Philosophy

Extremes On Site

by Don Friedman on February 28, 2019


It got as low as 1F (-17C) at Ticonderoga yesterday*, and I’ve had site visits at 102F (39C) during heat waves in New York City. That 101 degree spread (in Celsius, a 56 degree spread) is in some ways more difficult to deal with than other conditions on site (heights or filth, for example). But it can also be useful: any place there was a leak, we knew we would see ice. And you don’t have to worry about bugs in this weather.

* The background of the picture is the south end of Lake Champlain frozen solid.

When You’re Right, You’re Right

February 27, 2019

Signage seen in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and it’s hard to argue. It’s probably worth noting that beneath its hideous 1970s renovation, the south wing dates to 1950 and was originally a kind of watered-down moderne.

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The Message Only Becomes More Important Over Time

January 26, 2019

I feel like I read an article on this topic every month or so, but the repetition is okay. The greenest building is the one that already exists and is reused. Or, as Mark Alan Hewitt puts it in Common Edge: Why Reusing Buildings Should Be the Next Big Thing. Existing buildings vastly outnumber new ones, […]

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121 Definitions Plus 1

January 20, 2019

Courtesy of ArchDaily: 121 Definitions of Architecture. They range from thought-provoking to astonishingly banal. I’ll add one more: Architecture is the stuff that, if you ignore it, you’ll stub your toe.

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Book Review: Making Things Right

January 11, 2019

A house in Oslo similar to the one described in the book. Photo by Øyvind Holmstad. Ole Thorstensen is a carpenter in Norway who decided to combine his philosophy of work with a description of a small project in the book Making Things Right. The general idea has been done before – The Soul of a […]

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A Broader Base is Better

January 5, 2019

In structures, and in the engineering profession.

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Links On Workplace Fairness

December 17, 2018

I’m using “fairness” as a catch-all term for workplace equality issues. I happen to have read several items in the last few days that relate to this topic, so it seems like a good idea to combine them into one post. They’re listed below in the order I read them: “Where Are All the Female […]

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Different Types of Measurement

November 15, 2018

One of the problems with frequent blogging – I’ve passed 1100 separate posts here – is that it’s easy to lose track of what I’ve discussed. I was sure I had already addressed today’s topic, but it turns out that I had only nibbled around the edges. So: What does code compliance mean and how […]

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Who’s at The Hotel?

July 14, 2018

For people unfamiliar with the Abbott and Costello routine: here it is.

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What Engineering Is Not, Part 4 (finale)

June 27, 2018

One last thought on this topic and I’ll drop it. Ultimately, what is engineering not? It’s not the solution to all issues concerning buildings. Some problems are best solved by architects, some by plumbers, some by carpenters, some by the building owners, and some by literally nothing.* I had one couple hire me to look […]

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