Professor Montgomery

Category: Class Learning Reflections (Page 1 of 4)

Use this category for all Reflection posts

Structural Units and Systems Reflection

From reading #4 from Building Construction Illustrated I have learned about wood, concrete, steel and masonry structural systems. I really liked how the book uses the illustrations to show the details of connection for each particular system, so we are able to understand how these are working. When skimming through the reading for the first time I was able to see that steel system is laid out differently that wood just by looking at the illustrations. It was clear to understand that wood beams are stacked on the girders while steel beams are aligned to the girders and welded. This chapter was also very important to understand our second drawing assignment. From this reading I started to understand how to estimate the span, depth, and width for the structural elements in each system. Also I have learned that the systems can be combined togetherness as the steel can be used for girders and beams, and precast concrete for the floor system. I believe this is a very important chapter to understand by young designers, as understanding these systems help to laid out and make use of structural grid.


Module 3 Submissions

I can’t seem to access the Dropbox links for these submissions. Here they are:

Drawing Submission:



Masonry Walls Reflection

From chapter 10 of Fundamentals of Building Construction I have learned about three types of masonry walls which are composite masonry wall, cavity wall, and load bearing masonry wall. The composite masonry wall use different types of concrete masonry in different parts of the wall. This is effectively method to increase capacity where needed and allows the use of weaker bricks where the forces are not strong. Cavity wall was the most interesting type of the three walls types as it consists of two wythes of masonry units that are separated by a thin airspace. By using this method the interior wythe is bearing all the loads so the exterior wythe can be built by smaller and more decorative bricks. The space between the wythes helps to insulate the building as well helps keep the water away from the interior of the building. Loadbearing masonry walls, are usually thick walls that are carrying the loads from the building. These type of wall can be also reinforced with steel rods to increase its capacity, and post tensioned to increase resistance against the tensile forces.

Materials + Properties Reflection

There are different materials from which buildings are constructed and each of these have their advantages and disadvantages. Building materials such as brick and concrete are very efficient in resisting the compression loads, however these are very weak when tension force is present and should be reinforced with steel. While steel is a great material for resisting both compression and tension, it is very expensive compared to the other materials. It also needs to be protected against corrosion and need to be fireproofed as it is losing its strength under high temperatures. Wood is a material that is cheap and relatively good in compression and tension, however as an organic material it deteriorate and decay. It is also not fire resistant. Therefore when designing a building we should consider all the advantages and disadvantages of the materials and choose the right material or combination of materials for the project needs. Continue reading

Brick and Concrete Masonry Reflection

Brick and concrete masonry are two of the construction methods that are often used in our times as these methods are economical and durable. Both of these methods make use of smaller elements such as bricks and CMUs which are bonded together with mortar to create a structurally stable walls. Brick and concrete masonry are laid out to create patterns that visual pleasant to the eye. In my opinion, the  greatest advantage of this method of construction is that bricks and CMUs are fire resistant and does not require additional fire proofing as other materials such as wood or steel. The CMUs are larger than bricks so the concrete masonry is a more efficient method to construct the building faster, however in my opinion the brick masonry patterns make the building look better. The good thing is that these methods can be combined so the bricks can be used for the face of the exterior wall and CMUs can be stacked behind the bricks

Semester Reflection

During the course of this semester, I learned many valuable information. Before starting this course, my knowledge on sections, plans, line weight, stairs, egress, structural units, masonry, materials, etc, was very limited. I knew of these categories but I was not knowledgeable on them. Through our assignments and readings, I began to understand these topics more clearly. I now fully understand the importance of stairs and egress and how it plays a valuable role in the design and function of a structure. From trends and risers, to columns and beams, and everything in between, each element plays an important role for the architect and architecture.  Fully grasping all this information has kept me intrigued to learn more. Building Tech I covers so much important information that I was able to use in my other courses this semester. To also learn from a very knowledgeable professor has made my first experience with building tech memorable. Through learning the concepts of a building also helped me with designing, planning and participating in my design, and structure courses. Once you understand the fundamentals of building technology, your understanding of architecture becomes clearer. You actually want to continue to learn and participate. The learning never stops, but whats important is the will to want to learn and with this course, it  has kept me wanting to learn. Professor Montgomery was an amazing professor. He made class fun and interesting.  I’ve learn many tricks and tips from him. I am excited to take all this information and apply it to my future B. Tech and Architectural courses. This course was an stepping stone for me. I learned so much and I will continue to learn.


Thanks for the amazing semester & bob’s your uncle! 🙂

Discussion Reflections 3-7, 10-13

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.

Masonry Walk Reflection

For our second trip to Federal Hall, we were instructed to sketch a section. A section is an important piece of Architecture. It shows us the relationship between spaces, thickness of the wall or ground, and details that can tell us a lot about the structure. The part of Federal Hall we sketched included columns, a balcony, stairs, a wall that divided the spaces and entrances. Through careful observation, and after I was finished, I’ve realized that the little details make a big difference. Features that are in the far back will get drawn lightly. Any part of the structure which the section is being cut through will get pochade. This is the only exception for pochaing. Small details, such as the brick or columns, show the viewer the relationship to size as well. After sketching a section of Federal Hall, I am excited to start drawing sections.

Masonry Walk Reflection

During our last class we have visited Federal Hall once again however this time to concentrate more deeply on the elevations and longitudinal section through the rotunda. Unfortunately, because of the harsh weather we were not able to draw the elevations, so we have spent more time on sketching the section. As the Federal Hall contains many complex shapes as vaults and arches and it was difficult for me to start drawing the section. At the beginning I started drawing from the stairs as this part was the easiest for me to understand and I, however that was a mistake as I did not properly set up my drawing and when i got to the part where the section is cutting through the rotunda I was not able to fit my drawing, so I started drawing again. The most difficult part of the section drawing for me was to draw the beginning of rotunda as it is circular and I could not see how it would look in section.  The second drawing exercise was also very valuable for me as I was able to learn how the stone masonry relate to the other elements as the door, and understand the proportions.

Forces and Structural Elements Reflection

In the reading 3 we have learned about the forces that are acting on the buildings. In my opinion this reading was more comprehensive than our previous readings as it had a lot of physics concepts involved which may be difficult to understand when seen these for the first time. Fortunately most of these concepts were familiar to me as I have started as a civil engineering student and I have studied these concepts before. It was a great refresher of these concepts for me as the Francis D.K. Ching was able to explain all these comprehensive subjects in much simpler language than the other books I have seen when I was taking engineering classes. The new concepts that I have learned from this chapter were joints & connections and how domes work. In addition reading chapter 3 from the book and refreshing the forces concepts, helped me to prepare and ace my structure II midterm.

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