We are trying something new that we hope is helpful for those of you who would like to take a deeper dive into Building Science but can’t take time out of a nutty work day to do so.
Because I live Building Science every day, I occasionally lose sight of the fact that not everyone sees how all of this information works and fits together. Sadly we live in a bullet point world so let’s give the big picture the opportunity to talk. Let’s give the silent masses the opportunity to ask questions and engage with folks who work with this knowledge on a daily basis in real world scenarios.
The early evening timeframe for this series may have particular value for younger architects and building professionals who do not get to take time out of billable hours but could jump online at the end of the day.
We are offering the opportunity to see the Big Picture of Building Science through a series of three webinars starting at 5:30 pm EST over the next three months that will take you through topics such as Heat Flow, Moisture Flow, Air Flow, Indoor Air Quality, Evaluating HVAC or Mechanical Systems in the Building Envelop and Sound Control Problems.
Be forewarned, each webinar is a half hour longer than the last. It is like a three course meal that will leave you both full and wanting more.
The first session will be held on Wednesday, March 12 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm EST. If you are looking to expand your knowledge of Building Science, this accredited course is for you!
Register and join me for The Art of Building Science Part I.
Think about the stairs in the average building. They are simply stairwells -very claustrophobic – very unpleasant – very utilitarian. In general, they are often not attractive spaces.
I recently visited ZGF Architects at the 12 West building in Portland, Oregon which is a LEED Platinum certified high-rise building. One of the really cool features of ZGF’s office space in this tower is the open stairs between floors. If you visit the firm’s web site you can actually see pictures of the stairs under the “interiors” tab.
When you were in these stairs you noticed they were beautiful. They weren’t wells they were open to the spaces. The vertical space of the stairs became a connector of the spaces in the building. They were airy and bright, they also incorporated the environment of the floor in terms of the acoustics and appearance. You saw people stopping and talking on the stairs.
It made me think ‘If the stairs were more appealing would people be willing to use them?’ The designers of this building thought so and they were right.
One of the concepts put forward for reducing power consumption in buildings is rethinking how we can incorporate stairs between floors. Not only does it save energy, it adds to the overall aesthetics in the design. An unrelated benefit is that it increases the cardiovascular benefits for employees and visitors. As we consider how we might change the ways we think of and incorporate these spaces in our building, we must remain mindful of the science of air flows and how large columns of air behave. There must be an eloquent solution which combines form, function, and efficiency.
Have you seen any examples of the creative uses of stairs in buildings?
Lucas Hamilton is Manager, Building Science Applications for CertainTeed Corporation