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Mending an iconic building

Post Time:Aug 06,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:404



Many contemporary buildings incorporate new design techniques, such as parametric and generative design, to create their forms. But, architects should be mindful of potential problems inherent in the maintenance of one-of-a-kind designs.

One only needs to look at Atlanta’s skyline to see the effects of nature and time on a building’s distinct architectural features. The cylindrical tower of Westin Peachtree Plaza, built in 1976, is an icon of the city of Atlanta, but a tornado on March 14, 2008 damaged many of the building’s glass panels. Today, nearly eighteen months later, the building’s glazing is still blemished by missing glass, although Westin Peachtree Plaza’s glass panels are scheduled to be installed by the summer of 2010.

If it takes two years to replace a simple, curving glass panel, how long would it take to repair a very complex skin, such as that on the Yas Hotel, thirty years after its construction? Such complicated building systems should have a method for maintenance and repair, especially in case a catastrophe occurs. Otherwise, the damaged structures will be razed, and the intricate designs will be lost.

A simple solution to the problem is to produce multiple copies of the unique architectural elements, for replacement. However, this would increase expense, and the parts would need to be stored.

The standard solution is to document the design and production of the complex system and its parts and provide the documentation to fabrication facilities, if damage occurs. This is an especially time-consuming and expensive solution because the production must reproduce an element within tolerance constraints, without the ability to adjust the system as a whole.

The final solution is to allow an intricate design to evolve and change over time. So, the building system would alter to the needs of the client, as the building was repaired. A form of renovation, this solution would allow the structure to meet the code requirements and styles of the coming decades, while providing a unique, creative solution to the problems of maintenance.

Source: www.examiner.comAuthor: shangyi

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