New York City is looking to figure out what to do with their tens of millions square feet of commercial office buildings that were built mid-century. This is the generation of buildings which that entailed the wholesale destruction of historic buildings which in turned became a major impetus for the historic preservation movement. These buildings also were criticized for their negative impact on the urban fabric of the City. Built in the time of cheap energy, they relied entirely on inefficient HVAC systems that are the are similar to the gas guzzling cars of that generation as well. The report, Midcentury (un)Modern Analysis of the 1958-1973 Manhattan Office Building, points out that these buildings were cheaply built, consumes large amounts of energy, do not have sufficient ceilings heights, are poorly laid out, and will … Read More »
The New Normal
A recent article in the New York Times, “The Generator is the Machine of the Moment” talks about changes to building projects to make them more resilient to Hurricane Sandy type storms. The changes are straight forward changes to the building systems, such as moving mechanical systems out of the basement, flood proofing the basements and lower floors, installing generators and pumping systems. Other changes are at the level of developments which look at ways of storing storm water on site in the lower floors and open areas to reduce the impact. This is now the “new normal” because the people using the buildings don’t want to endure the loss of power and disruptions to their lives. They recognize that these types of storms are becoming a fact of life, rather than the “storm of the century”.
Being resilient in terms of … Read More »