Re: design as criteria? Design Comes FIRST.
From: Lion Kuntz (
Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 18:58:02 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Lion Kuntz
> >--- Robert Moskowitz wrote:
> >> Opt In
> >> Verification of Financial Capability
> >> Acquisition of Property
> >> Design
> >> Hiring of contractor
> >> Construction
> >> Move in
> >...R. Buckminster Fuller wrote a dozen books and travelled the globe
> >hundreds of times lecturing that design comes first above all other
> >priorities. Nobody got it then, and you still are not getting that.

> Even after your careful post, I'm not sure I get that.
> Is it your contention that design comes before property?  I'm no
> expert but
> I was under the impression that the topography and substrate of the
> property
> had to be considered in design.

Certainly, but what are the design principles that suggest one site is
more worth buying than another? Is there NO site you would refuse to
try to accomodate yourself to? Why not?

The substrate is not much of an issue where many building already are
located nearby, such as in cities, or suburbs. Topography certainly
does have a lot to say about building design, but are there some design
principles which would cause you to refuse a particular site even if
they gave it to you for free? There's an area in Olympia off downtown
which has everything one might want in location convenience and other
topography, but it's dominated by a reeking sewage treatment plant
whose odor hangs heavy over that whole part of town. Certain
metaphysical elements take precedence over physical elements.

> Now, certainly a group will explicate some design values-like
> sustainable,
> eco-friendly, vehicular access, preferred common facilities-but lots
> of
> decisions will depend on how deep you must pour the footers, won't
> they?
> Also, how would this advice change if a group was focused on urban
> retrofit?
> Design must follow acquisition when you (for example) decide you're
> buying
> up an urban city block, or an old warehouse, no?

Over a number of years I asked general contractors about the divisions
in costs in setting new home prices. Only one third of the price is
actual physical materials, and that would include foundations and
footings. Two thirds of the first sale market price goes to other
factors. This is a generalized averaging, and I'm sure every building
project is an exception to the rule, but summing them all and dividing
by the total number of exceptions produces the rule that nobody
actually follows exactly. Deeper footings at one place may have lower
utilities hookup costs, or less paved roadway required in connecting it
to the nearest public road, or intangibles like proximity to preferred
schools or shopping or work.

Even serendipty, say, where a city liquidates a closed public school
property, but local ordinances require it be given preferential pricing
to affordable housing developments, could have powerful influence on
where a community is located and many physical features will be
influenced by that. Still, design principles ought to preceed
construction planning. The number of final finished buildings is
virtually infinite, beyond any human being surveying even a tiny
fraction of them in a lifetime, so it can hardly be said that final
form is predetermined by local land features.

The most beneficial thing you can do with an old warehouse or "historic
mill" is tear it down. In fact, that's a kindness that you could
mercifully apply to a majority of warehouses completed five minutes
ago. There is a very serious problem that 8.7% of total global energy
is consumed in the USA by the building structures. Considering that 5%
of the worlds people lives in the USA, that is 3.7% more than our fair
equitable share used before even beginning counting industry and
transportation sectors of the energy economy. That's a heap of badly
designed buildings hemorrhaging energy inefficiency.
The â??2030 °Challengeâ??

The quicker we move to the 21st Century building designs, the faster we
stop the bleeding. The cost of delay is far higher than the costs of
rapid demolition and replacement. 20,000 future generations of human
beings, some inheriting your genes, have very few spokespersons present
in this slaughterhouse of natural wealth which we call the present.
Their interests are not being represented in the councils of the

The dead are gone and have no stake in the present -- their building
mistakes are not heirlooms, they are deathtraps. They negilgently
refused to take their architectural mistakes down to the grave with
them. Their litter is not objects of my worship.

Here's some pictures of aspects of a building completed in 1908, as
luxury condos of the time, still continuously inhabited for nearly 100

Those whimsical sculptures on the roof are chimney vents. This
photo-study is not particularly applicable to present discussion, as
it's purpose was to illustrate how natural daylighting is brought down
into interiors of buildings using lightwells. Still that one picture
illustrates that there is some design merits to a building which has
satisfied occupants for a century -- few buildings can make such a
claim, and fewer still qualify for making that claim for the next 100
years. Delaying the date of the wrecking ball, or date with recycling
dismantling, of lots of less-than-satisfying structures is false
economy. Either you remove them or Global Warming wrecks them --
there's no third option available to you.

In 2004 Hurricane Francis, a category 1 hurricane of middling strength
spawned the most tornadoes ever recorded in the USA,  117 of them,
followed a few weeks later by Hurricane Ivan's 104 tornadoes. Hurricane
Ivan was cat-3, same strength as Katrina when it hit landfall.

These energy inefficent buildings are going away, one way or another.
Your problem is not how to save money by rehabbing a derelict
warehouse, but how to build roofs that can withstand grapefruit-sized
hailstones coming more regularly now. Grapefruit-sized hail punches
straight through ordinary rooftops. Baseball-sized hail beats up cars
into total wrecks, you too if out in unprotected areas. Google Results about 530 for Grapefruit-Sized
Hail 2006. Google Results about 15,300 for Softball-Sized
Hail 2006. Google Results about 56,400 for Baseball-Sized
Hail 2006. Google Results about 63,300 for Golf Ball-Sized
Hail 2006.

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Sincerely, Lion Kuntz
Santa Rosa, California, USA
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  • Re: design as criteria? truddick, May 19 2006
    • Re: design as criteria? Design Comes FIRST. Lion Kuntz, May 19 2006

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