Top 5 Things the City of Newburgh Should Do Now.

With several hundred vacant buildings in Newburgh, NY owned by the city, the city needs to take drastic action to stop the decay and reverse the momentum immediately.

While the excuses of lost jobs, crime and the effects of urban renewal can be reflected upon, the lack of motivated intelligent and experienced direction is at the heart of the city’s failures. I too hear the voices of ‘oh I hope someone renovates this majestic structure one day’ and while everyone can share this sentiment it just isn’t enough to affect actual change, for if the city does not drastically modify its approach and attitude all those structures which hold so much potential will eventually need to be torn down, leaving more ‘urban renewal’ effects dotted throughout the city and thus further contributing to the decline of the city. The dam has broken and the water is all but gone.  First step, repair and strengthen the dam in a way that is more self-maintaining, in order to prevent decay or a breach in the future… so the water may once again fill in the cavity.

The following are the five most important things the city can do to begin to stop the negative momentum and change people’s perception of the city as one of opportunity.

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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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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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[architecture] Afghan Cultural Centre 1/24

[architecture] Afghan Cultural Centre 1/24

One human standing on this earth can change the world.
Together, we can change everything for the better of all.

The site location: With a commanding peninsula overlooking the entire valley, this site lends itself to making the most of these spectacular views… Read more

[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre-Board #3 of 3

[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre-Board #3 of 3

This proposal is about these people and their place.  It is not about injecting an edifice that reflects a foreign culture, or afraid and thus hidden underground, but instead echoes the best cultural center that would be appropriate for this place and these people…

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[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre- Board #2 of 3

[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre- Board #2 of 3

This proposal is about these people and their place.  It is not about injecting an edifice that reflects a foreign culture, but instead echoes the best cultural center that would be appropriate for this place and these people…

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[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre Competition Details-Afghanistan

[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre Competition Details-Afghanistan

We want to congratulate to Winning Entry and the top five entries of the international Bamiyan Cultural Centre competition in Afghanistan, and, we acknowledge just how proud we are to be able to participate in this competition. In the coming months we will release… Read more

Post 9/11 High-Rise Planning for the Freedom Tower

Post 9/11 High-Rise Planning for the Freedom Tower

WORLD TRADE CENTER, 9-11-01 Tragedy and our Design Response.

As an Architect and Architectural Designer, I’ve been very interested in what may develop at the World Trade Center Site. Upon review of the 6 alternatives in the July 11th issue of the New York Times, it is very clear to me just who the Architectural firm was who created the schemes were catering to the Developers of the site.

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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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[architecture] A few ideas for an Ideal Subway Station

[architecture] A few ideas for an Ideal Subway Station

Let’s make the world a better place to live in, one twig at a time.

Both inbound and outbound passengers should stand on the same platform, one, in the center and not two with tracks separating them.  Why? Read more