“Patterns of self-doubt are culturally ingrained from an early age, and are incredibly pervasive among female designers . . . . The everyday patterns of behavior women fall into have insidious and far-reaching consequences. When we undervalue our work and our worth, the people around us don’t see it either.” An insightful essay by Mia Scharphie in The Christian Science Monitor.
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This is the first in a series of articles, intended to help us better explain architecture to non-architects, with the goal of increasing their appreciation of the buildings that give us such joy and wonder and satisfaction. We want people to like the buildings we design, because, speaking candidly, we want them to ask us to design more of them.
Before going too far, it’s perhaps worth asking, “What is the difference, really, between ‘architects’ and ‘non-architects’?” We know that, with only a few exceptions—African termites, Baltimore orioles, Pritzker laureates—architects are people, too. Why should there be, as there so often is, such a great divergence in our likes and dislikes? We might suppose that our likes are shaped by our understanding—that architects like certain things because we understand their value, while other people don’t. That’s a good beginning. One thing we can do is to identify valuable things about buildings and demonstrate them to people. Improving how we do so is one of the aims of later installments in this series.
Yet, a litany of valuable features, however well explained, is unlikely to overcome objections of the sort, “Yeah, but I still think it’s ugly.” To get our heads around such objections, we must grapple with ideas that may make us uncomfortable, like “beauty” and “taste.” We needn’t dig deeply into philosophy—Edmund Burke’s distinction between the sublime and the beautiful has its place in architectural thought, but it’s not here, in the workaday task of nurturing a public appreciation of design. What we do need is a sober appreciation of how people come to have the preferences they have and—as importantly—how we architects have come to have the ones we have.
The distinction between “architect” and “non-architect” is only partially due to our differing bodies of knowledge. More fundamentally, it involves different habits of mind and, sometimes, quite contrary values. Architects think in ways that other people don’t, and we often value things that other people don’t. Our values and ways of thinking could certainly be put to better and wider use in our society, were we better able to demonstrate their benefit; but there are also limits to their applicability. We sometimes forget those limits, supposing that we always know best.
So, we might begin by adopting an attitude of humility or—if we’re feeling too damned humble already—of critical self-reflection. Rather than start with the assumption that our task is to remedy the deficits in non-architects’ understanding of design, we might ask how our own understanding has been shaped and perhaps skewed by professional education and training—more broadly, by professional acculturation.
Try to remember your earliest days in architecture school. After the obligatory lecture on how hard the course of study is going to be and how poorly you’re going to be paid once it’s done (a lecture that practically guarantees that anyone with any business acumen whatsoever will transfer to another major), you probably began your design studies with an exercise that, at the time, was unexpected. You may have been asked to build a three-dimensional interpretation of a painting, or to make a collage out of found objects, or to draw with a pencil held between your toes.
A common goal of such exercises is to de-familiarize the subject matter of architecture, and it’s a fine and possibly necessary step in a design education. We grow up with such intimate and yet inattentive experience of buildings that, if we are to acquire a systematic understanding of how they work, we need to gain some distance, some perspective. Accordingly, beginning students in a professional degree program are rarely asked to design something normal and familiar, like a single-family home.
Often, the attitude of de-familiarization is reinforced throughout the professional design studio sequence, programmatically, as in assignments that invoke uses like “a house for an acrobat”; and critically, in the insistence that normative responses be rigorously questioned and, by implication, avoided. While a powerful goad to thinking, this attitude has at least two dangers. The first is that it tends to instill a distrust of, even a disdain for, the familiar. Rather than merely thinking, “Avoiding the familiar is a useful way to learn about the properties of architecture,” we think, “Avoiding the familiar is a necessity for designing good buildings.” We transform a pedagogical tool into a design standard.
The second danger is that we may fail to realize that, at the same time we are questioning the average person’s experiences of buildings, we are ourselves becoming attached to a set of experiences that we will cherish as much for their own newfound familiarity as for their objective qualities. While we might like to think that our appreciation of the Villa Savoie or the Thermal Baths at Vals is purely the product of reasoned inquiry, it is in fact as much a product of our familiarity with these buildings as is our non-architect friends’ preferences for whatever buildings they enjoy. It turns out familiarity does not breed contempt, except in relation to our in-laws.
Many psychological studies have demonstrated this phenomenon, which is known as the “exposure effect,” or, in social psychology, the “familiarity principle.” In one such study, participants were asked to look rapidly through a really, really big series of photographs and to say which ones they liked. They might have surmised that the study was looking for commonalities in the qualities that people like in photos, but it wasn’t. Instead, it was measuring the impact of familiarity on preference. Deep in the series of photos, images that had appeared earlier were occasionally repeated, but infrequently enough that participants didn’t notice that they had seen them before. Participants reported liking the repeated images with greater consistency than those they saw for the first time. Even with so brief an initial encounter, and with no time for rational evaluation, participants preferred the familiar to the unfamiliar.
We recognize as much in the preferences of young children, who love to hear the same books read over and over. (If my seven-year old son asks me to read Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book one more time, I will go insane.) A more compelling demonstration for those of us already condemned to adulthood might be found in popular music. Like most people, I suspect, I have a particular fondness for the popular songs of my youth. I wouldn’t begin to argue that Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” is a better song than Green Day’s “American Idiot,” but I like it better. Is that because I first heard it at a particularly impressionable time, or because I’ve heard it so many times since? Whichever, I had best remember, when I see young people’s eyes roll at my enthusiasm for the dulcet tones of John Fogerty, that they’re not numbskulls. Nor am I; we’re just accustomed to different things.
After our teen years, architecture school is probably the most impressionable time we will experience in our lives, at whatever age we enter it. The intensity of immersion in a community of thought and experience is extraordinary. We emerge from the experience loving certain architects and buildings only partly because of the knowledge we’ve gained of them; we love them, as well, because they have become intensely familiar. We may be able to convey that knowledge to others, but we will have to find ways to work through the differences in familiarity, because those can’t be shared in the same way.
In future installments, we’ll look more closely at how architecture school shapes our habits of thought in ways that may sometimes impede our communication with non-architects. And we’ll look at ways to more effectively share both our reasoned appreciation of buildings and our irrational—but no less true—love of them.
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By all accounts, one of the most valuable benefits of AIA membership is the ability to network with peers. While this occurs at the local level and virtually through the National AIA Knowledge Communities, members have been asking for a way to connect on issues of statewide concern. The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) has been eager to connect members statewide. To that end, the first meeting of CA CRAN will be held on Wednesday, June 4, 2013 from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. , at the San Diego Convention Center. All members engaged in custom residential work are invited to attend, regardless of formal affiliation with the AIA CRAN Knowledge Community.
This meeting will be held in conjunction with PCBC – a gathering of America’s most prominent single family and multifamily builders, developers, investors, lenders, architects, contractors, building scientists, marketers and product manufacturers. Through targeted educational forums, exclusive networking venues, a curated exhibit floor experience, product “matchmaking” sessions and more, PCBC is dedicated to creating better ways for the housing industry to connect and engage.
Click here to register for the CA CRAN meeting
The PCBC show takes place June 5-6 and features a number of educational sessions of interest to the architectural profession as well, most are AIA/CES accredited. Click here for the PCBC Schedule at a Glance.
PCBC has generously provided the meeting space for our CA CRAN meeting and complimentary exhibition passes to all CA CRAN attendees. PCBC has also offered all AIACC members discounted conference registration – all AIACC members will receive a $50 discount on any educational forum or the PCBC Passport by using discount code “AIACC” at check out – click here to register
It is our hope that all members of CA CRAN attendees will be interested attending the meeting and in registering for the PCBC conference.
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Each day complaints are received by property managers at home owners association meetings regarding noise from the neighbors above. Some of these complaints involve airborne noise sources, such as talking, music or plumbing, but many of the complaints are regarding noise from footfalls. In this article we will discuss the descriptors and building standards associated with sound impact insulation and provide some useful tips to solve this design issue in your next project.
To better understand controlling sound within our design it is important to have a basic knowledge of sound properties. When controlling sound it is important to remember it has two components loudness and tone. As designers we use the decibel and frequency. As humans we hear sound as low as 1 decibel and sense pain when it rises above 120 decibels. The typical human voice at conversation level measures 55 decibels at a distance of 5 feet. We also have a tonal range from 20 Hertz to 20,000 Hertz with most of our information communicated to us between 200 Hertz and 8000 Hertz. Humans are more sensitive to high-frequency sound then low-frequency sound. As designers, descriptors used to describe sound within the human environment have taken into consideration both our sensitivities to loudness and tone. The two most commonly used descriptors in multi-family residential construction for the control of noise are the STC and the IIC. Often we find that these two descriptors are misunderstood or interchanged.
There are multiple web sites devoted to unhappy apartment and condominium dwellers sharing their sorrow over their noisy neighbors, they play loud music, sing in the slower, walk around in the middle of the night, and have a loud answering machine. The walls and floors that separate units should be designed to prevent intrusive noise. For airborne sound transmission the descriptor that quantifies this performance is the Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating.
The STC rating is a single number used to describe a materials ability to block sound transmission between two spaces. It can be used to quantify the performance of a wall, window, door or floor. The value is derived from the measured transmission loss (TL) values between 125 Hz and 4000 Hz. This is the typical range of noise generated by people. Though our ability to hear is as high as 20,000 Hz, a wall that successfully blocks sound at 4,000 Hz will block higher frequencies. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) establishes procedures for STC testing under ASTM E336-97, Standard Test Methods for Measurement of Airborne Sound Insulation in Buildings. Measurements are made using a loud, broad-band noise source on one side of an assembly to derive the remaining noise level on the other side. These “receiver room” values are corrected for the room size and reflectivity. Values from these measurements are recorded in 1/3 octave-band values between 125 Hz and 4000 Hz. They are then plotted on a graph with transmission loss (in decibels) on the vertical axis and frequency (in 1/3 octave bands) on the horizontal axis. A fixed curve is then moved vertically to a point where the sum of the values below the curve is less than 32 decibels and that no single value is less than 8 decibels. The single value for the STC is chosen as the decibel value at 500 Hz when the curve has been positioned.
By selecting a wall with a sufficiently high STC rating, and by ensuring it is installed properly, intrusive noise should be completed. Building Codes establish standards for minimum performances for partitions separating residences. For a floor/ceiling assembly between units, an STC 50 is considered the minimum acceptable performance under code in the United States.
In recognizing the need for guidelines that provide higher levels of sound insulation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development created A Guide to Airborne, Impact, and Structureborne Noise Control in Multifamily Dwellings. This comprehensive guide establishes three grades of performance that can be regionally tied to the cost of construction. Under their guidelines a Grade III provides a basic level or “minimum” that equates to local building code. A Grade II performance provides for a significant improvement of 3 – 5 rating points higher than building code, depending on the condition. The highest level, Grade I, is prepared for units associated with “luxury” and improves on a Grade II by an additional 2 – 4 points. This guideline goes further by establishing criteria that is specific to the types of spaces that are being separated. For instance, the rating for a Grade II partition between two bedrooms is an STC 52, while the Grade II rating for separating a kitchen from a bedroom is an STC 55. This adjusted performance addresses the additional noise generated in a kitchen that should be addressed when adjacent to a space used for sleeping.
Typically it is necessary to achieve an STC 52 for the majority of residences to perceive adequate sound isolation.
In reviewing construction documents, efforts can be seen to control airborne noise in the selection of partitions using an STC rating. However, structure borne noise, generated by footfalls, is quite often overlooked. Footfalls can generate noise levels that are highly intrusive. Levels above 50 decibels can be generated to units below from walking on a wood or concrete system. Sound is efficiently transmitted through the structure as vibration and re-radiated as noise using walls and the ceilings as the airborne component.
Impact insulation is needed to control noise that is radiated in the structure from footfalls on floors. Without this insulation, impacts are transmitted directly to the structure, as if we were “knocking on a door”. The vibration is passed into the floor system and down the walls in the space below, effectively creating multiple new sources of sound to try to block below. A common misconception is that increasing the STC performance of the ceiling below can control impact noise. Unfortunately, this method only treats one of the paths and can provide only a limited amount of improvement. In a typical wood frame flooring system with hard surface flooring above, the addition of a layer of drywall will only provide a 3-decibel improvement. Because improving the transmission loss of the assembly does not directly control impact noise, a different descriptor is used, Impact
The IIC rating is a single number used to describe a floors ability to limit noise when excited by impactive sources. Measurements are made using a small “armadillo” like machine that has 5 feet on a single camshaft. When operated, the machine raises and drops a .5 kilogram mass 4 centimeters to the floor in successive uniform impacts. The noise generated from this process is then measured from the room below with the resulting spectrum corrected for the size and reflectivity of the space. The procedure for conducting IIC testing is established under ASTM E989-89 and E1007-97. The measurement is conducted over the 16 octave bands from 100 Hz to 3150 Hz.
Insulation Class (IIC). The IIC rating is used in building code to provide means to limit noise from footfalls between residential units.
This rating allows the comparison of different assemblies to the same reference source. The minimum performance allowed by building codes is an IIC 50. As with an STC rating this level of insulation is not intended to provide comfort for all occupants. It is the minimum and should be used with care. The HUD Guidelines shown in Table 1 provide for different grades of performance. These can be selected based on the use of the source and receiver space to develop a tailored approach to controlling impacts. Isolating a kitchen over a bedroom requires more insulation than a kitchen over a living room.
The Performance of Various Standard Assemblies
To develop solutions for sound and impact insulation to work together, it is a good idea to start with the basic assemblies and their STC and IIC performances for treatment. Table 2 presents a list of standard assemblies showing their rated performances.
Table 2. Acoustical Performances of Standards Floor/Ceiling Assemblies
Impact insulation is best accomplished by preventing the vibration energy from getting into the structure. This method is appropriate in wood frame, concrete metal deck, or reinforced concrete flooring. The most commonly used material is carpet and pad. A typical wood frame floor/ceiling assembly can achieve above an IIC 60 using carpet and pad. For a hard surface flooring finish, a floating floor is used to improve the IIC performance. There are two types of floating floor systems, a locally reactive or a resonantly reactive. With a locally reactive floor, the surface material and the intermediate elastic material damp the impact force. An example is ceramic tile over cork. In a resonantly reactive system, the mass in the floated layer plays an important role. The floating slab is thick and stiff allowing much of the energy to be dissipated within the mass as cylindrical waves spread from the impact. This system is commonly constructed using gypsum topping over an isolation pad. Each of these systems can be used in all forms of construction. However, there are clear advantages for one over the other based on the finish floor surface and the grade of impact insulation desired. This should be coordinated further with the desired sound isolation. For efficiency, one should support the other. Here are some basic rules to follow:
- For a standard 10” floor joist system, always us 3-1/2” un-faced glass fiber insulation, or thicker, in the joist cavity. This will provide a 5-point improvement over an assembly without.
- To achieve an STC 50 or better, the use of resilient channel will provide as much as a 10-point improvement over a system without. To achieve a 4 point improvement in the IIC rating use two layers of gypsum wall board on resilient channel vs. one layer.
- The total mass of the sub-floor and ceiling layer combined should be greater than 5 lb/SF to achieve an STC 52 or better.
Impact insulation can be applied below gypsum topping or on the surface depending on the desired rating and finished floor types. A typical topping thickness for a resonantly reactive system is 1-1/2 inches to prevent cracking, while a ¾-inch layer is required for a 1-hour rated assembly when used directly over the sub-flooring. This added mass of the 1-1/2 inch topping works to improve the STC rating at the same time. For a concrete slab floor, 6-inches is sufficient to achieve an STC 52 without a ceiling system below. Ideally we would prefer an impact system that does not utilize gypsum topping in a concrete floor system considering the STC has been satisfied. For this reason it is important to select the right system and product for the conditions at your project. For impact insulation, one product does not serve all conditions. Solutions vary depending on the performance, type of construction, and finish flooring.
Hard surface flooring areas are the conditions that require the of an impact insulation layer. In wood frame, 10-inch construction where the finish flooring is going to be a mixed-hard surface system throughout, (tile and engineered wood flooring) it is best to use the 1-1/2 inch gypsum topping over an insulation pad and a single layer of wallboard mounted on resilient channel below with glass fiber insulation. This will achieve both a Grade II Standard for both STC and IIC in a stacked floor plan. An additional layer of wallboard below can further improve this performance. Products that have tested in the field and laboratory to achieve this are:
- Cork Sheeting 3/8-inch
- Colbond Enkasonic 9110
This method can also be employed in individual rooms by using the isolator under the gypsum topping under the hard surface area, such as in the kitchen or hall. If the isolation pad is placed in these areas with a dam, to allow the gypsum topping to float without being ground by the adjacent space, the isolation pad can be left out in other area of the housing unit. This will allow the use of a single layer of 5/8”gypsum wallboard mounted on resilient channel below. This method does require additional labor and cost.
In a 10-inch wood frame assembly with ¾-inch gypsum topping on the sub floor, where the finishes are going to be mixed between carpet and hard surfaces a less costly alternative to using 1-1/2 inch topping is available. Using a thin, locally reactive system can achieve a Grade II performance. Each type of flooring finish uses a different impact insulator:
- Ceramic Tile or Marble – Cork Sheeting 3/8-inch
- Sheet Vinyl or VCT – Jumpax
- Engineered Wood Flooring – Sound Muffler or Silent Guardian
In each of these systems it is necessary to use 2 layers of 5/8” gypsum wallboard on the ceiling below with resilient channel to achieve a Grade II performance. The benefits to this type of system are:
- A thinner system for ceiling heights
- Lower overall material and labor costs
- Installation of isolator after kitchen cabinets have been installed
- Transitions heights between different finish surfaces are minimized.
For a tongue and groove wood flooring system in a wood frame assembly, it is necessary to provide mass, as discussed earlier, using plywood, gypsum wallboard, or gypsum topping. To achieve a grade II performance for an IIC rating, it should be floated on a system of sleepers that allow the assembly to be isolated from the structure. Without fabricating a system in the field, we have found only one product designed for this purpose:
- Soundeater – wood strips with fibrous wood product sheets for insulation
Concrete construction solves half of the problem by having sufficient mass in a 6-inch thickness to achieve an STC 52. With this as a start it is relatively easy to achieve a Grade II or even a Grade I standard for STC and IIC performances. By adding a 4-inch airspace, glass fiber insulation, and a single layer of gypsum wallboard the assembly will achieve an STC 58. For impact insulation, the follow options are available:
- Ceramic Tile/Marble – 3/8-inch Cork
- Engineered Wood Flooring – ThinsuLayment, Rudpax, ½-inch shredded rubber
- Sheet Vinyl/VCT – Jumpax
- ¾-inch T & G Flooring – Soundeater
Solving impact insulation within multi-family residential design is a factor of performance, type of construction, and flooring finishes. For each there is a method that will provide the necessary isolation to achieve minimum Building Code and higher. The Project Architect or an Acoustical Engineer can develop solutions for sound and impact insulation. Acoustical Engineers focus on these details by developing system recommendations or field-testing assemblies for performance. Typically the services of a good consultant will more than pay for themselves by providing correct solutions that are evaluated for being cost effective. Once a system has been developed and tested, many Architects are able to incorporate the solutions in future projects. Recommendations to control sound and impact insulation should contain details for lighting penetrations, use of resilient channel, resilient caulking, and the control of noise through flanking paths in framing. It is also important to consider the transitions between these different finish treatments and the necessary insulation early in the project to deal with heights between corridors and units and within the unit between carpet and hard surfaces. Either way, taking care of noise issues within your project should be addressed before they become issues to further occupants.
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According to the United States Census Bureau, over 54 million people, 19 percent of the United States population, or in other words, one out of every five Americans, are disabled. This statistic represents citizens seeking education, employment, recreation and services and is a population with great economic as well as political influence. This population shares the same civil rights, and expectations to equal opportunity for themselves and their families.
As an architect, considering the history of response in the built environment to serving the needs of twenty percent of the American population, I must ask if the profession’s use of regulation instead of a design focused approach, has given us what some consider disappointing results. Some years back, the term “universal design” was coined in order to better address the complex issues surrounding accessibility. As architects we can do better by remembering our primary contribution to the built environment. DESIGN, not compliance is what creates great environments and successful communities. In approaching our work we must remind ourselves that none of us should be content with doing just enough to get by.
California has a long and respected history in the area of equal access to public facilities, beginning in 1968. In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act became the law of the land, and in California was reinforced in 1992 with the Unruh Civil Rights Act. All of these laws have emphasized that it is the responsibility of business to provide full and equal access to public facilities. Despite the long policy history, further refined by regulation, persons with disabilities continue to be denied equal access in many instances.
To address these issues, the California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA) was established in legislation in 2008 as a 17 member Commission, consisting of 11 public and 6 ex officio members appointed by the legislature and the Governor. It is made up of business, disability, legislative and public agency representatives, brings together the experience and knowledge required to best guide the development of resources and educational materials needed by the business community with the goal of access for all in lieu of legal claims.
The bill also required the State Architect to create the Certified Access Specialist (CASp) program and defined the role of the CASp in providing inspections. In 2012 the Legislature amended the original legislation requiring that the CCDA shall make a priority of the development and dissemination of educational materials and information to promote and facilitate disability access compliance. The bill additionally requires the CCDA to work with the State Architect and the Department of Rehabilitation to develop these materials for use by businesses.
The CCDA is working hard to assist both the architectural profession and the business community in California to provide access for all.
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In California, building efficiency standards are updated on a three-year cycle. The most recent update is set to take effect in January 2014. In an editorial last summer, The Sacramento Bee called the changes implemented in this revision “historic,” because they will vastly improve the efficiency of California’s buildings.
Among the revisions is one that will affect commercial fenestration. The new standard will update the allowable methods for demonstrating energy code compliance for site-built fenestration on nonresidential projects.
Under the new standard, the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) Component Modeling Approach (CMA) will be one of two compliance options for U-factor and solar heat gain requirements for nonresidential buildings with more than 1,000 sq. ft. of site-built windows and other fenestration. The other option will remain the default values from the California Energy Commission (CEC). This is a significant expansion of the CMA option from the compliance approaches currently in effect, which require NFRC’s CMA or the CEC’s default values for nonresidential buildings with more than 10,000 square feet of site-built fenestration. Next year, CMA will become the preferred option for many more nonresidential projects.
Benefits of CMA
NFRC, a non-profit organization that rates the energy performance of windows and other fenestration products, created CMA with the goal of simplifying code compliance for site-built or -assembled fenestration. CMA uses a software program that calculates energy performance ratings for nonresidential fenestration. The program allows users to create a product on their computers using performance data from pre-approved glazing, frame, and spacer components to generate whole-product ratings. Once the preliminary ratings have been certified, NFRC issues a single CMA Label Certificate that lists the energy performance ratings for all NFRC-rated products on a given project. This document can be used to demonstrate that the ratings meet energy code requirements.
It has been proven that using CMA instead of CEC’s default values can provide an increase in energy compliance margins. A study in California in 2010 compared CMA values to the CEC’s default and equation-based values, running simulations on eight building models under conditions similar to each of California’s 16 climate zones. The study’s results demonstrated that fenestration modeled with the CMA program could provide an increase in compliance margins by 11.7 percent over the default calculation methods.
With the changes to Title 24’s compliance approaches for site-built nonresidential fenestration, more architects and builders will turn to CMA to demonstrate compliance with energy requirements for windows and other fenestration. To learn more about NFRC’s CMA program, please visit www.nfrc.org/CMA/Default.aspx.
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Located on the UC San Diego campus, the Charles David Keeling Apartments overlook the coastal cliffs of La Jolla and employ a suite of tactics to address Southern California’s pressing environmental challenges of storm water management, water scarcity, and carbon emissions.
Home to 510 students, the apartments are instrumental in the revitalization of Revelle College, the founding college at UC San Diego, by bringing students closer to their core academic buildings. The goal was to provide each student with a distinctive, human scaled home within a large research institution, at a location where they can more fully engage the academic community. This community was created out of the College’s existing components, building on its heritage, and establishing a new gateway at the west edge of the campus.
Three apartment buildings are arranged in a c-shape around a courtyard that creates a new social zone and unites it with the existing 1960s Fleet residences to the east. They adopt elements from the classic campus buildings; exterior walkways, repetitive sun control elements, and a warm color palette, but are firmly rooted in a 21st century aesthetic that unites form and performance. Great lengths were taken to construct the buildings with high quality, cast-in-place white concrete to visually tie them to the existing architecture.
The building arrangement is also part of the cooling strategy for the buildings, which rely on coastal breezes instead of mechanical systems. The effectiveness of the buildings’ shape and arrangement to capture prevailing winds was verified through computational fluid dynamics to analyze air movement, and wind tunnel testing ensured that the window size and unit design would provide occupant comfort without air conditioning. Solar heat gain is controlled with deep overhangs on the southern facades and industrial fiberglass shading on the west, oriented at different angles. The layering of the systems creates visual depth in the facade that varies throughout the day as lighting conditions change.
The Keeling Apartments are the first student housing in the University of California system and the first new building at UC San Diego to receive a LEED Platinum rating. They are a pilot for future campus development on a number of fronts, including establishing methods for leasing energy-saving equipment from an outside entity, managing storm water, recycling water, specifying materials that will not deteriorate, and providing engineered natural ventilation that is proven to work. The project introduces green roof technology, uncommon in this area due to water requirements.
Heating efficiencies are achieved by thermal mass and by an innovative, backwards-constructed rain screen and air barrier exterior wall that reduces heat loss and water vapor infiltration. Any needed mechanical heating is provided by a localized arrangement of individually controlled radiant panels. Lighting energy demand is largely met by day lighting, and is complemented in public spaces with occupancy-controlled lighting systems. On-site renewable energy comes from a rooftop photovoltaic array, the first PV system at the college to be funded through the local utility’s innovative lease program.
Water, a scarce resource in this region, is managed with a comprehensive strategy of conservation and reuse. Conservation measures include water efficient landscaping and plumbing; and on-site wastewater recycling, a pilot project for the school, provides landscape irrigation water at grade and for the planted roof. Storm water flow into the ocean is remediated with a system of landscape bioswales and retention basins that reduce storm water quantity, delay peak water flow, and control flooding in this region of the campus and with the added benefit of reducing erosion of fragile coastal scrub arroyos, a particularly threatened ecosystem.
The most significant reduction of energy on this project comes from the elimination of air conditioning based on scientific validation of the effectiveness of the proposed design. Both building mass and envelope are designed to manage solar gain and nighttime cooling and to ensure effective natural ventilation.
KieranTimberlake is an internationally recognized firm established in 1984 and a leader in practice-based architectural research and environmentally innovative buildings. The firm’s partners, Stephen Kieran, FAIA, and James Timberlake, FAIA, have co-authored five books on architecture. The firm works with cultural, civic, education, government, and private residential clients nationally and abroad. Common to their projects of incredibly diverse circumstance is that each begins with a question, and continues its development within a culture of continuous asking, thus ensuring that design results from deep investigation before a formal design solution is conceived. They can be reached at kierantimberlake.com.
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Coffee Bar Embarcadero Architect: Jones | Haydu Location: San Francisco, California
Hulett Jones, AIA and Paul Haydu, AIA are the team behind the San Francisco based boutique firm Jones Haydu. Recently, the two were hired to design a retail outlet for Mr. Espresso, a Bay Area institution, who viewed their project as an outlet to explore the myriad of ways (both traditional and contemporary) that espresso and coffee are made.
The overarching goal of the client was to open a cafe that could provide a slow food experience in a very fast paced environment—on pace, or better, with the established coffee chains. Both budget and timeline were tight, but sustainability was still top-of-mind, as well: the maple plywood is FSC certified, and the lighting is all high efficiency fluorescent and LED, on dimmers.
Design highlights include:
- Generous space behind the counter to accommodate more baristas
- Drink preparation is visible to highlight the artistry involved
- More complicated drinks take center stage, on the lower platform bar top, thus involving the customer in the theatricality of the process
Jones Haydu removed the 2×2 lay-in acoustic tile ceiling, revealing the original, lofty space. The maple plywood provides a dramatic backdrop for the artistry happening on the countertops and serves as a proscenium over the stage. The concrete floor wraps up to meet the plywood where the action takes place, to draw the viewer’s eye to the stage.
J. Hulett Jones was raised in Dallas and attended University of Texas in Austin. A native of New Haven, Paul Haydu attended Yale and the University of Texas. “Our specialty lies in working with clients that have programmatically rich projects,” say Jones. “We are very much generalists, but our clients come to us because our designs are specific to them, their program, the site, their budget, and their experience.” The two are both educators as well. Jones has taught at Cal Poly SLO and CCA, while Haydu has taught at Cal Poly SLO. They are reachable at http://www.joneshaydu.com.
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Architects have one more reason to celebrate this holiday season. In a case decided this past month, the California Court of Appeals held that architects are protected from liability arising from injuries caused by patent (i.e., obvious and apparent) defects, once work is accepted by the owner, under a doctrine which the courts have commonly referred to as the Complete and Accepted Doctrine. Until this decision, the Completed and Accepted Doctrine has only been held to protect contractors.
In 1996, the California Court of Appeals for the Second District, bucking a trend in California cases which had, since the early 1960s, viewed contractors in the same light as sellers of goods—that is, that contractors, like sellers of goods, are liable to anyone who might foreseeably be endangered by their negligence—adopted the Completed and Accepted Doctrine in the case Sanchez v. Swinerton & Walberg Co., 47 Cal.App.4th 1461 (1996).
Under the Completed and Accepted Doctrine, once an owner accepts a contractor’s work, the contractor’s liability for injuries resulting from patent (i.e., obvious and apparent) defects, as opposed to latent defects (i.e., defects which are not obvious or apparent), ends.
In a later case, Jones v. P.S. Development Co., Inc., 166 Cal.App.4th 707 (2008), the Second District expanded the Completed and Accepted Doctrine to both private and public works projects, as well as to portions of work accepted by an owner when the contractor is continuing to work on other parts of the project.
The Neiman Case
In the most recent case coming out of the Second District, Neiman v. Leo A. Daly Company, Case No B234537 (October 30, 2012), the California Court of Appeals has now extended the Completed and Accepted Doctrine to architects.
In Neiman, Leo A. Daly Company (“LAD”) entered into an agreement with the Santa Monica Community College District (“District”) in 2004 to design a theater arts building. Construction of the main theater stage (“Main Stage”) was completed on June 15, 2006. Thereafter, on May 30, 2008, Ellen Neiman was injured in the Main Stage as she descended a flight of stairs.
Neiman sued and named LAD as a defendant, alleging that LAD had “negligently, recklessly and carelessly designed, manufactured, lit, constructed, inspected, managed and maintained the Main Stage” by failing “to adequately and sufficiently light the stairway of the Main Stage and to properly mark and delineate the stairs of the Main Stage,” which caused her to fall and injure herself.
LAD later filed a motion for summary judgment, in which it argued that it could not be liable for Neiman’s injuries under the Completed and Accepted Doctrine. According to LAD, the Main Stage was completed and accepted by the District in June 2006, long before Neiman’s accident in 2008, and the alleged defects were patent and apparent by reasonable inspection by the District. LAD, did, however, concede that the plans had called for contrast marking stripes on the stairs, which were never applied. The trial court granted LAD’s motion for summary judgment.
On appeal, Neiman argued that whether the lack of contrast marking stripes was a patent or latent defect was an issue to be determined at trial and was not appropriately raised by way of a motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals acknowledged that the completed and accepted doctrine does not apply to latent defects:
- [W]hen a contractor completes work that is accepted by the owner, the contractor is not liable to third parties injured as a result of the condition of the work, even if the contractor was negligent in performing the contract, unless the defect in the work was latent or concealed. [citation omitted.] The rationale for this doctrine is that an owner has a duty to inspect the work and ascertain its safety, and thus the owner’s acceptance of the work shifts liability for its safety to the owner, provided that a reasonable inspection would disclose the defect. [citations omitted] Stated another way, “When the owner has accepted a structure from the contractor, the owner’s failure to attempt to remedy an obviously dangerous defect is an intervening cause for which the contractor is not liable.” [citation omitted.] The doctrine applies to patent defects, but not latent defects. “If an owner, fulfilling the duty of inspection, cannot discover the defect, then the owner cannot effectively represent to the world that the construction is sufficient; he lacks adequate information to do so.” [citation omitted.]
However, explained the Court, while it was undisputed that the plans had called for contrast marking stripes on the stairs, the absence of the stripes was “obvious and apparent to any reasonably observant person” and was not a latent defect as a matter of law:
- There is no evidence indicating [that the District], who contracted for the work and participated in the walk-through on June 15, 2006, did not have access to the plans and specifications. The alleged defect is “patent as matter of law; it would be discovered by an inspection the owner would make in the exercise of ordinary care and prudence” [citation omitted], in ensuring that obvious safety measures called for in the plans and specifications were completed. This is not a concealed or hidden defect—a latent defect—which the owner would not discover by reasonable inspection. [citation omitted.]
Neiman next argued that whether the Main Stage was “completed” was also an issue to be determined at trial and not by summary judgment. According to Neiman, the project was never completed, because the contrast marking stripes were required by the plans, LAD did not make a final observation and certification that the project complied with the plans, and LAD did not submit as-built drawings showing the absence of the striping as required under its contract. The Court disagreed, stating that whether or not LAD was negligent in performing its contract “is irrelevant in application of the completed and accepted doctrine.”
Finally, Neiman argued that the completed and accepted doctrine does not apply to architects. Again, the Court disagreed, stating that, “Neiman has not cited any authority holding that the completed and accepted doctrine does not apply to architects.”
Although the Sanchez, Jones, and Neiman line of cases all come out of the Second District Court of Appeals, and sophisticated plaintiffs counsel may argue that they should be limited to cases within the jurisdiction of the Second District and that they are arguably contrary to an earlier California Supreme Court decision in Stewart v. Cox, 55 Cal.2d 857 (1961), which held that contractors should be liable to third-parties for negligence which causes a reasonably foreseeable danger to them, Sanchez and Jones have never been overturned, and, with the addition of Neiman as additional citable precedent, it appears that establishment of the completed and accepted doctrine throughout California is well underway.
Garret D. Murai is a partner and construction attorney at Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP in Oakland, California. He represents property owners, design professionals, contactors, and sureties in a wide range of construction matters from contract negotiations through trial. In a former life (i.e., the happy go lucky days before law school), he worked as legislative assistant at AIACC. He is the author of the construction law blog—California Construction Law Blog—www.calconstructionlawblog.com.