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Plumbing is one of the great developments of human civilization!. To turn a faucet handle and have clean, hot or cold running water issue forth is truly a wonderful thing. If you do not think this is wonderful, spend a few days camping!

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plumbing is one of the great developments of human civilization
Plumbing is one of the great developments of human civilization!
  • To turn a faucet handle and have clean, hot or cold running water issue forth is truly a wonderful thing.
  • If you do not think this is wonderful, spend a few days camping!
  • Plumbing in buildings today consists of a ‘system’ of inter-related parts, all of which must be in working order for the system to deliver its wonderful product: water.
plumbing systems include supply lines drain lines water heaters valves filters and other equipment
Plumbing systems include supply lines,drain lines, water heaters, valves, filters, and other equipment

design is about responding to, and meeting, needs.

for good designers the result of this pursuit is the

creation of something that is 'good'. 'good' is a multi-

dimensional characteristic, including things like appropriate

material use, cost and value, energy required to

manufacture, et cetera.


being 'pretty' may, or may not, be a part of being 'good'.

in fact, we often say something 'looks good' precisely because it works well. the 'beauty' of something may lie in, and be revealed as, the working, functioning, of it.

think of a high performance sports car, a well designed, high

quality electric tool, or a high tech, high performance running

shoe. we see these as 'beautiful' because of their refinement,

performance capabilities, and ingenious uses of materials and


this is what we call 'design'

adding a floral pattern to the surface of an object, or a wall, is not design.

the concept of beauty and aesthetics
the concept of ‘beauty’ and aesthetics

an aesthetic of functionality and of production processes needs to be

encouraged, and celebrated, in place of the aesthetic of appearance.

the phrase 'aesthetically pleasing to the eye' is not only lacking in

meaning, but it distracts from the true essence of beauty and of


Understanding and appreciation of something may result in calling it

'beautiful'. Something that looks nice is just that, something that looks


Think of Adolf Hitler dressed in a really nice suit. Perhaps someone

might say "My he looks very nice".

Knowing who Hitler was over rides our ability to say anything positive

about him, and we say "No, he is bad, period." By definition, Adolf

Hitler cannot even look nice, period.

The floral covered plastic water pitcher may be 'pretty' but it is bad

design, period.

What does 'bad design' mean? Potentially many things, including; it is

wasteful of material, of energy to manufacture, it is overly expensive

for what it offers, it does not work well, it is likely to break too soon, et


the gourmet kitchen trend
The 'Gourmet' kitchen trend

The current trend in residential kitchens is to include 'gourmet' or 'chefs’

quality components.

while this may be primarily a ploy to lure people

to spend more money for a kitchen that looks fancy, it also happens to

reveal a range of products that are functionally much better than those

typically installed in a residential kitchen.

The problem with this trend in kitchens is that the cost of the

components, and of the overall kitchen, is too high.

A $6,000 refrigerator, a $5,000 stove, a $7,000 granite counter top, is

too much money to spend for these items, and is a bad way to suggest

that people think about their living environment.

good design does cost money, it will not occur for free, but good design can be, and should be, done at a reasonable level of expense
the virtue of this type of kitchen, a 'commercial kitchen', is that it works well for preparing food, serving, and cleaning up afterwards.
The design and manufacture of kitchen and bath components is, today,

better than ever before.

Components are available that are designed and produced at high

quality levels.

Look through a good design magazine, such as Domus,

Dwell, Metropolis, and you will see many interesting variations of sinks,

toilets, ovens, stoves, and refrigerators.

volts amps watts
volts, amps, watts:

these are the terms that we typically use to discuss aspects of


in fact the true meaning of these terms is very complex.

http www amasci com miscon elect html

for a good explanation of the complexities of electricity, look through this web site.

The generation of electricity is most commonly achieved by converting

chemical energy in fuels or the flowing energy of wind, water, or steam

into electrical energy, using a mechanical turbine connected to a


The force of the fluid causes the turbine to rotate, which in

turn rotates the magnetic field inside the generator to produce



Typically, a fuel such as coal or oil is burned in a

boiler to produce steam.

The chemical energy in the fuel becomes heat energy

as it burns, forming hot gases.

The steam, under great pressure, rushes through pipes

and valves and turns the steam turbine at high speed.

The turbine is made up of blades on a shaft and is driven

by the steam like wind drives a windmill.


'Volts' is generally used to describe the measure

of "electrical pressure" that causes current flow.

(for example, typical residential electric lines have 110 volts)

'Amperes' (amps) is generally used to describe

the amount of electricity in a circuit. (a typical circuit

in a house is described as being 30 amp, or 20 amp, which is a description

of how much current there is in the circuit)

'Watts' is the term used to describe the power used

by a circuit. (for example, a light bulb may use 100 watts of power

to generate the level of light that it produces.)

electric wiring and electric components impact the design of interiors by
requiring space: wires, conduit, and fixtures take

up space; hidden inside walls, floors, and ceilings, or

exposed to view.

requiring coordination: between designers and electrical


adding heat to the space: many commercial environments

always require cooling because of internal heat generated

by occupants, electric fixtures and machines.

electric wiring, and electric components impact the design of interiors by:
genetic stair is made with polished stainless steel white translucent corian and low iron glass
'genetic stair' is made with polished stainless steel, white translucent Corian and low iron glass.

Caliper Studio designed a three thousand square foot duplex apartment renovation in a building on new york's upper west side. their solution removed all existingvertical circulation and connected the two floors with a new feature stair, located centrally in the apartment, free from all walls and supported only at the top and bottom. From

stair design general guidelines
Stair Design: General Guidelines

2R + t = 24-25 inches: this is one standard way to describe the requirements of riser height and tread width in a number of codes.

no more than 3/16" variation between successive risers and treads

Residential stairs:

minimum width = 36"

maximum riser height = 8 1/4"

minimum tread depth = 9"

minimum headroom = 6'-8"

non residential public locations stairs
Non Residential (public locations)stairs:

minimum width of the stairway = 44"

minimum height of riser= 4"

maximum height of riser = 7"

minimum tread depth = 11"

minimum headroom = 6'-8”

maximum distance of travel of 12' in horizontal travel distance(in plan view) without a landing. landings must be as deep as the stair is wide.

stairways must have a landing at the top, bottom, and at

changes of direction

non residential public spaces stairs
Non Residential (public spaces) stairs

handrails must be on both sides of a stair

handrails are to be between 34"-38" above the stair-tread nosing

handrails are to be a minimum of 1 1/2" from the wall/mounting surface

to allow for grasping

outdoor stairs, or monumental stairs do not have to

adhere to the riser and tread requirements of

egress stairs.

the width of an exit stair is calculated in terms of

'exit units' which are 22" units, based on the

idea that one person is approximately 22" wide.


ramps are to be no steeper than 1:12

a ramp may not be longer than 30' without a level landing

ramps are limited to a vertical rise of 30" between landings

the width of ramps shall not be less than the width of exit corridors: a

minimum of 44" (2 exit units)

stair calculation the number of risers and treads in a run of stairs
Stair calculation: the number of risers and treads in a run of stairs

to calculate the number and size of steps in a run of stairs:

identify the required height, from finished floor, to finished floor

divide this height by the approximate height of the riser of one step

since there can be no partial steps, round off any non-whole numbers and divide the rounded number into the height of the run of the stairs.

this number is the accurate size of one riser, to the nearest tenth of an inch.

plug the riser height into the 2R+T=24-25 formula to determine how long each tread needs to be

Let's say that we need a stair to go from the first floor of Cutler Hall, to the second floor.

The distance, from the first floor finished surface, to the second floor, finished floor surface is to be 13'-7".

How many risers and treads are needed to

make a legal stairway here?

Assume 7" as a beginning size for a riser

13'-7" = 163”

163 divided by 7 = 23.28

Now, we know that you cannot have 23.28 risers; risers must be a whole


We could take 23 as a total riser number, which would produce a riser that is

greater than 7", which is not allowed by code, so we will take 24 as a total riser


So, take 24, and divide 163 by 24, which is 6.7916": this is the height of each

riser, in the run of 24 that makes this stairway.

So, to determine the number, and height of the risers in a stairway, take the

total height of the stairway, in inches, and divide it by 7" as a way to determine

a close number of risers. (if this comes out to a whole number, then you are


Then take the total height in inches, and divide it by the number of risers to

arrive at a precise riser height dimension.

in construction tolerances vary factory made more precision job site made less precision
In construction tolerances vary: factory made=more precisionjob site made= less precision
  • In terms of construction, a stairway can be manufactured in varying levels of precision.
  • If the stairway is a factory made, steel construction, then the precise dimension of the riser height can be very accurate, to a sixteenth of an inch even.
If the stairway is to be constructed on the job site, and especially if it is to be made of wood, then the sizes cannot be held to a tolerance any more precise than 1/8".
elisha graves otis
Elisha Graves Otis
  • Perched on a hoisting platform high above the crowd at New York’s Crystal Palace, a pragmatic mechanic shocked the crowd when he dramatically cut the only rope suspending the platform on which he was standing.
  • The platform dropped a few inches, but then came to a stop. His revolutionary new safety brake had worked, stopping the platform from crashing to the ground. “All safe, gentlemen!” the man proclaimed.  
otis elevator company 1853
Otis elevator company, 1853
  • The man riding the hoist was Elisha Graves Otis, the founder and namesake of our company. With his safety brake, Otis literally started the elevator industry.
  • His invention enabled buildings – and architects’ imaginations – to climb ever skyward, giving a new and bolder shape to the modern urban skyline. Mr. Otis sold his first safe elevators in 1853.
elevators are described by their carrying capacity, speed of travel, and mechanical type.
  • Otis Geared Elevonic, 3500, 300fpm
elevators in public buildings are required to meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities) accessibility codes