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To expect basic science from architects?

(46 Posts)
JessM Tue 03-Sep-13 12:28:26

Story in the news today about the plastic bits on a Jag getting melted by the rays reflected from a new tower block in London.
Every 14 year old gets taught that if you have a concave mirror it will focus light on a particular spot, where, exactly, depending on the curvature of the mirror. So if you build a big shiny building with a concave wall, it's going to function as a mirror, right? They seem to be trying to blame the angle of the sun, which is also a somewhat predictable scientific phenomenon. Or did they do the calculations and decide it would be OK because the focal point was in mid air somewhere and forget that the angle of the sun changes?
This got past lots of architects and planners, some of whom, surely, passed their GCSE in science?

sunseeker Tue 03-Sep-13 12:57:15

My DH was a builder and often had to point out to architects that what they were drawing was impossible to build - he also had to frequently point out that some things were against building regulations! During our life together we built 3 houses for ourselves and never employed an architect.

thatbags Tue 03-Sep-13 13:40:40

The story made me laugh, even if with disbelief at the architects' stupidity. You couldn't make this stuff up. It's worthy of a Poke entry.

Elegran Tue 03-Sep-13 13:44:01

I did hear, long ago, about an English architect who designed a school for somewhere in Australia, and specified that to avoid too much hot dazzling sunlight, the large glass windows should all face North.

Eloethan Tue 03-Sep-13 13:45:18

You're right JessM. Melting cars - scary stuff. It's incredible and worrying that such a potentially life-threatening structure could be built.

It seems that some architects are keen to design grandiose buildings but do not always pay attention to how they work for those that live and work in them or their effect on the wider environment.

annodomini Tue 03-Sep-13 13:47:00

Elegran grin

A school in Norfolk that garnered several awards in the 60s or 870s had so much glass that the children were roasted in summer and frozen in winter. Probably before the days of double or triple glazing

annodomini Tue 03-Sep-13 13:47:21

870s 70s

Granny23 Tue 03-Sep-13 14:00:21

DH, a joiner, frequently had to point out that plans which looked great in the drawings were in fact, NOT constructable. They did not seem to think of the sequence of events in the construction process, particularly in relation to conversion, rather than new build work, with plans which assumed the removal of load bearing walls and lintels before their replacements could be built. On one memorable project he had to fit shower cubicles from a ladder, through a window, as otherwise he would have had to work from within the outside stone wall.

petra Tue 03-Sep-13 15:14:32

From someone who never finished school, but with a lot of common sense, I am constantly amazed by the stupidity of people with letters after their name or who have an 'oligy'

JessM Tue 03-Sep-13 17:04:23

Oh those schools. Horrid. i remember during my probationary teaching year, twas the summer of 76. Standing in front of 30 13 year old boys, who were not allowed to take their ties off, playing fields outside turned to the colour of hay and sweat just running down my legs.
Yes this building would be potentially dangerous - someone who stayed still at the focal point could get a burn.

Penstemmon Tue 03-Sep-13 17:11:37

Good gracious! How odd that nobody pointed out the potential for danger!

I know a school that had an atrium play area..was only used about 5 weeks a year as it was either too hot or too cold! partly funding as the budget did not stretch to blinds or extravagant radiators!

Deedaa Tue 03-Sep-13 20:46:52

I remember working on some horribly expensive new flats in Falmouth. They were right on the water's edge, with wonderful sea views but that obviously hadn't impressed the architect because she hadn't bothered with windows in the kitchens. Obviously she wasn't a woman who did her own washing up!

Jendurham Tue 03-Sep-13 23:48:17

Anybody anything good to say about architects?

FlicketyB Wed 04-Sep-13 08:18:50

Architects are just that, house designers. They are not builders or engineers and it shows. However they do have a power complex about dictating to us how we should live in their creations. Corbusier, or one of his mates, famously wanted to dictate to residents when and to what level they should raise and lower their blinds to make sure the external view was the view he wanted. Corbusier, also saw buildings as machines for living in. Says it all really

Some decades ago, when a comprehensive was being rebuilt in inner London. the architect failed to provide any cloakrooms for children to hang coats, change into gym clothes etc. This was not noticed until the design process was complete and the final plans were shown to the headmistress. It was the first thing she looked for - and found missing. They did cobble together a space for cloakrooms but I understood that they were always inadequate.

Aka Wed 04-Sep-13 08:50:42

The new library opened in Birmingham yesterday. It replaced the concrete carbuncle monstrosity structure that was built in the 70s which is due to be knocked down yet some find that beautiful (!) and want it preserved. There's no accounting for taste.

thatbags Wed 04-Sep-13 09:15:05

jend, our dear soop will jave something good to say about her architect smile. And I will join her in a toast to him.

AlieOxon Wed 04-Sep-13 09:38:39

Saw the new library on the news and I said 'it's a square wedding cake' - two seconds later the presenter said it too!

J52 Wed 04-Sep-13 09:41:32

I have something good to say about architects, I married one!! X

Jendurham Wed 04-Sep-13 14:32:14

So did I. Actually he wasn't an architect when I married him, just a technician, but that means he was an architect who knew how buildings stayed up.
I do not think many people live in places that Corbusier or Richard Rogers designed.
Not many people know that it takes architects as long as doctors to train, but most of them get paid less than teachers.

Jendurham Wed 04-Sep-13 14:37:55

Flickety, architects are not just house designers. My husband designed hospitals, libraries, shopping centres, schools and houses, among other things. He was also responsible for refurbishment of almshouses, arcades, city halls, old people's homes, etc.
They do have to do a lot of engineering, and are responsible for health and safety on sites. Do you actually know any architects?

Lona Wed 04-Sep-13 16:48:45

Back to the OP, the architect who designed this huge mirror building has done it before in America apparently. I think it was Arizona. So he's a complete numpty!

J52 Wed 04-Sep-13 17:52:53

During the 8 years pre qualifying, architects have to pass many exams including structural engineering and law. To continue to become an architect a 1st class degree is required by many universities. I don't think they can be described as 'numpty's.

j08 Wed 04-Sep-13 17:58:18

No. Only this one.

And the one who designed our house!

j08 Wed 04-Sep-13 18:00:22

J52 Sorry! Just read your previous post.

I'm sure most architects are excellent. smile

j08 Wed 04-Sep-13 18:04:38

To be fair they did say it is only a few days at this time of the year that this should happen. still very silly though. It's as though they just want to out-do each other with weirdness. hmm