The Olympics of Architecture

After watching the Olympic games opening this weekend, one can’t help but be over whelmed by the historical and global significance these games have grown into.

From the start of the games in 776 BC in Olympia Greece, the architectural structures were just as important as the games themselves.  Here are a few picts of what’s left of the original site of the first Olympic games.

image courtesy “Time Travel Turtle”
image courtesy of “Time Travel Turtle”

The site consists of most of what you would imagine an Olympic games would. About a dozen larger structures between a bunch of scattered smaller ones. Sound familiar? Every four years as the Olympics moves around the globe we see new architectural feats popping up to accommodate the games. As the years pass we find ourselves comparing each opening ceremony to the preceding, as well as the structures they are held in. It seems the architecture alone has become it’s own Olympic game. Let’s look at some from this years Olympic games in London – there are some big names on this one.

We have all heard a lot about the USA swim team, so let’s look at the London Aquatics Center first designed by world re-nound architect Zaha Hadid.

The London Aquatics Center *images courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects*
The London Aquatics Center *images courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects*
The London Aquatics Center *images courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects*

Let’s take a look at the Velodrome now by Hopkins Architects.

The London 2012 Velodrome *images courtesy of Hopkins Architects*
The Londond 2012 Velodrome *images courtesy of Hopkins Architects*

Lastly, let’s take a look at the London Olympic bridges by Heneghan Peng Architects.

London 2012 Olympic bridges *image courtesy of Heneghan Peng Architects*
London 2012 Olympic bridges *images courtesy of Heneghan Peng Architects*

There are SO many more amazing architectural structure in London that were constructed for the Olympics. You can find a complete list of them and who designed them here.  Amazing super human feats that go into the tradition that has become the Olympic games; both the athletes AND the architects compete, only the architects do it silently and without medals.

I vote to add architecture to the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janero. Who’s with me?!?!

GHA currently being featured on Houzz “How to work with an architect”

The website Houzz is an online magazine of sorts with the largest collection of interior design and decorating ideas on the Internet, including kitchens and bathrooms. Users browse over 500000 inspiring photos and 90000 “idea books.”

Today we are being featured in the article “How to Work With An Architect.”

Check it out here:

And then follow us on Houzz to stay up to date on our latest idea books!
Thanks Houzz!

Bungalow style playhouse get’s a new look!

We are architects, true, but we are also people. With families and friends who we care very much about. We feel a bit special in the fact that most of our clients become friends as well. To us this means we care about what they care about, and get involved. We’re just like that.

One such client is involved in fund raising for the Puget Sound Blood Center. She approached us to see if we could help out with an auction to raise money for help with Hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. We of course said yes! Scott Hommas designed a super cute little playhouse reminiscent of a bungalow – complete with porch.

The playhouse Scott designed for the PSBC auction.

Scott ran in to a problem though, we could design it sure, but we would need someone to build it. Scott got on the phone and called up Hamish Anderson of Hamish Anderson Custom Homes, Inc. (2011 “Best Builder” in 425 Magazine) and before too long he was on board to donate his time and materials to build the amazing playhouse.

The family who bought the playhouse contacted us recently and had us made a few adjustments so that it would match their home. We will be sure to post picts of the finished project when it’s done.

Also, let the record show it will no longer be known as a “playhouse”, instead it shall be known as the “Backyard Hangout” since this is for teenagers and not small children. 🙂

Do you have a playhouse in your backyard? Tell us about it!


We are updating a few of our marketing pieces around here. Our marketing guru Nikki is working on developing a custom font for some of these pieces and we wanted to share. The similarities of the way designing something looks is pretty universal. You stick to the basics of form and function, throw in some geometry, add a splash of economy and viola! You’ve got yourself a font (or a Truss.) Here take a look at this and you’ll see what I mean.

This is a design concept for a Truss on a house.
This is a design concept for a window with a little bit of stained glass at the top.

The use of geometry when architecting something is really key. The relationship between proportions and beauty, or appeal if you will, are very closely intertwined. You can’t have one without the other.
Here is the back end of the font she is creating. Look at all that math!

The backend of the font design
Here are a few letters ti give you an idea of how the font is coming along.

So, whether you are architecting a home, a car, or a custom architecture font, the tools are the same. We are thinking of naming this font “Architecting” – what do you think?

Architecture inspired by nature

One of our co-workers spent the last few days at Glacier National Park in Montana camping with her family.  Being surrounded by that much natural beauty one can’t help but get inspired.

Lake McDonald inside Glacier National Park

One of our principal’s Scott Hommas is actually from Montana, and grew up not too far from Lake McDonald.  As a child Scott spent many summers exploring Glacier and all the beauty the park has to offer. The Lake McDonald Lodge is literally where Scott decided that he wanted to be an architect.

Lake McDonald Lodge

“The use of natural tree limbs inside the Lodge inspired me to want to be an architect. I wanted to design buildings just like that Lodge.” – Scott Hommas

The inside of Lake McDonald Lodge.

 Scott might not get to design cabin style architecture like the Lake McDonald Lodge every day, but loves his work and it shows.  Scott is not the only one either. We are truly blessed to have an office full of talent and heart. Here is just another example of the way our clients feel after working with Gelotte Hommas Architecture.

Well, summer is (sort of) here again, and I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you how much we’re enjoying our outdoor space. And the larger master bedroom. And our new family room cabinets. And new kitchen island.  It’s all working out great. I’ve given out both of your names to several folks; I don’t know if it’s resulted in any actual additional business but I’ll keep it up.

Thanks for all of the hard work from both of you (and your teams). We’re really happy with the results.

— William”
William Kennedy, home owner
CLICK HERE for more info and to see pictures of William’s home 


*Photos from flicker*

Friday NOT so fun: It’s a coffee emergency people!

I know that normally we do Friday Fun here on the Gelotte Hommas blog, but today is different. Today we are doing Friday NOT so fun. In fact, today we are talking about something down right horrific! I understand that after reading this post, many of you may “unsubscribe” to our blog posts on the sheer basis of Seattle ethics, but it needs to be said none the less. Here goes; Our coffee in the office SUCKS! This is in fact a travesty that has been going on since before the dinosaurs and we have decided enough is enough.
We are architects people. And do you know what you get when you add bad coffee and architects? Under PERFORMING architects, that’s what!
I mean, look at this. Our senior project manager Eric Drivdahl has had to resort to being a coffee pauper!

His cup runneth EMPTY!

It’s not pretty people. Our coffee pot sucks. SUCKS I tell you! So much so that it has been aptly named Old Yellow. You know, because it’s old and yellow.

Old “Yellow”

Anyway, we want a new coffee pot. We NEED a new coffee pot.  Not just for us, but for YOU too! Just imagine the next time you come to the GHA office you were greeted with GOOD coffee instead of the gasoline we are serving now!(Just being honest here.) The heavens would part and we would all skip around singing coffee songs whilst designing houses. Win win I tell ya.
We love Seattle. We agree with the unsaid Seattle code that states ‘where there are people there shall also be good coffee’. We want to have good coffee, but we need your help. We are totally clueless about which type of coffee maker to buy.  There are literally thousands. Here are a few we found;

HALP! Leave us a comment and tell us what kind of coffee maker YOUR office has. Also, any suggestions on a particular kind of coffee would be helpful too. How about this, ANY coffee making advice would be greatly appreciated. Maybe we can get Eric off the street corner and back at his desk…

Energy Savers: A look at geothermal temperature controls

Now that summer is here, so is the heat, and by here I don’t mean Washington State as it’s currently 63 and raining.  We have heard it is hot everywhere else though, so we thought we would share an amazing energy saving, renewable option for heating and cooling a home. One of our current underway projects, Deliberate Demense, has decided to use a Geothermal Heat Pump system.

An example of the horizontal geothermal ground loops used in this project

Geothermal heating/cooling systems are amazingly efficient and cost effective with an average of 25%-50% decreased electricity usage when compared to conventional systems. Wow!
Here’s how they work: the Earth’s temperature is relatively constant regardless of the temperature above ground. Even when it’s 115 degrees outside the ground beneath you is much cooler. Think of a cave. When the temperature outside the cave is sweltering, the cave is much cooler and visa versa when it’s cold.

Ground temperature by depth

Ditches are dug about 6 feet beneath the surface and tubes are put into places looping back and forth across the ground. A liquid is pumped through the tubes where it is either cooled down or heated up and then pumped back through the home thus regulating the temperature of the home. Another bonus is this system is super quiet unlike most A/C units and it also takes us considerably less space. Win Win!
If you are considering other options for heating or cooling your home geothermal is a place to start.

*images courtesy of Google*