Why is it important to accurately model the land features of your project site with a toposurface?
- What aspects of a building design are most affected by the terrain features?
Because it will have significant consequences with respect to excavation, waterproofing, retaining wall design and construction, and general landscaping. This includes knowing which locations can have entrances and exits without additional excavation, understanding how much of the project will be below grade, knowing the necessary loading for foundations and retaining walls etc. Knowing the accurate topology of the site will allow designers and the construction team to create more realistic plans, and have more realistic expectations of everything from feasibility of various design and construction features to costing and schedule.
When designing a project...
- Should the building adapt to the terrain?
- Or, should you adapt the terrain to the building?
In general, it is a combination of cost and building intent that will determine which to prioritize. It might be more cost effective to place a structure entirely above grade, but that may make for a building that is less integrated into nature or less comfortable to inhabit due to its grade changes. Ultimately, a combination of both aspects should be considered when determining how a project is to be designed.
What considerations affect a project team's decision-making when deciding the floor-to-floor height to use in a multi-story building?
- From a real estate developer's perspective?
- From a designer's perspective?
- From an engineer's perspective?
- From a builder's perspective?
- From an owner's perspective?
What are the advantages of stacking the levels of a multi-story building vertically?
- Can you share an interesting example of a building that doesn’t vertically stack (where the floor plates change their shaped radically between the floor levels)?
- What were the advantages or reasons for non-vertical stacking?
Stacking the levels of a multi-story building vertically makes design and construction easier both architecturally and structurally. Lateral force resisting systems such as shear walls and moment frames also require direct vertical stacking to be effective, which makes a shifting floor plate or layout much more difficult to accommodate.
One example of a tall building with a shifting and organic structure that varies the floor plate from floor to floor is the Mode Gakuen Spiral Tower in Nagoya, Japan. Because of the complexity of its design, it easily achieves a more iconic appearance and draws attention both from tourists as well as members of the AEC industry. Challenging floor plate variations and non-vertical stacking can be daunting challenges but when done well and completed successfully, can greatly enhance the experience of a structure both from the outside as well as the inside. Varying floor plates can allow for changes in views, for varying experiences of space and lighting within the building, and improve the skyline of the region they are located in.
Why do stairs follow specific proportions with a set relationship between the tread length and riser height?
- How can building modeling help prevent the mistakes that often occur when designing and installing stairs?