Enter your email:

Construction Topics




















Become a FB fan

Construction Network

Trades Hub


July 31, 2008

Insights into an Architect's Mind
Filed under: Design — Tags: — nedpelger

The Dutch architets UNStudio have designed a proposed flagship store for fashion house Louis Vuitton in Japan. The location and construction schedule of the ten-story building are secret, but the attached renderings and sketches give some insights into an Architect’s mind.

Most Construction Supervisors I’ve known place Architects at about the same level of respect as Politicians .  Probably since  we see their mistakes up close and personal and often have to fix them. I’ve sat on the design side of the table a few times, though, and developed a healthy respect for the difficulty of starting with a blank sheet. My designs were completely functional and just as ugly. It’s a wonderful gift (and one I don’t possess) to be able to develop the idea and concept of a beautiful building.

You can see how the model below helped the Architect see and show the building concept.

Now when I start considering a building design, I start with the building structure. I doubt most Architects begin this way, but the sketch below that shows the structure fascinates me.

The concept of travel through the building also needs to be considered early in the design process and the sketch below helps you to see it.

If you look at these pictures from the bottom to the top, I think you get an insight into the designer’s mind. Take a moment to appreciate the complexity of the task of starting from a blank sheet and  creating the design of a  beautiful  building.  Maybe  even  surprise the Architect you work with and let he or she know you appreciate his/her efforts. At the very least, you will make them nervous…which is always a good thing.


July 22, 2008

Gaudi Architecture
Filed under: Design — Tags: — nedpelger

You probably know that gaudy means showy or tasteless. Many people have found the Spanish architect from the late 1800s, Antonio Gaudi, to design gaudy buildings. With time, though, his sculptural style has come to be appreciated by many.

Gaudi worked mostly in Barcelona and has buildings that are almost hallucinatory (not that I’d know anything about that). A fine article in Dark Roasted Blend shows lots of examples, some of which I’ve shown below.

If you like what you see in the article above, you can learn more about Gaudi in Wikipedia. Apparently, Gaudi also had the habit of changing his mind frequently during construction. Just imagine our forefathers in Construction Supervision cussing and complaining about this loony architect who makes their lives so much more complicated.

On the other hand, I hope to travel to Barcelona some day and see many of these design and construction marvels up close and personal. I wouldn’t be interested in going to see the buildings that were simple to build.


July 19, 2008

What will Those Crazy Structural Engineers Think of Next?
Filed under: Design — Tags: — nedpelger

I came across an article in BLDGBLOG that discussed an earthquake dampening system for skyscrapers. Usually I only need to hear the word “Earthquakes” and I lose interest, because we really don’t have earthquakes where I live and build. When I saw the graphic of this huge steel ball suspended near the top of a skyscraper, I was intrigued. I think you will be too.

For whom the bell tolls

[Image: Diagram of Taipei 101’s earthquake ball via the Long Now Foundation].

Earlier this week, the Long Now Foundation looked at earthquake dampers inside skyscrapers, focusing specifically on Taipei 101 – a building whose unanticipated seismic side-effects (the building’s construction might have reopened an ancient tectonic fault) are quite close to my heart.
As it happens, Taipei 101 includes a 728-ton sphere locked in a net of thick steel cables hung way up toward the top of the building. This secret, Piranesian moment of inner geometry effectively acts as a pendulum or counterweight – a damper – for the motions of earthquakes.

[Image: The 728-ton damper in Taipei 101, photographed by ~Wei~].

As earthquake waves pass up through the structure, the ball remains all but stationary; its inertia helps to counteract the movements of the building around it, thus “dampening” the earthquake.
It is a mobile center, loose amidst the grid that contains it.

[Image: Animated GIF via Wikipedia].

However, there’s something about discovering a gigantic pendulum inside a skyscraper that makes my imagination reel. It’s as if the whole structure is a grandfather clock, or some kind of avant-garde metronome for a musical form that hasn’t been invented yet. As if, down there in the bedrock, or perhaps a few miles out at sea inside a submarine, every few seconds you hear the tolling of a massive church bell – but it’s not a bell, it’s the 728-ton spherical damper inside Taipei 101 knocking loose against its structure.
Or it’s like an alternate plot for Ghostbusters: instead of finding out that Sigourney Weaver’s New York high-rise is literally an antenna for the supernatural, they realize that it’s some strange form of architectural clock, with a massive pendulum inside – a great damper – its cables hidden behind closet walls and elevator shafts covered in dust; but, at three minutes to midnight on the final Halloween of the millennium, a deep and terrifying bell inside the building starts to toll.
The city goes dark. The tolling gets louder. In all the region’s cemeteries, the soil starts to quake.

(Thanks to Kevin Wade Shaw for the link!)


June 10, 2008

Some cool buildings
Filed under: Design — Tags: — kaegw

I came across some photos of buildings in Japan that astound me. Can you imagine being the Construction Supervisor on one of these projects? What must the prints have looked like? We’ve all built projects where the Owner just keeps changing the course of the project, I wonder if that’s how these buildings ended up the way they did.

A shopping mall in Japan built into a hill

Linked skyscraper in JapanUmeda Sky building in Japan


June 3, 2008

Here's a website where you don't want your project photo
Filed under: Design — Tags: — kaegw

Named Drunk Builders and Mad Architects, this collection of photos shows inspired stupidity with some great photos. Here are a few examples:

There are lots more examples of what not to do. It’s a great business, isn’t it?


May 28, 2008

Stop. You must not hop on Pop.
Filed under: Design,Ned Weirdness — Tags: , , , — kaegw

Stockholm elevatorThe photo at right shows an old elevator in Stockholm, Sweden. I’m glad I don’t live there because my shoulder would be so sore. David Goligorsky, a friend of mine who recently took the photo, has a great blog Perpenduum. Check it out for some clever design insights and generally entertaining weirdness.

By the way, if you ever happen to ride on an elevator with me, elevator wars sometimes just happen. The objective in an elevator war is to slam into every other person in the elevator with sufficient force and speed to cause them pain. I find these wars especially enjoyable when the other combatants are unaware of the impending battle. Just a little insight into me.

« Newer Posts