April 2017

It’s Good To Stretch

by Don Friedman on April 30, 2017

The Williamsburg Bridge under construction, looking better than it’s ever looked completed, below. The venue for yesterday’s event was not far away.


I spent yesterday at the Future of Design NYC conference organized by IABSE. Interesting stuff, although mostly very far from my everyday work.* But that’s okay.

* There was one mention of building reuse as a way to conserve resources, so it wasn’t entirely foreign to me.

A Catcher In The Concrete

April 29, 2017

During window replacement in my apartment, the gadget above was used to provide an anchor point for safety lines for the workers leaning out the unguarded window opening during removal and installation. The piece of wall to the left (behind the fridge) and right are parts of an internal concrete shear wall and provide solid anchorage; […]

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In The Details

April 28, 2017

God is in the details – Mies van der Rohe The Devil is in the details – Anonymous A topic that I find interesting in general, and critical professionally, is how engineers make decisions with incomplete information. This comes up in all types of engineering design discussion, from our alteration and repair niche to oil-rig design, […]

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Resilience By Design

April 27, 2017

Flooding in the East River tunnel of the L train, from the MTA: Here is a long read from The Guardian on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, reliance to storms, and design solutions. To give a sense of the awakening to sea-level rise and flooding issues, we now have to add flood maps to our […]

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Proof Of Concept, 530 Years Late

April 26, 2017

In the 1480s, Leonardo Da Vinci sketched a wood arch bridge without fasteners. Basically, it’s a bunch of logs held together by gravity and geometry. Each of the main logs – the new that are part of the two arches on each face – is loaded in the middle by a cross log (that connects the […]

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Return Of The Glamor Of It All

April 25, 2017

That’s a hole in a partition about 20 inches square, and is the only access to the attic space beyond. Crawling on my hands and knees is mildly annoying; doing so with a flashlight and notebook removes the “mildly.” [Part 1 of the glamor is here.]

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Impermanence In Fixed Positions

April 24, 2017

Work proceeds on Midtown’s newest supertall, behind the construction fence. One Vanderbilt, not yet above grade, will eventually be about 1300 feet high. The demolition of some medium-size and, honestly, forgettable office buildings has exposed the west face of Grand Central Terminal (the wall on the left) to long-distance views for the first time in decades. […]

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Who Builds Your Architecture

April 23, 2017

Who Builds Your Architecture? is an ongoing discussion of the labor force in construction. Worth reading; worth thinking about, particularly the next time you hear about a mega-project.

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Earth Day, Locally

April 22, 2017

Today is Earth Day. To stick with my tendency to see things in local terms, Vision 3 of the OneNYC progress report covers the environmental impact of NYC policy, and Vision 4 covers addressing the effects of the changing environment on NYC.

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Beauty As An Accidental Artifact Of Technology

April 21, 2017

I used this picture once before, but I think it deserves some discussion: [Click on the photo to enlarge.] That’s the Woolworth Building rising up over the old General Post Office. The two buildings are separated by Broadway and the small buildings on the right front on Broadway. City Hall can be dimly seen in […]

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