant double wall assemblies, better air sealing, and a better work surface. The goal is to build one of the few passive houses in the state while achieving the objective of using 90% less heating energy than a typical home. The roof was also a consequence of this concept of passive house. From early sun studies (now we see how important they are), Placetailor's staff had concluded that they needed to detain as much vertical south as they could in order to integrate solar hot water. Thus, the shape of the roof became this unique asymmetrical structure in which brings a charm to Rocksberry.


It was obvious that everyone really enjoyed the visit and the tour around the house. It was intriguing to see how a firm can deal with all facets of architecture within the same staff members. It was even more amazing to see that it can be possible and they are doing it successfully.

Placetailor's visit was very inspiring. They have shown to us that building responsibly and taking the environment in consideration should always be priorities. They demonstrated to us that with willpower and hard work everything is possible, that we should always be taking the consequences of our actions into account and do as much as we can to help the environment, at the very least, reduce these consequences by acting more responsibly.

Now responding to my colleague's question: I most definitely would love to work in a design-build environment such as Placetailor!