Vertical Access Sponsors Architectural Paint Research Conference

 

Organizers of the 6th International Architectural Paint Research (APR) Conference are delighted to announce that Vertical Access has signed on as a sponsor of this year’s gathering. “This conference is a much-anticipated opportunity for professionals and academics to learn from each other and work together to protect and restore irreplaceable historic and cultural artifacts. Vertical Access’ support of this effort is critical to our success,” stated Conference Co-Chairs Mary Jablonski of Jablonski Building Conservation, Inc. and Kirsten Moffitt of Colonial Williamsburg.

The International Architectural Paint Research (APR) Conference will be held from March 15-17, 2017 in New York City on the historic campus of Columbia University. APR is a multi-disciplinary field, and this conference promises to bring together members of this vibrant, international community who include historic paint analysts, scholars, curators, art conservators, materials scientists, decorative painters, preservation architects, heritage managers, contractors, suppliers, preservationists, students, historians, and designers.

For more on the conference: http://www.apr2017.org/

 

American Society of Safety Engineers – 2016 Professional Development Conference and Exposition – Atlanta, GA

ASSE Professional Development Conference & Exposition takes place in Atlanta, GA from June 26 through June 29, 2016.

For more than 50 years, ASSE’s Professional Development Conference has been and will continue to be the direct reflection of what is taking place in the occupational, safety and health industry.

Source: Safety 2016 – Atlanta, GA

Investigating and Understanding the New York State Pavilion’s Tent of Tomorrow and Observation Towers

In April of 2015, the Friends of NCPTT, the World Monuments Fund, the American Institute of Architects St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial partnered to jointly present a symposium on the preservation of Mid-Century modern structures in St. Louis, MO. This three-day event brought experts together to present an in-depth understanding of the history, use, and preservation of materials found in Mid-Century modern architecture.

Evan Kopelson, partner at Vertical Access and Nancy Hudson, associate at Silman,  co-authored the presentation Investigating and Understanding the New York State Pavilion’s Tent of Tomorrow and Observation Towers.  It gives an overview of the New York State Pavilion’s innovative design and engineering, describes the current condition of the Tent of Tomorrow and Observation Towers, highlights the importance of archival research in revealing construction methods and details, and addresses reuse challenges.  The entire presentation is available for viewing below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c53kMDDaDGQ]

About the Speakers

Nancy R. Hudson has 20 years of consulting structural engineering experience. Ms. Hudson joined Silman in 2005 and was named an Associate in 2007. Her projects include the restoration of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Restoration of New York City Hall and Restoration of Wyoming State Capitol. She is a member of the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) and the Association for Preservation Technology (APT). Ms. Hudson has a Master of Science in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Evan Kopelson is an architectural conservator with over twenty years of experience in the documentation and investigation of historic buildings. He is Vertical Access’ partner-in-charge of teams performing existing condition surveys, in situ testing services, and the characterization of building materials and finishes on buildings and bridges. Evan is a member of the ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings, and is a professional associate of the American Institute for Conservation, having formerly served as secretary/treasurer of the AIC’s Architecture Specialty Group. Evan has also served as vice-president of the Western Chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology International.

More presentations from the symposium may be viewed on the NCPTT website.

Update from the 2015 Annual SPRAT Conference

During the first week of February, Keith Luscinski and Mike Gilbert traveled to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for the 2015 Annual SPRAT Conference. Located at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, Cabo’s warm coastal climate was a great location for a winter conference in the eyes of its winter-blues affected attendees.

 

Mike is the Chair of the Standards Committee, the group responsible for all of SPRAT’s published standards. These include Safe Practices for Rope Access Work and Certification Requirements for Rope Access Work. The Standards Committee also has three additional active sub-committees. The Equipment Specification sub-committee is working to create a set of standard requirements for rope access equipment, such as harnesses, helmets, descenders, ascenders and life-safety rope. The Industry Specific sub-committee is developing guidelines on the access methods of various structures. These industry specific documents will not be official standards, but rather “rope access tips and tricks” for structures such as buildings, bridges, dams and wind turbines. Finally, the Company Audit sub-committee is creating a process, by which rope access companies may get certified to SPRAT standards. Currently, SPRAT certifications apply only to the individual technicians.

Keith is also the Chair of the Research Grant Committee. Appointed as the chair last summer, Keith has worked with the committee to develop and implement a system for SPRAT to disburse two $1,500 research grants per year. Looking forward to the coming year, the Research Grant Committee will refine the grant application and selection process, in an attempt to draw a higher quantity of higher quality applications. Along those lines, the committee will also seek outside funding from industry manufacturers to increase the monetary value of the grants.

The second day of the conference was filled with presentations from leaders in the rope access industry. Topics included: the current state of rope access regulations in British Columbia, an engineering analysis of rope access systems, and a presentation by Mike on non-conventional rope access. Mike’s presentation provided an objective view of “outside the box” rope access techniques. Of particular interest was a discussion on “Who will rescue the rescuer?”—a thought provoking dialog about the need for simple rescue systems.

After a few too many days in the sun, many of the conference attendees were sunburned and ready to head home to winter reality. However, the SPRAT organization seems more active than ever, and the coming year should bring interesting progress. Next year, the conference will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, in conjunction with the International Rope Access Rendezvous.

APT 2013 NYC – The Guastavino Vault Workshop

During the recent Association for Preservation Technology (APT) conference — APT NYC 2013 Preserving the Metropolis — Kent Diebolt, Kevin Dalton and Berta de Miguel, from Vertical Access, organized a Hands-on Construction of “Guastavino” Thin Tile Vaults workshop. Other faculty fellows worked in conjunction with VA members: Benjamín Ibarra, Assistant Professor of Architecure UT Austin, Mallory Taub, an Energy Specialist at Arup in San Francisco, David López López, Architect and PhD candidate in the Block Research Group at ETH Zurich, Switzerland and Marta Domènech Rodríguez, PhD candidate in the Architectural Design Department at Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Spain. The team was assisted by Ken and David Follet, from Precon Logstrat, LLC, “consultants with tools”.vault-dwgs

The workshop consisted of building two small tiled vaults: a groin vault and a barrel vault with lunettes. The vaults, of approximately 6×6 feet were built with tiles measuring 7 3/8″ x 3 3/4″ x 5/8″ donated by Boston Valley Terracotta.

The venue for the event was the atelier of Ottavino Stone Corporation, kindly donated by that same corporation, which is celebrating their centennial this year. Additional funding came from the National Center for Preservation Training and Technology through APTI and Vertical Access LLC. We cannot thank our sponsors enough for their support!

The attendees were an interesting group of 21 people from different nationalities and backgrounds such as architects, material specialists, engineers, architectural conservators, preservationists and project managers from companies and organizations such as VanNostrad Architects, UNESCO, Consigli Construction, Superstructures, Built Environment Evolution, Washington National Cathedral, Williamsburg Preservation Tec, Murray Engineering, Alternativist/Urban Earth, Evergreene Architectural Arts, Old Structures Engineering, Bennett Preservation Engineering, Atkinson-Noland & Associates, FGMDA Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet & Associates, Goldsmith Borgal & Company Architects, Heritage Building Conservator, Robert Silman Associates, Building Conservation Associates and and Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates.

The workshop lasted two full days. During the fist day, the forms for the arches were set in place, plumbed and fixed. Next, the tiles of the arches were set with plaster of Paris for the first layer, and mortar cement on the second and third layers. Once the arches were completed, the webs of the vaults started to close the vaults from the arches to the center.

The first layer was set with plaster of Paris due to the rapid setting time (10-15 seconds approximately). During the second day, once the first layer was finished, the attendees, divided in two teams, started and finished the second layer, set up with mortar cement, which confers strength to the structure.

By the end of the second day, everybody took turns standing on the vaults. We all learned a lot from each other and gained an appreciation for the skill that it took to build these full-scale vaults. Finally, and most importantly, we all had a wonderful time.IMGP9925

 

> Watch a video news story about Rafael Guastavino that includes time-lapse footage from this workshop and interviews with Berta de Miguel and Kent Diebolt. The piece was produced by RTVE, a public broadcasting station from Spain.

A portion of our annual contribution to 1% for the Planet helped support this event. Read a short post about how VA got involved with One Percent Print.

Sept 8 – 12 is the Dam Safety 2013 Conference in Providence Rhode Island – Vertical Access at Booth 413

Dam Safety 2013 – September 8-12, 2013
Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, RI

Dam Safety 2013 is one of the leading conferences in the United States dedicated to dam safety engineering and technology transfer.

Kelly Streeter, PE will be representing Vertical Access at Booth #413 and attending sessions.

About ASDSO
The failure of dams and the great destruction and loss of life failures often cause, is a matter of deep concern to the members of the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO). ASDSO is a national non-profit organization serving state dam safety programs and the broader dam safety community, which includes federal dam safety professionals, dam owners and operators, engineering consultants, emergency managers, manufacturers, suppliers, academia, contractors, and others interested in improving dam safety.

source: ASDSO website www.damsafety.org

Guastavino Vault Workshop at APT NYC 2013 Conference

clientuploads/2013_conference_art/P1080599.jpgSponsored in part by a grant from NCPTT Workshop.

Fri, Oct 11, 8:00 – 5:00
Sat, Oct 12, 8:00 – 4:00
Location: Ottavino Stone

“American architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries would often leave empty spaces in their blueprints and simply write, ‘Guastavino here.’ They had faith that Rafael Guastavino would create elegant, highly functional spaces to grace their buildings. Guastavino — part architect, part engineer — was particularly famous for his beautifully crafted, structurally powerful, tiled arched vaults.” (An excerpt – read the full article from the Boston Globe.)

Participants will have the opportunity to construct a variety of simple “Guastavino” vaults. The morning of the first day will involve a demonstration of the construction, after which, teams of approximately six participants will have the opportunity to undertake “hands-on” construction of these vaults. Vaults will be constructed of single, double and triple wythes of tile, and may be load tested at a later date.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Lay out and initiate a simple tile vault
  2. Mix mortars to appropriate consistency and quantities to install both soffit and structural tile wythes
  3. Set soffit and structural tile to progress through multiple-wythe construction
  4. Experience the sequence of construction, including the breaking of joints
  5. Strike and clean joints, particularly in the soffit layer of tile
  6. Develop an appreciation for the craftsmanship that has been lost since the construction of vaults in so many important buildings across the United States

For more details visit the APT NYC 2013 Conference Website

Ultrasonic Investigation for the Characterization and Evaluation of Guastavino Tile Vaults: A Pilot Study

The third biennial meeting of The Construction History Society of America was held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge MA November 2-3, 2012. This scholarly forum is a venue for professionals from a wide range of construction related disciplines to come together to exchange ideas and research findings about their passions for design, engineering, and preservation.

This year, in conjunction with the opening of the exhibit, Palaces for the People: Guastavino and America’s Great Public Spaces at Boston Public Library, all of Saturday’s agenda was devoted to the exploration of  topics pertaining to his work.

VA’s presentation, Evaluation of In-Service Tile Vaults, was based on findings from a pilot study performed on a mockup of a Guastavino vault with simulated faults, such as voids and delaminations, built into the vault as it was being constructed.  The abstract and full report are included below.

Abstract

Presentation by Kelly Streeter, P.E. and Kent Diebolt
3rd Biennial Meeting of the Construction History Society of America
Cambridge, MA | November 3, 2012

In response to aging infrastructure in the United States, nondestructive evaluation (NDE) is increasingly used as a monitoring tool, a method of investigation and in a quality control capacity.  The adaptation of existing NDE techniques to the evaluation of historic architectural and structural materials provides great potential for increasing the information available to professionals evaluating historic structures.

Guastavino ceiling tiles on the south arcade of the Manhattan Municipal Building

Guastavino ceiling tiles on the south arcade of the Manhattan Municipal Building

The process of addressing the significant public safety concerns of aging tile assemblies, such as Guastavino tile vaults, can be complicated by the difficulty of access – the undersides of the tiles often soar over heavily-used public spaces commonly filled with pews and other structures which make temporary scaffolding problematic.  The proposed sounding method examines the feasibility of evaluating Guastavino tile vaults from the top, which would allow architects and engineers to evaluate the vaults from the often easily-accessible attic spaces, thereby reducing the need for expensive and disruptive scaffolding systems for evaluation.  This could also facilitate more frequent periodic inspections.

Engineers evaluating the structural condition of existing tile vaults often need to determine construction details, including combined wythe and mortar bed thicknesses, in order to model vaults. Hammer sounding is frequently employed to qualitatively evaluate the condition of the soffit layer of Guastavino tile.  The ultimate goal of this research path and the basis of this pilot study on the ultrasonic investigation of Guastavino tile vaults was the removal of the aural subjectivity inherent in hammersounding by the quantification of this same phenomenon: the differing acoustic quality of delaminated and bonded tiles.  By capturing and quantifying the impact response of steel hammer taps with an ultrasonic transducer and data acquisition system, the raw signals can be analyzed in the frequency domain using modern computational methods in an effort to characterize vault construction and condition.

Download the full report