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United Kingdom Science Technology

Correcting Killer Architecture 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the built-to-kill dept.
minstrelmike writes In Leeds, England, architects are adding a plethora of baffles and other structures to prevent the channeling of winds from a skyscraper that have pushed baby carriages into the street and caused one pedestrian death by blowing over a truck. Other architectural mistakes listed in the article include death ray buildings that can melt car bumpers and landscape ponds that blind tenants.
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Correcting Killer Architecture

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  • For any building of that size and cost, putting a model in a wind-tunnel should be compulsory.
    • Where I live, the absolute reverse is true. If any child can see that a storm will suck out the windows and smash them (just imagine what happens if you happen to be at or downwind of the landing spot), and you protest against the plans pointing that out, that protest is "not receivable".
    • What surprises me is that the insurance people involved in these projects don't play hardass more effectively. The structure is going to have some trouble being built and leased/rented/sold if nobody is willing to cover it; and no insurance outfit would want some zesty wrongful death claims showing up because somebody is too cool for fluid mechanics.
    • RE: Wind Tunnel Testing

      I'm not sure that would pay off. You'd need to model the nearby city-scape for a wind tunnel as well, since its not just one building but a combination of buildings that typically cause problems. Also, it is very hard to reproduce the variations in wind that we see in nature. Wind tunnels generally have a steady flow in one direction.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I live in Leeds and know the building mentioned in the article. In this case it's not just the building itself but the shape of the building combined with neighboring buildings which produces the wind tunnel effect. While this certainly should have been caught it's not as simple as putting a model in a wind tunnel, you'd have to model the surrounding area and prevailing winds in detail to predict the result.

    • There is the State University of New York at Albany example.

      The design for the campus was designed by an architect to be used in a Desert location rumors have it in Saudi Arabia or Phoenix Arizona. It was designed to Chanel the winds to keep the campus cool for those hot Desert days.

      However SUNY Albany to save tax payer money out and bought those designs, and put them in Upstate NY. Where the bulk of the school year is during the Cold winter months, thus giving the campus a bitter cold windchill in winter

      • One day an architectural genius will come form there and fix it.

        Campuses should be a collection of problems for the students to think about. Not some idealized place where students can think all the problems are solved and all that's left is navel gazing.

  • What kind of modeling software do these guys use? On any high dollar project, I can't believe there isn't some serious CAD going on. The CAD programs should have packages that address these issues. Some of them will be unusual and it'll be a learning process; but nobody should build a car-melting building the second time.

    • RTFA - the architect behind the "Death Ray" building designed in measures to prevent the problem. Idiot cost-cutters removed them during the build.

      • by bickerdyke (670000) on Friday August 15, 2014 @07:41AM (#47676499)

        Sunshields would be a workaround and not a PREVENTION.

        Prevention starts at the problem source, which is a curved, reflective surface. Making the curve non-parabolic or pointing the aperture north would have been prevention. But sunshades are rather acknowleding the problem and working around it. (Usually adding more complexity and points of failure, but that's another story)

        Yes, sometimes you have to use workarounds, maybe the source of the problem might be the solution to an even bigger problem, or the new problem isn't big enough to warrant fundamental design changes, but still that's not prevention.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Sunshields would be a workaround and not a PREVENTION.

          Prevention starts at the problem source, which is a curved, reflective surface. Making the curve non-parabolic or pointing the aperture north would have been prevention. But sunshades are rather acknowleding the problem and working around it. (Usually adding more complexity and points of failure, but that's another story)

          Yes, sometimes you have to use workarounds, maybe the source of the problem might be the solution to an even bigger problem, or the new

      • by u38cg (607297)
        Sort of. He did agree to their removal, though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2014 @06:11AM (#47676277)

    Maybe they can add on wind turbine to harvest this free energy?

    • Why don't they just put another building in the way? Maybe one designed to channel the wind up?

      • by sysrammer (446839)

        Why don't they just put another building in the way? Maybe one designed to channel the wind up?

        For the daily mini-tornado.

  • Similar (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hooiberg (1789158)
    This article reminds me of another English building with a concave mirror in it, that actually melted plastic parts of cars parked on the wrong spot at the wrong time by concentrating sunlight on it. http://geekologie.com/2013/09/... [geekologie.com]
    • The 'Walkie Talkie' AKA 'Solar Death Ray' was mentioned in the article as another example of an unanticipated danger in architecture.

      • by MrL0G1C (867445)

        It was anticipated by the architect, but the builders decided to skip the 'death-ray-stopper' addition to the building to save money.

        Raises an interesting question - should planning authorities be partly responsible for allowing dangerous buildings of this nature?

    • This article reminds me of another English building with a concave mirror in it, that actually melted plastic parts of cars parked on the wrong spot at the wrong time by concentrating sunlight on it. http://geekologie.com/2013/09/ [geekologie.com]...

      I think it's fine. Just put a "no parking" sign in the affected spots. Only entitled wankers in BMWs would use the spot and then they get their cars melted.

      I'm OK with that.

      • Re:Similar (Score:5, Funny)

        by JustOK (667959) on Friday August 15, 2014 @07:41AM (#47676497) Journal
        They did put a sign there. It melted.
        • by mowbray (1060104)
          At Bridgewater Place they put up signs when it's windy. Unsurprisingly, they tend to blow over..
        • Chanting crowd: WHAT DO WE WANT?

          Chanting crowd: TIME TRAVEL!

          Chanting crowd: WHEN DO WE WANT IT?

          Chanting crowd: THAT'S IRRELEVANT!

      • by u38cg (607297)
        It would certainly make the Bank of England's regulation more effective if it became known they had a death ray and were willing to use it.
      • by c (8461)

        Just put a "no parking" sign in the affected spots.

        I was thinking "pick up and deliveries only". It takes more than a few minutes to melt a car, so might as well get some use out of the spot.

    • Not similar. The SAME.

      It reminds you of that building because that's the building the summary is referring to.

  • Wind turbine array (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Friday August 15, 2014 @06:18AM (#47676293) Journal

    Why not instead of baffles construct an array of wind turbines to take the energy out the wind? Fix the deadly gales problem and power the building at the same time.

  • Other incidents have left a person with a torn liver and internal bleeding, and cuts requiring 11 stitches, as well as a buggy containing a three-month-old child being whisked out into the road by a sharp gust. Last year the council ruled that the surrounding roads must be closed when the wind reaches speeds of 45mph, but problems have continued.

    The problem is that the government is not attaching enough cost to these kinds of mistakes, so they happen over and over again. If the building had to be torn dow

    • > If the building had to be torn down then the cost / loss would be so high that developers would never make mistakes like this again

      Yes, and if we had the death penalty for theft, there'd be no more mugging!

      • If the building had to be torn down then the cost / loss would be so high that developers would never make mistakes like this again

        Yes, and if we had the death penalty for theft, there'd be no more mugging!

        Nah - Everybody knows that petty theft should be punished by cutting the thief's hand off. What kind of crazy extremist are you?!

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        Well I hate to play devil's advocate for the law but, there is a major difference between duhvelopers and muggers.

        Muggers tend to work alone or with an accomplice with little whereas Duhvelopers are actually organized groups with policies, rules, and procedures. Muggers don't sit down before they go out for the evening and come up with a business plan; they don't tend to get anyone to insure their project either.

        You don't even need to make duhvelopers care. You need to make insurance companies care, then th

    • You mean tort law alone doesn't solve all of the worlds problems?

  • by advantis (622471) on Friday August 15, 2014 @06:41AM (#47676361)

    Well, people keep asking for their flying cars, and now that they got them, thanks to that building in Leeds, they're upset?

  • Architects. Pfft.* Can modern architects stop inflicting ugly buildings on us, even if they didn't kill people? No one cares about your "theories". They look shit and often function shit. * Whoops, blew down my apartment building.
  • Monty Python predicted this, they also predicted how to fix this problem, that video is left as an exercise for the reader to find.

    The Architect [youtube.com]

  • 1. fire artists
    2. hire engineers
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G... [wikipedia.org]

    Inwards-facing ramps turned the 100M-square arch into a massive venturi, sweeping people off their feet, off the top of the plaza and then flinging therm down a conveniently-placed steep flight of hard stone stairs.

    Genius.

    Cue hastly rethink with a nasty plastic "roof" inside the arch to slow the wind...a little.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday August 15, 2014 @03:38PM (#47680587) Journal

    I heard a story about another "killer building" near Chicago. (Haven't checked the claims for truth - just repeating it as I heard it.)

    Seems there was this nice commercial builing next to O'Hare Airport. Curved walls, lots of lawn, nice walkway up to the door in the middle. Great view through the space over the airport runways.

    There was this one spot on the walkway where more than one person was found unconscious or dead of apparent heart failure. There were enough that somebody looked into the coincidences.

    Turns out the building's curve was parabolic and it faced a runway. If you happened to be at the focus when a jet taking off crossed the axis, the building concentrated the sound of the engines on you...

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