Thursday, July 28, 2011

Seismic Design for Ceilings

We may not be a high risk area for earthquakes, but they do happen. In the 1980s, an earthquake centered in Albany, NY measuring 3.8 on the Richter Scale was felt by more than 12 states, including Connecticut.
Richard Ferarra, of USG (United States Gypsum Company) shared his knowledge of how to best secure ceiling tile in a quake. The goals are to avoid twisting of the steel and to keep ceilings from falling in. He stressed that, "To achieve this you hold the system together while allowing for movement."

To keep the system together it is important to use seismic clips which are rated for the risk area you are in. These clips provide:
  • rigidity
  • connection strength
  • system tightness
It is important to include specifications in construction documents which provide a system to reduce damages that could be caused in the event of an earthquake. Appropriate systems for each risk area will include such things as weight of grid, appropriate clearances (to allow for movement), clips, wires (NY requires rods in lieu of wire), compression posts (to help with wind), etc.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Designing with Stone

Mark Volage from Consolidated Brick led a Lunch and Learn for 5 architecture firms. The Lunch and Learn was held at Putnam House in Bethel which brought back memories for Architects' Guild. The Lunch and Learn was held on the 2nd floor; one more flight up was the office where Architects' Guild began in 1994. Rich Adamski, an original partner now with SOK in Ridgefield also attended this luncheon.

The first focus of the program was Brick 101. Why choose brick?
Architecture starts
when you carefully put
two bricks together.
There it begins.

—Mies van der Rohe

  • Brick is one of the oldest materials used in construction
  • Brick is virtually maintenance free (won't rot, dent, need to be painted and is termite free)
  • Brick is energy efficient
  • Brick allows for creative detailing (bond patterns, arches, color, special shapes,etc.)
  • Brick does not require a sealer
When using brick 85% of the cost is for labor and only 15% for the material. It's a better decision to go with the higher grade brick. The price of this brick may be a small percentage higher than other materials but when you factor in it's durability and the low upkeep of using brick it much more economical solution.

The second part of the presentation was on a man made sandstone.
  • Arriscraft's stone is a new product simulating real stone. Calcium silicate masonry units (CMSU) are lime and silica based sand, pressed into units, then heated under high pressure, a process much like Mother Nature but a lot faster
  • CMSU is virtually maintenance free (won't rot, dent, need to be painted and is termite free)
  • CMSU is environmentally friendly and contributes to LEED points
  • CMSU allows for creative applications, it is easily cut, shaped, chiselled, honed, etc. and uses mineral oxides to create steadfast colors
  • CMSU, like brick, does not require a sealer