01 May 2018

Inspire — A Clover

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Can something unassuming, like a clover be the inspiration for something substantial, like an architectural project? Yes and yes. In fact it has been, is and will be as long as there are architects who are inspired by the wonders around them.

Nine years ago, I developed a speculative residential design series to respond to the perceived need for a starter home that could evolve with a family. These residences would be located on isolated properties of varied sizes.

Any dwelling designed for every one but no one in particular falls in the category of speculative design. There’s nothing new about speculative design. It’s a development strategy founded in the 1950’s that still dominates single-family residential development today. This type design often earns the title “tract home”, “cookie-cutter design” or “stock plan”. The primary difference between those designs and my creation (which I call Eco-Flex) is my designs were off-the-grid, adaptable and inspired by natural site elements.


Each project must be off-the grid and retain the following features:

  • utility independent
  • energy efficient
  • easily reproduced and constructed


Each project must be flexible for construction on multiple building sites:

  • 12×16 modules or 8×16 modules
  • expandable designs
  • pier-and-beam foundation
  • SIPS wall construction

Natural Elements:

Each project must emulate a natural land element to blend with topography and organize the design layout:


The end result was several speculative projects that could be located in the city or country, for small families or large families yet provide a unique appearance to prevent the repetition prevalent in American neighborhoods today. My inspiration, called Clover, looked like this:

Sometimes the simplest and most unassuming object, like a single clover, can become the unlikely inspiration for an architecture project.

Review these other articles to learn what unlikely objects inspire other Architects.

Architalks Entries

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
unlikely inspiration was there all along

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Unlikely inspiration

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Inspire — A Clover

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“unlikely inspiration”

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Unlikely Inspiration: The Strange Journeys of the Creative Process

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Barndoors are for People Too

Tim Ung – Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
Inspired by Leather Working

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Unlikely Inspiration – Herbert Simms

Steve Mouzon – The Original Green Blog (@stevemouzon)
A Most Unexpected Inspiration

Architalks Credits

This is another entry in Bob Borson’s blogging brain-child titled, “ArchiTalks”.

The #ArchiTalks goal is to inspire blogging architects with similar educational and professional requirements to opine on the same topic and simulpost their response so other architects and a broader audience can enjoy the rampant thought-diversity within the architecture profession

Select the links in “Architalks Entries” below to read how architects responded to the “Unlikely Inspiration” topic.

image/video credits:


About the Author

Your Architect is Eric Faulkner -- an architect licensed in Texas & Oklahoma with 32 years experience in design, construction observation and life.