Wednesday, June 2, 2010

U7 Booklet is out

Get your PDF copy here -- 3.3 MB.

The booklet summarizes the ideas behind the project, and the plans thus far for U7 activities and the renovation of the building.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Virtual Campus Video

U7 virtual campus from Roy Wroth on Vimeo.

We've taken all the ideas for the building so far and used them to create a 3D model. This virtual model, built in Second Life, will help the youth leadership team plan the renovation.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Preservation Process

Renovating an historic structure is a special kind of construction process. There are many aspects of the process that are much more careful and cautious than typical construction work, more like the work of a museum conservator or an archeologist. Done right, preservation architecture delivers an incredible dollar value -- compared to the new construction cost of a solid masonry building with beautiful woodwork details, custom wood doors and windows, and pressed tin ceilings. And it saves energy and resources too.

Preservation Process
  • Preservation Assessment
  • Selection of Architects
  • Consultation with State Historic Preservation Division
  • Consultations with Design Team
  • Preservation Plan
  • Preservation Tax Credits
  • Construction Drawings
  • Approvals
  • Contractor Selection
  • Construction
  • Commissioning (move in and training)
  • Maintenance
There is a lot of detail in a Preservation Plan that we will get into later.
    Activities Programming: Wish List
    This is a list of potential activities for the building. It is taken from the results of several workshop sessions in the past few years about teen activity needs in Las Vegas. Some ideas that fit into the category of "meeting" or "classroom" are not listed out in detail, since the architectural requirement is the same for all. This list will continue to evolve in step with the Space Inventory and the Space Programming Wish List.

    Support Activities

    Activities in Multi-Use Facilities
    Public Events
    Computer Lab

    Activities in Specialized Facilities

    Theater Arts
    Digital Arts
    Fine Arts
    Robotics and Technology
    Carpentry and Woodworking
    Green Energy Technology
    Food Preparation

    Gallery/ Retail
    Consultation Spaces
    Vehicle Installations
    Bike Shop

    Outdoor Activities
    Sports/ play
    Performance/ Exhibit
    Meetings/ Classes

    Space Programming: the Spaces Wishlist

    Space Programming: Spaces Wishlist
    This is a list of spaces that would ideally be included in the renovation. This list will continue to evolve, as the meeting point of the Activities Wishlist (all of the activities that we want to take place in the building) and the Space Inventory (all of the spaces that are available or can be carved out of the existing structure). It's a process of finding a comfortable fit between the activities and the available space.

    Ground Floor (Public Zone)

    Front lobby
    Gallery/ Retail
    Food Service
    Boiler room workshop
    New Stairway
    New Entries

    Outdoor Spaces
    Cafe Seating Patio
    Outdoor Gathering
    Food Garden
    Ornamental Gardens
    Work yard
    Vehicle work yard
    Garden materials area

    Wood and metals workshop
    Paint booth
    Garden tools
    Bicycle shed

    Second Floor (Protected Zone)

    Classrooms/ Meeting rooms
    Main Hall
    Server Room

    Third Floor (Protected Zone)

    Mezzanine lab
    Roof Terraces

    Building Systems: Issues Discovery

    Issues Discovery
    These are some of the issues to work out as we plan the renovation. You can't be prepared for an issue if you don't know to ask the question, so there are no stupid questions.

    Masonry Walls
    Are the bricks and mortar sound?
    Are the foundations structurally adequate?
    Are the walls structurally sound? Are there any cracks or other damage? Are they sized correctly for modern structural load calculations?
    Will any repairs, modifications or structural bracing be required?
    What is the condition of the exterior paint? Can it be removed successfully?
    What is the condition of lintels, sills and other non-brick masonry elements?

    Structural System
    What live loads should we plan for, especially in the theater area?
    Are interior foundations adequate?
    Are steel beams and columns adequate?
    Are wood joists adequate? Are they in good condition?
    Have any modifications weakened the structural system?
    Are additional seismic, wind or other lateral bracing required?
    Can we remove third floor walls without rebuilding the roof structure?


    Is there access to the roof from inside the building?
    What is the condition of the roof?
    Is it structurally sound?
    Is it insulated?
    What modifications would be required for a solar installation?

    What is the current insulation value of the masonry walls?
    What alternatives are there for adding insulation to the walls?
    Would it be worthwhile to insulate the footings and foundations?
    What is the best way to insulate the roof?
    What is the best treatment for window frames and other thermal breaks?
    Are any asbestos materials present?

    Floors and ceilings
    What is the best treatment for the ground floor floors? How should the level changes be addressed?
    What is the condition of the upper floors?
    What condition are the metal ceilings in? Are appropriate panels available for repairs?
    Are there any asbestos materials present?

    Interior Walls
    Which walls are load-bearing? Are they structurally adequate?
    What is the condition of plasters, lath, and drywall?
    What is the condition of wood trim?
    Is acoustic treatment needed? Can it be retrofit?

    Door and Windows
    What is the condition of wood windows, doors, framing and trim?
    What treatments are appropriate?
    Can windows be retrofit with double glazing? Are storm windows appropriate?
    Are screens appropriate?
    What should new doors or windows look like?

    Stairs and Elevators
    Are stairs designed to meet fire codes?
    Are stairs and railings configured properly for accessibility codes?
    Are stairs structurally sound?
    Is woodwork in good condition?

    Safety and Accessibility

    Do egress sequences meet code?
    What is the best way to locate and configure new stairways and egress corridors?
    Will the third floor require two stairways?
    Can the third floor roof terraces be made accessible?
    Can level changes at entrances be corrected with ramps?
    Do doors meet accessibility codes?
    Is an elevator required? Must it serve the third floor?
    Can the stage be ramp accessible?
    Can the stepped mezzanine be used without excluding wheelchair users?

    Fire suppression
    Are fire rated doors required? Are there appropriate replacements for original doors?
    Are fire separations required between areas of the building?
    Are sprinklers required?

    Is service to the building adequate for new uses?
    Is any of the existing wiring usable?
    What is the appropriate way to rewire existing walls?
    What electric loads will each area generate?
    Can daylight sensors and occupancy sensors be used?
    Can photovoltaics be used? Other on-site generation?
    Can LED fixtures be used? Should we consider wiring for different voltages?
    What exterior lighting is required?

    Is the water supply and sewer service adequate for the new use?
    what are the simplest locations for new restrooms?
    How many restrooms and how many fixtures will be required?
    What other sinks or fixtures will be required?
    Will there be a kitchen? will it require gas?
    Can a greywater system be used?
    Is recirculating hot water desired?
    Can solar hot water be installed?
    Are filters and pressure valves required?

    Are radiators and piping in good condition?
    Is system configured properly for condensate return?
    Will the system heat the building evenly and efficiently? Are Electronic valves needed?
    Is it feasible to install a new boiler?
    Are the overhead pipes on the ground floor acceptable? Are there other obstructions?
    Are there other reasons to retire the steam system?
    Is solar heat feasible? Are there passive solar opportunities?
    Is air conditioning required? Is outside air exchange required?

    Data Communications

    Is a separate phone system required?
    Which areas require ethernet? Can wireless reach all other areas?
    Is a server room required?
    Are smart building systems required? surveillance? security? automated lights?

    Stage, Lighting and Sound
    Is a sound box required? is a projection booth required? Is a catwalk required?
    What amplification system is best? What recording facilities are appropriate?
    What conduits and wiring does the theater lighting and sound system require?
    What stage floor is best?
    What flyloft system is appropriate?
    What seating is appropriate?
    How should daylight from upper windows be controlled?

    What acoustic treatment does the theater require?
    Can the mezzanine house a computer lab without disrupting the theater below?
    What acoustic treatment do the ground floor public spaces require?
    Which rooms need acoustic isolation?
    Do floors need acoustic isolation or sound dampening?

    What level of kitchen facility is desired?
    What is the best location for it?
    What additional fire safety requirements must be met?
    What health and food handling requirements must be met?
    What additional utility services are needed?
    How will garbage and deliveries work?

    What storage and cabinetry are required?
    What seating and tables are required?
    What lounge furniture is required?
    Wh outdoor furniture is required?

    What exterior signs are required?
    What interior signage and wayfinding is required?
    Is a digital display desired?
    Should there be murals or graffiti areas?

    Garden Areas

    What outdoor spaces are desired?
    What types of gardens should be included?
    What types of outdoor work areas should be included?
    What landscape plantings are appropriate?
    What outbuildings should be considered?
    What utility services are required?
    What access is required to gardens?

    Drainage and Grading

    Are there drainage problems on the site? What treatments are required?
    Are there utilities or other buried obstacles?
    Can the site be regraded to provide better access to the ground floor?
    What stormwater system is appropriate? Can it serve gardens?

    How many spaces are required?
    Is shared parking or after-hours parking available nearby?
    What part of the site is best for parking?
    Can the alley be used for access?
    Is a permeable surface appropriate? Can stormwater be treated and returned to the site?
    What landscape treatment is appropriate?
    How many bicycle spaces are needed? Should they be covered or enclosed?
    Is public transportation available? Does it stop near the building?

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Character Themes for Each Floor

    This post is editorial in nature. It reflects my initial sense of how the existing building and the future use could come together. What do you think?

    Ground Floor
    I see the ground floor as a part of the "adult world" that is managed by teens. So it's an area where people from the community will come and go, where youth-run businesses can be located, where programs like job training that attract all ages can take place. In this scenario, the ground floor would be a public space, part of the city's social "living room". Other spaces like this in town are coffeeshops, the post office, or the library. The ground floor, and that feeling of social space, should flow out to the garden areas and the sidewalks.

    Second Floor
    I see the second floor as a safe zone for youth, with more limited access for adults. Most of the youth arts and other programs would happen up there, in a semi-protective "sanctuary" environment where teens can explore things their own way without random adults walking through. A youth governance group should manage the space, and define its own standards for how it is used. Of course, for big events the whole community would be invited up to the theater.

    Third Floor

    This is really an extension of the second floor, but I would suggest it is for even more focused creative work, such as the digital arts and group work sessions.

    U7 Space Inventory

    This is an inventory of the rooms and spaces in the building, with some suggestions of how they would be most naturally used after the renovation. The 'space inventory' will be matched up with the 'activities program' to create the final 'space program'. A funny name, I know, but there aren't rockets involved, at least not so far!

    Ground Floor

    Lobby, Stairs and Hallway

    Front rooms: about four rooms, the size of offices or small classrooms. They can be opened up or changed, but some structural walls need to remain, and the hallway needs to pass through.

    Commons area: This area can open up, with just four columns remaining in the space. Keeping this area open will let it receive natural light from both sides. It needs better entrances from the outside.

    Back rooms: This area is a good place for mechanical systems, workshops and other messy uses.

    Second Floor

    Stairs, Landing Hallway

    Front rooms: similar to ground floor.

    Main Hall: This is a grand space for a multi-use theater space.

    Side bays: These are good for activity rooms, and it would make sense to enclose them to keep daylight out of the Main Hall if it becomes a theater.

    Stage area: This area should be mostly opened up. It could double as a stage and a dance or practice room.

    Third Floor:

    Front room: This is a good activity room, about the size of a classroom.

    Mezzanine: This space has a stepped floor, and is currently open to the Main Hall below.

    Rear Area: This area should be eliminated to allow for a double height stage below. It is difficult to get fire exit pathways to work in this area, its too isolated from the rest of the building, and a theater would need the extra height.

    Roof gardens: These aren't currently accessible but it would be fun to have them.

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Building Systems

    Older buildings are often quite simple when you consider their various parts separately. U7 has had relatively few modifications to its original construction. We will be looking at each of the following systems in more detail soon:

    1. Masonry Walls
    2. Structure
    3. Roofing
    4. Insulation
    5. Floors and Ceilings
    6. Interior Walls
    7. Doors and Windows
    8. Stairs and Elevators
    9. Electrical
    10. Plumbing
    11. Heating
    12. Safety and Accessibility
    13. Fire Suppression
    14. Data Communications
    15. Stage, Lighting, and Sound
    16. Accoustics
    17. Kitchen
    18. Furnishings
    19. Signage
    20. Garden Elements
    21. Drainage and Grading
    22. Parking