Month: March 2016

Teeth

There are quite a few design ideas that we like that are completely dependent on the skill of the laborers. Ultimately, all structural design is dependent on the skill of the laborers – it’s not like we engineers are on site actually building anything – but some details are more sensitive to skill levels than …

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Historic Structural Detail: The Ghost of a Barrel

Not every detail is important today, but they all exist for a reason. How did concrete contractors create round columns before reusable steel forms? The portion of this 1910s column at the top of the photo is still covered with plaster. The plaster has been removed at the bottom, showing the board marks. The vertical …

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New Quakes

A report from the U.S. Geological Survey on the probability of earthquakes in 2016 has been getting some press. In one sense that’s surprising, because USGS documents tend to be a bit dry and technical for the average reader; on the other hand this one contains the fascinating information that the risk of human-induced earthquakes in some parts …

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Historic Structural Detail: Heavy Metal

This: is a box girder consisting of two I-beams and two plates, all riveted together. It’s at the next-to-top floor of an old mansion, where there is a small terrace at the front because the top floor is set back several feet. The girder is below the set-back facade; the steel beams supporting brick vaults …

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The Start Of Something

Projects are like everything else (vacations, years, the baseball season): there’s a feeling of anticipation and fun simply because they start. There’s no feeling at work quite as satisfying as walking into a building and seeing steel we designed waiting for installation.

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