The latest news on New York architecture.

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Foundation Reconstruction and Repairs

Time and construction often take their toll on buildings. Older buildings often cannot handle modern construction or elements and need to be repaired or reinforced. Vault and foundation reconstruction is a procedure that has the potential to be very costly. Some buildings require to be reinforced rather than be totally reconstructed, but this is not always the case. Many reasons surround the need for foundation reconstruction and many solutions exist to aid in this reconstruction.

Why a Foundation Needs Repair or Reconstruction

There is a multitude of reasons as to why a building needs routine repairs and reinforcements. A bulged or cracked wall is an indication that the very foundation of a building is not very solid. Professionals are able to detect the means necessary to repair or reinforce these cracks. However, if a problem cannot be addressed without excavating a wall or foundation, reinforcement is out the window and the need for the entire reconstruction of the foundation is in.

Of course, it is far more costly to reconstruct a foundation than it would be to repair or reinforce it. This often deters people from allowing the reconstruction to be done. It is important to note that an entire building can crumble if the foundation is not stable or properly built to support it. A one-time cost is surely better than a long-term or permanent problem.

Pilasters are common tools for repairing a building's foundation. Pilasters are typically preventative measures to take against a foundation cracking further. They add stability to a foundation that does not have a lot of damage.

Steel I and U-beams are used on foundations with minor damage as a result of movement. They are like pilasters and they add stability to a foundation. They also assist in preventing further damage.

Foundation anchors are used in more serious circumstances. These tools anchor a damaged wall to surrounding soil. This, of course, prevents movement and further damage from taking place.

To conclude, vault and foundation reconstruction or repairs are necessary for all buildings. Historic buildings especially need constant maintenance to ensure that common damage does not have the potential to become a more serious problem.

For more information on vault and foundation reconstruction, please contact us today.

Raising awareness of the harmful effects of using our natural resources in the large amounts that we do has become the norm in today's society. People have changed the way that they use energy--including how they design buildings. Renewable energy roof designs are incredibly beneficial to both the environment and to property owners. Areas like New York City have been taking advantage of these roof designs and the effects of doing so are proving to be endless.

Renewable energy roofing is typically constructed with solar panels. These panels collect the sunlight throughout the day, which drastically cuts the cost of using electric lights in houses, stores, office buildings, and even hospitals. Studies have also shown that this method has improved the general mood of humans as a result of the vitamin D produced by the sun. This, of course, stimulates productivity in the workplace and improves the overall quality of living for all people.

It is no secret that the use of solar panels drastically reduces carbon footprints, as well. This renewable energy has also proven to reduce the heat island effect experienced in urban areas. This effect is when urban areas are significantly warmer as a result of human activities. Reducing the effect allows areas to remain populated and busy without further harming the environment.

Financially, this style of roofing saves property owners heating and electric costs, which is crucial in snowy, rainy New York City. Renewable energy roof designs also increase property value and are generally appealing in all aspects.

For more information on green roofing, renewable energy roofing, or our other services, please contact us today.

When you hear the term interior design, what comes to mind? If you think that interior design is all about decor, you're only half right. Here are a few things you need to know about the art of NYC building interior design:

Some architects are interior designers, but not all interior designers are architects

Architects and interior designers are well-trained professionals, and both must be licensed to work in the state of New York. Each is an integral part of any new home project. Their jobs coordinate, but do not entirely overlap.

Architects are responsible for program planning. Architects put together floor plans and room adjacencies. It is the architect who facilitates the 'flow' between rooms. It is also the architect who analyzes the environment of the site. An architect ensures code compliance and coordinates team members to manage the integration of technical structural systems such as electricity and plumbing.

Interior designers coordinate with architects to plan indoor spaces. An interior designer may help to select building materials and colors to be incorporated in the architect's elevations. Flooring finishes, cabinetry, door styles, task lighting and fireplaces may be selected by the interior designer.

If the person for whom a structure is being designed has specific furniture in mind, the interior designer will collaborate with the architect to design room layout and facilitate traffic patterns.

When you choose Scott Henson Architect to be your design firm, you enjoy the ease of working with one company that manages every aspect of architecture and interior design. We specialize in creating structures that are beautiful, sound and highly functional.

If you'd like to know more about building interior design in New York City, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Throughout the centuries, man's story has been represented in many aspects. Whether it is through his ancient writings, artifacts or in archaeological sites, man's imprint is undeniable.  With each new discovery, another chapter unfolds shedding more light on the everyday lives of our ancestors. 

History has, for the most part, dictated the styles, construction modes and uses of homes throughout the world. Each building, from our past, has a story to tell. Commercial buildings can represent the industry that was prevalent during a particular era, while residential homes can portray the wealth or poverty of the region or time.  During the early periods of history, timber was a common use for constructing homes. As time went by, new means of construction material came into use, such as, brick, stone, steel, etc. The introduction of these materials meant man could rethink the building process and construct even more structures suitable to his current needs.

Through the preservation of historic structures, we can study the different periods of our history and allow ourselves a look into our past. These structures are used as a time capsule in order for us to learn the techniques and materials utilized by the craftsmen of the time. These invaluable lessons are essential when it comes to the preservation of historic buildings.

It is extremely important that we preserve our old buildings. They truly are our connection to our past, and here at Scott Henson Architect, we are committed to preserving the historical integrity of historic structures.   

Please contact us if you have any questions about our services or if you are ready to take on a historic building project. 

The purpose of sustainable architecture is to: "eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skillful, sensitive design." 

Considerable thought about how the project will affect the environment begins the sustainable design process.  Beyond eliminating adverse environmental impact, any sustainable design must create projects that are meaningful innovations that can shift behavior; a dynamic balance between economy and society, generating long-term relationships between user and building, which is respectful of the environmental and social differences.

Relieving over-stressed resources requires reducing pressure on them, not continually increasing them, whether more efficiently or not. Best is a greater reliance on natural materials that are compatible with the environment.

Sustainable applications and principles require the use of:

  • Non-toxic, energy-efficient and sustainably produced materials.
  • Emotionally durable architecture to reduce the consumption and waste of resources which increases the relationship durability between people and the design.
  • Design influence measures for total carbon footprint and life-cycle assessment of the resources based on sustainable standards.
  • The Constructal Law, which is a physics principle that urges the use of sustainability and evolutionary design in general.

Globally supported, the concept of sustainable design is the ultimate environmentally responsive goal. Any person looking to construct a building from the ground up or remodel an existing building should seek out the advice of a professional architect. Not any architect, but one who is respectful of sustainable design. The interdependence between human design and the impact on the natural world demands co-existence in a healthy, supportive and lasting way.

Scott Henson, a full-service Architectural firm, knows sustainable design. Ask how he can update your environment in a responsible way. Contact Scott Henson today.

Imagine an umbrella large enough to protect a roof. While that would be interesting, a better solution for protecting roofs against water damage is membrane roofing. Membrane roofing is typically for flat roofs and was invented approximately forty years ago as a means to prevent leaks and general damage that buildings often suffer from water exposure. Famous New York City, of course, is a flat roof haven in which membrane roofing is essential.

Membrane roofing is typically made of synthetic rubber. This type of roofing can also be made of modified bitumen and thermoplastic, as well. Membrane roofing simply serves as a barrier for water. Leaks and flat roofs go hand in hand, but it is important to note that roof leaks are far more than a nuisance. 

A leak is part of a cycle that results in many leaks. Multiple leaks often result in the entire collapse of a roof in serious circumstances. Of course, this is a huge safety concern that can have devastating consequences for those involved. Surely such a devastating occurrence is incredibly costly, as well. To prevent tragedies much like a roof collapsing, membrane roofing is crucial in areas with heavy precipitation.

Annual rainfall in New York City is typically 44.73 inches. This is nearly 4 inches higher than the national average. Additionally, the average snowfall in New York City is approximately 3 feet. Of course, snow melts and becomes water. These amounts are potential threats to buildings and further validate just how essential membrane roofing is in New York City.

To conclude, membrane roofing is a cautionary measure that prevents disasters from happening. Membrane roofing is essential and incredibly beneficial in places like New York City.

For more information on membrane roofing, please contact us today.

Without a doubt, New York City is the greatest metropolis in the world.  Repeatedly the beauty of the city is affirmed by all who come and experience its magnificence. An architectural marvel, New York City, continues to shape the lives, hopes, and dreams for millions of people. Those who are lucky enough to call this city home, are continuously surrounded by the light, and the movement, and the design that are legends of poetry.

Lucky as they are, the residents of New York City must deal with some harsh realities. Many who live in historic buildings find that elevator problems are common. The elevator stops abruptly, moves haltingly, and then stops short of the hallway floor. The door sticks, and it is evident it is time for an elevator upgrade. While it is desirable to live in a historical marvel, modern life begs for convenience.  Elevator upgrades ensure proper mechanical operation that is essential for safety.

Solutions for Common Problems

The brains of an elevator system are the controller.  Controllers usually last about 25 years and generally are the major component replaced during an elevator upgrade. The newest controllers are microprocessor-based with variable frequency. A Variable Frequency Drive provides for smooth cab movements because the ride begins slowly and then gradually increases and then reduces speed for a gradual stop. There is no reason to put up with an erratic elevator trip when easy solutions are available.

Scott Henson Architect has all it takes to create an elevator design and installation blueprint. Scott knows that every customer, every building, every elevator installation is unique. We get to know our clients and examine the unique specifications of the project. Our goal is to design and plan to deliver the best possible results.

Contact Scott Henson Architect to see how easy it is to upgrade the elevator in your New York City building.

As you consider the implications of new construction, you may be wondering if LEED certification is a financially viable choice for your project. LEED certification allows you to qualify for credits in multiple categories (Sustainable Sites (SS), Water Efficiency (WE), and Energy and Atmosphere).  LEED certified buildings also benefit from increased property values and lower energy consumption.

What is LEED certification? According to the U.S. Green Building Council:

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy.

Scott Henson Architect offers design strategies that leverage green building practices as part of our sustainability services.  In turn, these practices add value to a property while reducing energy consumption and improving air quality. For example, we are experts in converting unused roof space into vegetated roof systems, which are greener and more aesthetically pleasing.

The cost efficiency of LEED certification has been verified by a variety of independent agencies.

If you are interested in exploring LEED certification for your building, contact us.

 

All great things require planning. Ancient Rome and the Pyramids did not just come to be. Instead, they were the result of a vision and a plan. Building preservation is subject to extensive planning and has a multitude of factors to consider. While building preservation planning is never actually easy, some buildings or places have fewer things to consider during the construction of the plan.  

It is the responsibility of the owner of a historical place to preserve the history the location offers. Essentially, these people have a duty to keep history alive. This entails a process. Essentially, historic building preservation planning is a process by which the specific needs of historic collections are determined, the priorities to ensure preservation are established, and the resources necessary for proper preservation are identified. This process results in a written, long-range preservation plan. 

This written document includes many subjects and points. Records of not only the current preservation plan are included, but the records of past preservation are incorporated, as well. These records shape the overall future of the historical collection. 

In addition to the past and present records, a needs assessment survey is incorporated into the overall plan. The needs assessment survey determines the needs of the place and the actions necessary to meet these needs. Typically, one assessment survey is sufficient, but historical places such as museums need multiple surveys as they have multiple historical collections. 

All historic building preservation planning must evaluate the policies, practices, and conditions of the historic property. Additionally, all plans must include the current state of the historic collections and describe how to improve their conditions. The plans must also highlight how to preserve their history in the long-term.  

To conclude, historic building preservation planning must identify the needs of a historical place, item, or collection. The plan must then organize and prioritize these needs to ensure the solid preservation of something's history. For more information on historic preservation planning, contact me today.

It didn't take long for experts to start speculating about the cause of a devastating balcony collapse in Berkeley CA last summer. Six young people lost their lives in the horrific accident, and many others were seriously injured, when the balcony sheared away from the structure and flipped the occupants to the ground five stories below. The fact that the accident may have been averted with proper balcony maintenance and repair is more than chilling.

In Los Angeles Times article dated June 16, 2016, Oakland structural and civil engineer Gene St. Onge was quoted as saying “It appears to be a classic case of dry rot, meaning water intruded into the building and rotted the wood. It gave way. It didn’t have enough residual strength, and it failed.”

Evidence shows that not all requisite flashing was installed when the Library Gardens apartment complex was erected in 2007. There may have been other structural defects, as well. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office is currently leading a criminal investigation into the June 2016 accident, says the San Jose Mercury News.

No matter who is ultimately found to be culpable, the facts indicate that this horrible occurrence could have -and should have- been prevented. Could the same sort of thing happen in New York City? You bet it could. There are thousands upon thousands of balconies in the city, and each of them ought to regularly inspected and maintained.

If you are planning to build in NYC, or if you would like to schedule a thorough examination of your balconies, please contact us without delay. We are Scott Henson Architecture, and we can coordinate your inspection and perform every sort of requisite maintenance and repair.