Have you ever looked at a word long enough to realize how weird it is?

Lately that word for me has been scale.


S – C – A – L – E


Sometimes we take for granted the meaning of our words.  Upon a second glance, not only is scale a funny looking word, but it also has very different meanings to different people.

If you say this word to an athlete, their going to think about their weight.  A judge may think about the classic balance of justice. A zoologist will tell you its a piece of animal skin.  To a botanist, a scale is a bothersome insect.  When you say the word to a musician, it brings to their mind keys and chords on an instrument.

Finally, to a designer the word scale means the ratio of size of one object compared to another.  This could be the scale of a model to the actual size of the object that it represents, the size of an environment compared to it’s user, or even the scope of detail in a design.


The 5 members of our studio that are working on the Clemson Solar Decathlon interiors are in many ways considering all of the above.



The measurement of weight is like discovering a cold, hard fact.  This is equivalent to doing a cost estimate on the house – nothing brings you down to earth as fast as realizing you need to shave off the fat and cut costs.


Weighing the balance of one object to another is like managing priorities in design.  How does the added value of one feature affect the value of all the rest?  Does it’s implementation add or subtract to the balance of the concept?


Like a reptile, the skin of a building protects it from the elements; shedding water, deflecting damage and providing texture.  The interiors are no less important, but with differing priorities.  Aesthetics are just as important as functionality.


The rhythm of the home is critical to its experience.  From the process of moving through the space, to how the materials and details work together to speak a similar language (or key signature), the articulation of the elements (notes) is important.

PlotDesigning for the occupant is central to the success of a living space.  Since people will be living here, every feature must be considered relative to the human experience from the size and height of the space to the smallest articulation of detail.



Overall, this has been a great project to work on not only for the awesome opportunity to be involved with something as innovative and tangible as the Solar Decathlon competition, but for the scale of the design in consideration with the balance of firmness, commodity, delight, and innovation.



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