January 12, 2014

Walkie-Talkie Building: Melting Cars and Starting Fires

20 Fenchurch Street - src
London, England - The skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street, nicknamed the Walkie-Talkie and the Pint due to its odd shape, is causing issues on the surrounding London streets. Local business owners and motorists confronted the building's developers in September of 2013 blaming the building's unique shape for starting fires and other damage due to the building reflecting the sun's rays.

October 20, 2013

Owens Corning World Headquarters

LEED EB Silver

Architects: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
450,000 square foot

Toledo, Ohio - The Owens Corning World Headquarters in Toledo was built in 1997 and received the LEED Silver certification for Existing Buildings 10 years later in 2007. The building’s program includes office space, cafeteria, conference rooms, mutli-media room, a health clinic and other support facilities. The main office space follows the river’s curve, provides views of the water as well as access to daylight. High efficiency lighting is also used throughout the building. Instantaneous changes in space planning can be completed without outside contractors thanks to the building’s efficient and flexible mechanical system.

September 14, 2013

HVAC: Condensing Furnace

Furnace Diagram
A furnace provides heat through the exchange of heat through a intermediary fluid movement such as air, steam or hot water. A furnace can use different fuel including natural gas, LPG, oil, coal or wood. Combustion furnaces always need to be vented outside. Condensing furnaces are essentially high-efficiency furnaces with a AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) starting at 90% or greater, verses mid-efficiency furnaces with a AFUE in the 80's. This difference in efficiency is the result of heat lost to the flue, or the loss of of some of the heat produced during combustion.

February 18, 2013

Jane Jacobs: The Life and Death of Great American Cities

5th Avenue New York City

In Jane Jacobs’ book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, she discusses the particular nature of cities. The introduction focuses on how City Beautiful and the Radiant City differs from how cities truly work and cities have suffered as a result of these ideals.

January 21, 2013

Design Guide: Closet Dimensions

Woman's Reach-in Closet - source

Standard Depth Measurements

For reach-in closets, the standard depth is 24 inches and is used for suits, shirts, dresses, and pants. The 2 foot depth is required to handle your hanger. For coats and jackets, use a depth of 28 inches.
  • Minimum depth 24 inches
  • Use a depth of 28 inches for coats 

August 20, 2012

Tree House Restaurant: Naha Harbor Diner

Naha Harbor Diner

In Gaiumaru, Japan, the Naha Harbor Diner sits perched on massive branches about 20 ft above the ground, looking out over the ocean. Accessible by a spiral stairway and an elevator built within the tree trunk. The restaurant has a reputation of being quiet and elegant, while serving some of the best Japanese, Thai, Korean, Chinese and Indian food in all of Okinawa.

August 6, 2012

Huf Haus: Energy Efficient Prefab Homes

HUF House ART 8, source

For many years, HUF HAUS has been internationally recognized for their innovative timber-frame architecture that epitomizes the synergy between wood and glass. The name unites the careful evolution of the classic timber framed structure with the revolution in energy efficiency. Relevant details on the energy efficiency of new HUF Houses can be found on their homepage. A HUF house creates a comfortable design creating an ideal place from which to observe nature. Every HUF House is unique, designed for each individual client by a HUF architect.

June 8, 2012

Rural Studio: Bryant (Hay Bale) House

The Bryant House, finished in 1994 was the Rural Studio's first completed building. The Bryant household, Shepard and Alberta with their grandchildren lived in a rickety shack without heat or plumbing and enough holes to let in rain, insects and reptile visitors. When the structure was about to collapse, the Hale County's Department of Human Services told Samuel Mockbee about his situation and Mockbee asked Shepard if they could help.