Analysis of Residential Stair Configurations for Townhouses

Analysis of Residential Stair Configurations for Townhouses

This is a very cut and dry analysis of four different stair configurations that could help generate an additional $54,000 in rental income from a 4 story townhouse type structure just by reconfiguring the stair, touched on in a previous article (which we would recommend reading).  The first option is the traditional townhouse stair, found in most townhouses in New York City.  Often this stair offers stunning architectural detail and should be preserved, but more often than not the original stair has been replaced with a metal stair, due to sagging or some other issue.  Sadly the replacements lack character and often do not fix the underlying issue to why they were sagging and are themselves sagging, causing stress fractures in party-walls at each end of the stair.

The advantages of replacing the stair are simple, it frees up square footage that can be used inside an apartment.  The following compares three different stairs, the traditional, the compact and the ‘extended landing’, and a new comer, the squarish stair which is the best option (< spoiler alert). It is noted as ‘Stair 8’ which reflects the number of versions we’ve studied to get to that point. This ‘best option 8’ is shown in the article ‘The Ultimate Townhouse Floor Plan’ released August 28, 2017, so take a look at that one as well.

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Galvanic Action Corrosion Prevention

A SimpleTwig Article: Galvanic Corrosion, sometimes referred to as Galvanic Action, describes the corrosion to a metal when that metal is in contact, either directly or with the help of a catalyst or another element, with another metal whose characteristics are not complimentary. Often two different metals can come in contact with one another without any corrosion, but some combinations do lead to corrosion and ultimately failure.  This can be critical to prevent ‘rusting’ and unsightly stains, to prevent water penetration when a flashing fails, or to even prevent parts of a building from falling apart when a fasteners like a screws fails.

We take a look at what it is and how to prevent this type of corrosion so our buildings will last many decades longer.

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[winter] Tips for taking care of snow

[winter] Tips for taking care of snow

Every winter, at least those with a lot of snow, we pull out our shovels and get to it. But there are things you can do to make the snow go away faster, and make the job easier…

It goes without saying that removing snow from sidewalks is imperative to keep people safe from falls and make life easier for those pushing strollers, or for old people to get around.  One winter while shoveling my own sidewalk I looked across a street and saw an elderly woman literally stuck at a crosswalk.  There was no way for her to cross as the snow was just too deep. Upon approaching her with my shovel she quickly apologized saying she had to get to the pharmacy.  So I shoveled a path for her to get to the other sidewalk.  It’s just too bad those who lived on those corner lots didn’t take care of this themselves.

So lets get to the tips:

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There will be a Time… Future Homes.

There will be a Time… Future Homes.

There will be a time when there will be a machine, itself larger than a section of a house, that will act like a self running factory.  This machine will extrude a house who’s walls and floors are made of a synthetic new material. Read more

Parental Control for iPhone/iPad, so your child can sleep at night.

Parental Control for iPhone/iPad, so your child can sleep at night.

Is your child going to bed with their iPhone and/or iPad and texting/chatting with friends when they should be sleeping? Are they just on the device too much during the day, and just won’t put down the device to do something else?  Did you know you can use your Mac (and perhaps your PC) to control the times Wifi is allowed to connect to the device, day and night.

The problem hit home for me when my child kept up another child who’s grades suddenly dropped. She mentioned to me that he was having a hard time at school and was always tired.  Well of course. So despite my efforts to make her understand that texting in the middle of the night might hurt her and others, I was put in a position of having to take direct action and control of the situation which had quickly got out of hand.

With the following simple step-by-step instructions, one can set time limits on a daily basis as to when all your devices can connect to the internet, thus making time for other activities, like running, jumping, laughing and family time. You’ll be able to control school night times and weekend times, giving you back the control any parent should always have. Gone are the arguments, the pleading and the rest, resulting in a new reality of a child having to think of something else to do to occupy their time.  Watch how quickly that bedroom gets cleaned up, their willingness to ‘hang out’, etc…

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New Building Planned for 5th and 42nd Street in Midtown’s Heart

New Building Planned for 5th and 42nd Street in Midtown’s Heart

New York Times, July 30, 1992 Giant, 3-D Billboard Planned For Hole at Midtown’s Heart

On a vacant lot at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street – yes, there is a vacant lot at one of Manhattan’s busiest cross-roads – an 85-foot-high, three-dimensional, multimedia, walk-through billboard would rise next year, under plans announced yesterday. Read more

Brick and Masonry Self-Help Guide

Brick and Masonry Self-Help Guide

Spring is upon us and you may be thinking of repairing that winter masonry damage, or sprucing the masonry in your back yard.  Here are some things you should know…

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Real-time Interactive 3d World

Real-time Interactive 3d World

Part of our experiments into digital nature and real time rendering, we explored the idea of creating a virtual world that kids and family could explore together at the same time. These are some of our results.

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[architecture] Building Safer Buildings against Attack

[architecture] Building Safer Buildings against Attack

At this time in our human history it is imperative that we give the ‘Super High-Rise’ a chance of survival. Survival means, re-establishing the public confidence that the new generation of Super High-Rise buildings will be the safest place on earth to be, in case of any human-made or natural emergency.

Because of a High-Rises inherent redundancy, most of these features can be incorporated without additional cost or at a minimal cost. Many of these features will also create a high-rise building that looks great which will increase its value and longevity.

It is time for the development of a new set of priorities for the ‘Super High Rise Buildings of the Future’ now, which will increase the successful egress of all tenants safely in cases of fire. Deal with issues of smoke evacuation, fire suppression, the role of the fire fighter, redundant structural issues, increased weight loads, structural partitioning, egress systems, personal protective measures, structural protective systems, fire control center systems and capabilities, etc.

    • 1 GENERAL FEATURES:
    • 1a Off-Site Command & Control. To protect control center from any on-site emergency. In case of an emergency all personnel should be allowed to exit, the building itself should direct people to the exits.
    • 1b Evacuation and Emergency Access Elevators at perimeter to help install Fire Fighters & evacuate people. Fully sensored for safety.
    • 1c Partitions: Tenant space separated by concrete partitions to prevent smoke, fire, flying debris from entering other tenant spaces.
    • 1d Sensors: Heat and Smoke Sensors will be placed throughout so that at the Command & Control Center, officials can actually engage the danger with remote control of vents, air pressure, announcements offering direction to individuals their best plan for egress, and fire suppression.
    • 1e Egress: Egress stairs should always bring people to the perimeter, away from the site and directly to the exterior, never to the lobby. This can easily be accommodated within high lobby ceilings (suspended corridors) and with the use of building platforms.
    • 2 FIRE/HEAT:
    • BASIC ATTRIBUTES: Heat rises causing ceiling systems to become vulnerable and potential increased spread of fire.
    • 2a Hollow columns w/ vents to keep air cool inside steel.
    • 2b Sensors in columns to display temperatures.
    • 2c Sprinklers throughout plus remote controllable foam hoses nozzles to spray suppressant directly on hot areas.
    • 2d No Dropped Ceilings, instead decorative concrete ceiling with integrated lighting/control systems.
    • 3 SMOKE:
    • BASIC ATTRIBUTES: Smoke rises, working with this fact can help eliminate smoke from a floor allowing more people safer egress.
    • 3a Depressed Typical Core Floor Area: Ramping/Stepping down from the typical tenant space into the elevator core area.
    • 3b Lower ceilings at Core to keep smoke at perimeter of floor.
    • 3c Directing Smoke: Vents at high points of perimeter to evacuate smoke from interior of floors. Sloped and/or stepped ceiling towards perimeter. Using Stair Wells and Core area to supply air pressure to push smoke to perimeter vents.
    • 3d Smoke Break at Exits: Stepping down 6 steps to a Egress Stair before opening the exit door will lower the top of the door preventing more smoke from entering into the stairwell.
    • 3e Seals around Exit Doors: will prevent more smoke from entering stair wells.
    • 3f Change of Visual/Tactile Clues at Exits: Change of floor material (from carpet to tile); addition of floor lights; change of wall material. All will help people find the nearest exit in a heavy smoke condition.
    • 4 STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY FEATURES:
    • 4a Circular Concrete Core to prevent explosions from entering core area, double core section with sand/water/foam interior to absorb impact.
    • 4b Double Exterior Structure on 2 faces of Tower.
    • 4c Arches: Either implied or actual to redistribute load around a catastrophic opening in facade. Inverse arches to redistribute load back to structural members below catastrophic opening(s).
    • 4d Dam Form: Convex facade form to resist impact of Airplane by distributing load to other members.
    • 4e Tensions Wires: on exterior, tension wires to ‘cut’ planes’ impact on structure.
    • 4f Tension Wires: Connected to opposite facade to ‘mass dampen’ any loss of structure on opposite side of tower.
    • 5 FALLING DEBRIS:
    • 5a Stepped exterior to catch all types of falling debris
    • 5b Tower sits on platform like Empire State building. Platform protect pedestrians. Open space plaza setback to protect pedestrians.
    • 5c Roof Structure of platform uses Arch form: Barrel Vault, Dome. Will better withstand impact of falling debris.
    • 5d Stepping and/or platform does not have to be used where the building sits on something that is inaccessible to pedestrians, like a pool, water feature, vegetation, etc.
    • 5e Fire-fighters need to be able to get safely into a burning structure without fear of losing the battle even before they get started.
    • 6 STAIR EGRESS CONFIGURATIONS:
    • Right-hand orientation of turn; Tunnels; Shortening Distance; Larger widths at lower floors; Signage location; Smoke refusal and elevations of landings; Independent floor to floor heights for stairs.

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