Kids love furniture forts. Some of those kids grow up to be
architects. And some of those architects, remembering their love of
blanket ceilings and sofa cushion walls, are applying their expertise to
the long-neglected academic study of furniture forts. Members of the
architecture firm BUILD have taken to the company blog to offer a
"critical analysis" of kids' living room creations. And criticize they
do, offering grades on 20 different creations. Here's a sampling of
BUILD's assessments and what they reveal about how to build the perfect
fort. Click through for photos of the forts: Part 1
, Part 2
- What Gets an A+ Not
much; the team handed out only two. They favor big, open spaces and the
use of support structures to allow for high ceilings. Blanket roofs
propped up with a broom handle are key. Soft, complementary colors are
The clear reference to pole barn framing resonates
with us and we found amusement in the tongue-in-cheek dual structural
system. The clever siting of the project is finished nicely with a
deliberately draped, light-weight roof structure. A warm, modern color
palette gives the project a handsome and approachable street front.
brilliant synergy between the weighted foundation and the light tensile structure, this project impressed us with
its attenuation of structure and bright interior spaces. The courtyard
and formal entry are also well thought-out and provide a clear means of
- What Gets an F Even less; only one F was
handed out, to a pair of sleepy-looking boys sitting on a pile of
cushions on the floor. "Good God gentlemen, you’re a mess! You need
walls, you need a roof. Get to work man!"
- Separate Indoors
From Outdoors The architects praise "a clear delineation between
indoor/outdoor space with a design focus on protection through the use
of barrier" and "fully sheltering the interiors ... while an entire
façade remains open to the exterior." In one of the only A+ winners,
"The courtyard and formal entry are also well thought-out and provide a
clear means of way-finding."
- Soft Roof While the team
approves of one fort's use an entire upturned sofa as a roof, they tend
to strongly prefer blanket roofs over cushion roofs. The challenge,
then, is how to prop up the roof without letting it sag into the
- The Mayan Element They handed a C+ to an
otherwise doomed structure (it lacks a roof or sturdy walls) for its
Mayan in geometry but American
barcalounger in function, this hybrid design allows for both formality
and comfort. To our disappointment, the plan design could have taken
better advantage of the site opportunities and, ultimately, the fact
that a roof structure was not included in the programming detracts from
the overall project.
- Colors Matter The team looks for
two-tone block colors and abhors patterns. "A warm, modern color
palette" gets an approving nod while the team holds their noses at "an
inconsistent material palette" and, in one case, a "poor choice of
- Look to Europe The architects raved about
European influences, which are more visible than you might expect. They
saw "the saw-tooth roof structures of industrial Europe" and "the
classic Tuscan stone towers of Italy," not
to mention a "rare example of cathedral buttressing."
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