Discussion Reflection No. 3: Reading Drawings #1

This reflection will focus on the first set of reading drawings we studied during Class 2. These drawings consisted of the many building elements and materials that make up the buildings we see around us. These building elements may include the following: columns or posts (vertical building structures), beams or lintels (horizontal building structures), piers (vertical structures used to support against compression), and pilasters (rectangular posts that projects from the wall). We also discussed multiple types of materials: stone masonry, wood, brick, concrete, CMU (concrete masonry unit), and steel. I found this informative as a foundation in architecture.

Discussion Reflection No. 4: Structural Walk #1

This reflection will focus on the structural walk we went on during Class 12. During this walk, we admired many buildings that used structural components. These components may include: trusses (a series of triangular structural frames to resist against tension and compression. They are connected by posts, beams, and rafters to support and transfer loads), braced frame (a structure used to withstand strong winds and earthquakes), shear wall (a thick wall used to resist lateral loads), rigid frame (a structure designed to resist movement and transfer loads through its many joints), and vaults (an arched structure in the ceiling). These are all incorporated to the floor system; a horizontal plane with four posts. This walk gave us a better understanding of the structural elements in a building.

Discussion Reflection No. 5: Structural Walk #2

This reflection will focus on the structural walk we went on during Class 13. During this walk, we admired other building and city structures that used many structural components. We discussed about the types of structural units that we observed; we mainly saw brick, wood, steel, and concrete being used in buildings of different ages. These structural units helped the building reach lateral stability (the act of using the imposing forces on the structural members to maintain the position of the building). As we went on this walk, it helped me see the multiple uses of the materials; how they help prevent the forces of tension and compression.

Discussion Reflection No. 6: Masonry Walk

This reflection will focus on the masonry walk we went on during Class 16. During this session, we learned about the various types of masonry. This can include the following: brick, limestone, marble, granite, and worked stone. The stones can be found through the quarries (large pits where materials can be harvested). Using mortar (an adhesive mixture made out of grinded limestone, water, and aggregate), these building stones can be bound together to make a rigid structure. One of the patterns that involve using building stone and mortar is the stacked bond (masonry units stacked on top of each other with mortar as a cushion). Learning the different types of masonry can help expand my knowledge of building materials. It can help me describe a building’s composition more clearly.

Discussion Reflection No. 7: Reading Drawings #2

This reflection will focus on the reading drawings we studied during Class 3. These drawings mainly consisted of the egress (the flow of the building towards its exits) and stairs (the series of steps that allows a person to ascend or descend a platform). During this session, we discussed the importance of having proper exit points that lead to the streets and the importance of meeting the requirements for stairs in the building. The flow of the building passages must accommodate multiple people to prevent discomfort and promote safety. The stairs must be resistant to fire during an emergency and there also should be passageways for those who are handicapped. These concepts will help ensure the safety of those moving through the building.

Discussion Reflection No. 10: Forces and Structural Elements

This reflection will focus on the forces and structural elements I learned about during Class 11. A force is the influence that produces a change in the shape or movement of a body. This may include the following: gravity, tension, compression, and shear force.  Tension causes a body a stretch, compression causes a body to flatten or crush, and shear force causes a body to break. The balance of these forces is called equilibrium.  A body must have wide attributes to distribute the forces. These forces are important when determining the effectiveness of a structure. Structures are designed to support and transmit loads. There are two types of loads: Live loads and dead loads. Examples of live loads are people, wind, earthquakes, and movable furniture. Examples of dead loads are the machines and the weight of materials concerning the building. I learned that the less material a body has on the y-axis (vertically), the more likely it is victim to compression and tension.

Discussion Reflection No. 11: Structural Units & Systems

This reflection will focus on the structural units and systems I learned about during Class 12. The floor systems in a building involve having four posts with a horizontal plane. With this, the loads can be safely moved, supports the live and dead loads, and series of beams and joists overlaid with decking and planes. The material of a structure determines the attributes that are expressed when under the influence of the forces such as compression, tension, and gravity.  Masonry can be modular and is known for interlocking and bonding together. This includes masonry bonding, walls, and stone masonry. Concrete is mainly used for residential buildings and doesn’t have  a wide span.  Concrete can consist of the following: pre-cast concrete structures, reinforced concrete structures, and concrete columns. Steel is mainly used for commercial buildings, and consists of the following: steel beams, decking, framing, and steel columns. Finally, wood can consist of heavy timber columns, wooden beam structures, and framing.

Discussion Reflection No.12: Brick and Concrete Masonry

This reflection will focus on brick and concrete masonry; a topic we studied during Class 19.  I learned about the modular attributes of brick masonry; how the form of the masonry bonds and interlocks together. Bricks are bonded together using mortar. They are formed through firing them and have a significant level of sustainability. They can be laid in a pattern that strengthens the structure. Concrete is considered as a simple material used for manufacturing and industrial purposes. Concrete can be laid among the structural elements to strengthen the building. During this session, I learned how masonry can affect a building not only in appearance, but also can affect how effective the building’s structural system will be.

Discussion Reflection No.13: Masonry Wall Construction

This reflection will focus on the construction of the masonry wall. The masonry wall comes in multiple forms: the load bearing walls (walls that hold the weight of the objects above it), the composite walls (walls that are built with different types of masonry on the opposing sides), and the cavity walls (made out of two masonry walls that have a space between them to insulate heat, are bound together by metal). These walls have spanning systems: common joists (beams used to support the ceiling and secure the floor), concrete and steel decking (platforms supported by beams and joists to strengthen floor systems and roofs, concrete uses cables for decking), and heavy timber (large hefty wooden beams and posts to support roof and floors). Masonry walls incorporate draining, flashing, and thermal insulation to maintain the building structure and reduce damage. Learning these concepts can help me understand the importance of building maintenance and proper construction.