Tag: Building

Group Writing: Build It and Who Cares If They Come or Not

 

folly, (from French folie, “foolishness”), also called Eyecatcher, in architecture, a costly, generally nonfunctional building that was erected to enhance a natural landscape.

I’m in the building business.  I spend the day in concrete, steel, wood, foundation designs. It’s a means to an end though. The structures serve to educate (schools), manufacture (industrial), entertain (state park work), sell (retail), or praise (churches). Schedules are tight and budgets tighter. Savvy owners want to maximize their dollars and architects want to throw in some flourishes. They program each square foot for efficiency.  There is a very real sense of ‘build it and they will come.’  It’s good work if you can get it.

Member Post

 

December 16, 2006: It was one step forward and three steps back when it came to settling into the house–but perhaps a leap ahead in character development. (Read Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here,  Part V here,  Part VI here,  Part VII here,  Part VIII here,  Part IX here, Part X here,  Part XI here,  Part XII here, and Part XIII here.) Preview Open

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Why Can’t America Build Things Anymore?

 

If you listen to some gloomy experts, you might think that pandemic paranoia will always be with us. Fear of the next outbreak will cause us to abandon our cities, give up the pleasure of dining out, and never again attend a concert or sporting event. Our circumstances will be permanently reduced.

But famed technologist and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen is saying something much different, which perhaps explains why his short essay, “It’s time to build,” is having a moment. Published last weekend, it’s become a must-read among Washington wonks and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. In the piece, Andreessen blames the world-crippling coronavirus outbreak on a lack of action as much as a lack of foresight. We’ve all simply failed to create a 21st-century society capable of building the future we want. Not only don’t we have a pandemic monitoring system in place, we also haven’t built affordable housing in our most productive cities or fleets of supersonic jets or thousands of zero-emission nuclear reactors. Hyperloops? Right now we’re having trouble manufacturing cloth medical masks and cotton swabs.

Andreessen’s call-to-arms conclusion: “Our nation and our civilization were built on production, on building. Our forefathers and foremothers built roads and trains, farms and factories, then the computer, the microchip, the smartphone, and uncounted thousands of other things that we now take for granted, that are all around us, that define our lives and provide for our well-being. There is only one way to honor their legacy and to create the future we want for our own children and grandchildren, and that’s to build.”

The New York Wrecking Ball

 

A NYC judge has ordered that the top half of the nearly-completed 200 Amsterdam building be lopped off.

New York City’s dicey legal system has garnered some more unwelcome publicity lately. In January 2019, Judge W. Franc Perry held that the building permit issued for the construction of the high-rise on 200 Amsterdam Avenue had been issued illegally, even though the developer had complied with all the applicable rules that the City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) required for a permit. The shoe dropped when 13 months later he ordered the developer to lop off the top half of the 52-story building in order to bring it in compliance with the zoning code.

Just how did this sorry spectacle come to pass? As my NYU colleague Roderick Hills wrote in City Journal, the permit had been issued in 2017 pursuant to a 1978 guidance of the DOB, known as the Minkin Memo, which stated “a single zoning lot … may consist of one or more tax lots or parts of tax lots.” In ordinary English, this cryptic ruling was universally understood to allow a developer to assemble one buildable lot out of many separate tax lots, which developers had done successfully 28 times since 1978.

Member Post

 

When you build a new house, then thou shalt make a parapet for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thy house, if any man fall from thence. (Deut. 22:8) This is common sense, right? “Be safe” is the message. And the example given is protecting people on flat roofs from falling off the […]

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Member Post

 

It occurred to me with all the new members lurking around here it might be time to break out another question and answer post about that magnificent building material – Concrete.  In the first post: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Concrete, I was surprised at how many people had questions both about concrete in […]

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Concrete* (But Were Afraid To Ask)

 

In the comments on another post, I mentioned it would be nice if someone talked about concrete — that noble material of the Pax Romana — so I might sound at least slightly knowledgeable on a topic here for once. Sure, it’s not as fun a topic as Same-Sex Marriage or drug legalization, but it may also help me in Dime’s contest this year for worst poster!

A little background: I am one of the owners of a commercial and industrial concrete construction company that does work all across the southeast and as far west as Oklahoma. Yes, it’s exactly as glamorous as it sounds! Concrete is a basically a mixture of cement, aggregate, and water. Yes, cement is an ingredient of concrete, so now you know if someone refers to concrete as “cement” it is appropriate to point and laugh.