Track 1: Decline vs. Revival: Tempering the Impulse to Tear Down and Start Over

General Abstract

The Importance of and Methodology for Understanding Antiquated Floor Systems and How to Preserve and Adapt them to Modern Uses – Lessons Learned from a Variety of Floor Systems in Washington, DC

Tuesday, September 25
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: BNCC- 101AH

The preservation of antiquated floor systems can face many challenges at the onset of a project. The decision to retain, modify, or demolish existing floors is often made early in design, when understanding of the existing systems and proposed programming are limited. The pressure to tear down and start over with a system that has known costs and risks can be strong; however, this pressure can be offset by educating stakeholders about how the system’s re-use can be validated.

Drawing from case studies with several types of antiquated floor systems encountered in Washington, DC, this presentation will provide an overview of the methodology used for understanding an antiquated floor system’s materials, limitations, construction methods, fire ratings, and analysis methods that allows for their continued use and adaptation. Floor systems to be discussed include Guastavino vaults; the Metropolitan System; hollow clay tile flat arch systems, and an early version of a Fabric Form slab.

When dealing with an antiquated floor system, the first step is to identify the system through preliminary research and site investigations. At this stage, it is important to understand the process by which the continued use of the floor will be feasible or not feasible. This process includes research, site investigations, analysis, probes, more analysis, and potentially in-situ testing. Understanding the full process allows the engineer to guide the design team through it with the goal of preserving the existing floor system. It is equally important to understand the intended use so that the engineer can provide guidance on the capabilities and limitations of the antiquated floor systems which many will not be familiar with and whose design is often a significant departure from modern floor systems. In the situation where the use is not yet solidified, “bracketing” the possibilities allows project team members to make determinations by taking into account the floor’s potential capabilities and limitations.

Learning Objectives:

Kenneth M. Hill

Senior Engineer
Silman

Ken Hill joined Silman in 2013. His professional and educational experience emphasizes forensic investigations and façade systems. His work has included structural investigations, renovations of existing structures and stone design. Prior to Silman he received his BS in Civil Engineering from Clemson University while working at their boundary layer wind tunnel. He received his ME in Structural Engineering from the University of Florida and did a thesis in wind engineering.

Presentation(s):

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Sue Ann Pemberton, FAIA

Assistant Professor in Practice
University of Texas at San Antonio

Sue Ann Pemberton, FAIA, has straddled between private practice and academia for more than thirty years. She holds a Master of Architecture Degree and Bachelor of Environmental Design from Texas A&M University. Her focus of practice, study, and teaching includes design, materials research and technology, inner city development, and historic preservation of buildings, neighborhoods and communities. Sue Ann leads the Historic American Building Survey program in the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Presentation(s):

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The Importance of and Methodology for Understanding Antiquated Floor Systems and How to Preserve and Adapt them to Modern Uses – Lessons Learned from a Variety of Floor Systems in Washington, DC



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