Thursday, November 22, 2007

Exhaust vent design element

At first glance I assumed that a Dalek was hiding or trapped behind this simple wooden fence assembly (remember their biggest downfall was that they couldn't climb stairs) but upon further inspection it became evident that this particular structure was an exhaust vent for some mechanical unit.

The word of the day for this particular example is going to be 'coordination'. I don't particularly know how one could miss a structure of this size in the middle of the plaza (even during CD phase) and I sure can't figure out when the engineer who placed it here lost all sense of aesthetic sensibility or which contractor shrugged his shoulders and said "Sure, whatever." during construction but someone should have noticed this, asked about it and resolved the issue.

I will update with a zip code when I figure out where this is.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

ADA inaccessible

I don't quite understand how this detail is supposed to work.

I think there needs to be a sign:
"To orient mirror for ADA use, place hand on top of mirror and gently pull away from the wall until the hinges lock. Now sit back down in your wheelchair and use the mirror.
~Kent State University"

Interesting...this is apparently the mirror in a public men's facility in a dorm building.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fire suppression - Old Skool Style

Not really a design problem, unless this particular rope was actually specified as part of the fire surpression system. Think of it like this...

-Building on fire.
-Fire burns rope which closes fire door (not on hold opens) creating a fire barrier
-Releases tension on valve allowing manifold to open supplying the sprinkler system
(not shown from this point on...)
-Sprinkler system fills bowl with water lifting gate via pulley on cage of mice
-Mice exit cage and run across a series of bridge to plate of cheese
-Pressure on bridge dials '9-1-1 emergency' on push button phone
-Additional weight to plate of cheese pulls blanket from off of parrot cage
-Parrot repeats address of structure over and over for 911 operator until extinguished from smoke inhalation

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Cut once, measure twice...

Located on the Fries and Schuele building in ohio city, these blue ceramic glazed tiles are located in the center of the brick piers that form the base of the building. Notice the fine attention by the architect to make these piers a masonry dimension so that the tile would seamlessly fit into the running bond pattern.

1. It looks as if the header bricks were shaved to accept the tile.
2. The cut brick on the right seems smaller then on the left.

3. One would feel more comfortable if the tile fit into the running bond pattern instead of breaking the pattern by thirds. If the tile were centered on the pier that should be the case. I am assuming that the pier is not a masonry dimension or there are some 'pigs' in the wall. I don't know if a wider shot would show more of the discrepancy. Maybe, maybe not. (-ed)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Something missing?

Stonebridge - 2222 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland 44113

Walking around this recently completed apartment complex on the West Bank of the Flats, one wonders how many members of the design and construction team overlooked these enormously visible corners and crevices (or lack thereof)...

In defense of the construction team, I would like to speculate several reasons why it looks like pieces of building are missing:

1. The construction and design team foresaw the natural expansion of face brick as it gains moisture. I would suggest that at least three inches between the face of each wall should accommodate this expansion nicely. (Make sure that insulation fills the gap and remains visible as an indicator of the gradual expansion process)

2. LEED points can be earned for creating habitats for critters of the urban environment. In particular, hornets, ants, and Lake Erie seagulls are provided a warm home for their families.

3. No one really walks anymore. The apartment complex contains garages internal to every building, therefore its residents prefer attention to the interiors of their home and really don't see the outside of the building at fewer than 30 miles per hour or a few hundred feet away. In fact, Phase 13 of the complex will project a holigram on a CMU box, because no one really notices materiality anyway.

As a former residential painter, I particularly admire the skill of this project's artists. I would have never thought to two-tone the soffit AND paint the cast stone white.

This is what happens when an incapable design and construction team tries to build an angular and "patchwork" building. Inevitably, no one knows how to detail areas where materials and faces adjoin one another.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Remember what climate your project is in:

southwest corner of east ninth and st clair ave, cleveland ohio 44114

do you think the sign was included in the drawing set? perhaps with a note: please provide portable signs to make up for architect's ignorance and/or ego. disperse around glass in the rare occurrence of snowfall.Possible solutions included Snow Guards of some sort to decrease the possibility of ice or snow sliding off onto the head of a passerby, a covered entry or walk or just not sloping an extremely smooth roof surface towards the entry/sidewalk.

On an SBS personal note, this is the second email we have received! Keep your eyes open and the camera at the ready.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Batten the hatches?

sbs's very first write-in!

battery park, detroit shoreway, cleveland ohio 44102

note the fine attention to detail regarding the battens and their relationship to the fenestration.

also of interest are the sun screens (these face north and the only sun that will hit this facade is late in the summer and it will be low on the horizon) and the entry canopy which provides no protection.

use what you like

I like it all.
So, in summation, exterior material was installed or designed with no regard to what was happening to the exterior AND useless architectural details which pose as useful details.

I think the green beveled batten picture is my favorite.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Display Building and Greenwashing

This project was from the 2007 Cleveland Home and Garden show. It was an attempt to display sustainable design principles, probably in a manner that would be understood by the layperson.
- One example of sustainable design quoted here was the collection of rainwater for land irrigation. I understand that the display building was built inside another but wouldn't the addition of a water collection system (ie. gutters) have been useful for explaining exactly how the water was collected? Notice the nice fountain catapulted from the turret which has the possibility of collecting water from around 30 to 40 square feet yet leaves the rest of the roof entirely unattended.
- I thought the fountain splash (from a pump operated fountain) collecting on and eventually migrating through the turret window was a nice touch.- I don't know if not lining anything up with the "trim" was an intentional decision or not. If it was I would call it "bold" to be nice. If not, then someone should have kept there eye on project construction a little more closely.

I have more photos of this particular project but don't want to harp on "when bad ideas/construction attack". What infuriated me most was the blatant exclamation of how "green" this project was with little or no innovative ideas to support it. Sure there was a sign for low VOC paint and there was a gigantic solar array on the roof (old fashion PV to be sure, nothing new and exciting). I am not sure but I think the wall construction was Structural Insulated Panels which was a nice idea but how would anyone even know? What about solar orientation? There sure seems to be a lot of glass! Where was the practical application that would be a take home lesson? Maybe at another booth.

Hell, I am surprised the thing wasn't clad in vinyl.

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