Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed its latest investigative findings related to the deadly collapse of the Florida International University (FIU) pedestrian bridge that killed six in Miami earlier this year. The bridge, which hovered over eight lanes of traffic at an already hazardous intersection at the university, was designed to minimize disruptions to the transportation below, and it featured an amenity deck and bicycle lane for students. Its March 15, 2018, collapse, which completely flattened the cars underneath, could have been the result of errors in its design, according to the NTSB. Within the framework of the NTSB investigation, authorities from the Federal Highway Administration assessed the 174-foot-long, 950-ton span’s construction and found crucial design errors in the north end of the structure, where two trusses were connected diagonally to the bridge deck. According to the reports, the bridge's designers overestimated the capacity of a major section of the bridge and underestimated the load that section would have to carry. Examiners also discovered that the cracks found in the northernmost nodal region prior to the collapse were related to the aforementioned design errors. On August 9, 2018, the NTSB tested the concrete and steel used for the bridge, finding that there were no flaws in either of the materials. The report also included detailed pictures of the cracks at the north end of the bridge, which were minor before the span’s installation but transformed into fissure-like gaps by the time the structure was placed over the busy highway. Investigators believe the gaps contributed significantly to the bridge’s failure. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognized safety violations on March 15, the day of the collapse, and hired five contractors to inspect the structure and implement repairs, including Munilla Construction Management. However, OSHA issued FIGG Bridge Engineers, a designer on the project, a serious violation with a fine of over $12,000 for putting employees in physical danger by permitting them to work on the bridge after the dangerous cracks were discovered. The NTSB report is preliminary, and investigators are still searching for other design and technical flaws that led to the bridge’s failure.
Posts tagged with "Safety":
A recently completed school project by Brooks + Scarpa in Los Angeles aims to soften the severity of new school security measures by focusing on formal exuberance and textured materiality to create a series of perforated metal panel-covered learning sheds that also happen to be bulletproof. With the project, Animo South Los Angeles Charter High—a public charter school located in South L.A’s Westmont neighborhood—aims to bounce back from a devastating 2014 fire that wiped out half the campus. The school has not been directly been involved in a shooting, but violence plagues portions of the surrounding local community. Because the school is located near the sites of several gang-related shootings—the complex has been hit by unintended drive-by gunfire in the past—the new facilities are designed to higher security standards than might otherwise be the case. Four years after the blaze, Brooks + Scarpa have delivered a new 630-student structure that aims for “fresh air and daylight” in its public spaces as well as “a safe and secure environment for leaning and social engagement,” according to the architects. The C-shaped complex contains eleven classrooms in all, as well as two science labs, a faculty lounge, and new administrative and counseling offices that are all linked by exterior walkways wrapped in see-thru metal paneling. For the project, the architects aim to harness new safety-focused design considerations in a way that does not limit design possibilities or produce windowless, hardened spaces. Site requirements for the project demanded a perimeter security wall that was not only 20 feet tall, but could also repel bullets. By placing the bulk of the classrooms along this outermost edge of the site and wrapping those elements in solid walls and expanses of bulletproof curtain walls, the designers appealed to multiple requirements at once. Providing transparency and rigidity together, the perimeter walls—almost totally wrapped in reflective perforated yellow panels—appear solid during the day, when they catch the sunlight. But at night, the volumes glow from within, revealing the silhouettes of the building’s interiors. The perimeter wall maneuver also opened up the possibility of locating a generous courtyard within the complex, creating a plaza that could potentially unify and uplift the campus. Following a footprint derived from the intersecting mix of easements and setbacks the define the site’s buildable area, the single-story complex rises as a seemingly monolithic cluster of three buildings that sit just far enough apart from one another to leave exit corridors in between. These spare and rectilinear circulation spaces are bound by canted walls and connect to the large semi-circular courtyard along the edge of the site facing the existing school. Here, the circular plaza is inscribed with a rounded planter while a linear stone bench cuts across the expanse. Wynne Landscape Design was the landscape architect on the project. The yellow scrim creates a variable and permeable semi-circular edge around the courtyard, cutting into an internal walkway on one end and punctured by a large picture window looking into an administrative office on the other. The courtyard brings daylight into the complex and allows for views to stretch through the building, a boost to the eyes-on-the-street approach of contemporary school safety design. The steel truss-supported scrim is visible from inside the classroom and office spaces, some of which feature direct connections to the exterior spaces formed by the wall and the classroom. Larry Scarpa, principal of Brooks + Scarpa, said, “There are many issues to solve [in school design]—including safety—but without a vibrant learning environment, the kids are the only people who suffer.” Scarpa explained the project also featured high ceilings—the 13- to 20-foot ceilings in the classrooms—which the designers provided by leaving the structural ceilings exposed, with a layer of blue jean insulation left open for all to see. “Studies have shown that students score higher and score better with higher ceilings and ceilings that are painted blue,” Scarpa explained. The school is in the process of moving into the spaces and will come online later this fall in time for the 2018-2019 school year.
Outdoor lighting not only provides safety—it also changes the overall look of a space. These open-air fixtures create an atmospheric mise-en-scène. Solar Foscarini Designed by Jean-Marie Massaud for Foscarini, this outdoor light (pictured above) also acts as a surface to place drinks on or gather around. Made with a unique blend of durable polyethylene and porcelain stoneware, the base is fully illuminated, while the stoneware top shields light from below. Halley Vibia A radiating arch of light is illuminated by a slim array of LEDs nested in a frosted lens. The resulting effect is an elegantly diffused, chiaroscuro treatment of light and shadow. Halley is made in three variations: floor-to-floor, floor-to-wall, and floor-to-clamp. Bollards Sonneman Working as an interconnected system of lighting along paths or planted beds, these bollards create a balance of solid geometry and LED illumination. Rectilinear columns form single-sided and double-sided LED-illuminated fixtures that come with myriad options for lenses, caps, and heights. Poppy Northern Lighting Inspired by a field of tall poppies, these outdoor oil lamps by Northern Lighting were crafted in a shape that captures the flowers’ elegant stems and crowns. Poppy is available as a table lamp, a floor lamp, and a lawn light that attaches to the ground with a pin. Made in powder-coated steel, the series is a part of the Unplugged outdoor lighting collection. Oblique Artemide This outdoor collection is inspired by a plant: Like a growing bean sprout, the oblique light head rest on a vertical stem stretching out of the ground. Artemide offers floor- and wall-mounted versions. Ballad Lamp and Stand Fermob Designed by Tristan Lohner, this portable lantern comes in seven bold colors and can be mounted on a stand to become an outdoor floor lamp. With rechargeable LED technology, the light is solar powered.
With Bill de Blasio making traffic regulation a priority of his fledgling administration, new visualizations of traffic injuries across New York City illustrate what the new mayor is up against in attempting to make such incidents a thing of the past. Statistician and Pratt professor Ben Wellington has used open data documenting traffic fatalities and cyclist injuries to generate heat maps of where in the city such events tended to occur in 2013. The resulting images, published on Wellington's blog I Quant NY, paint a somewhat grim image. A map that simply locates each of last year's 3800 reported cyclist injuries is so swarmed as to be rendered largely uninformative when zoomed out. The heat map generated from this diagram points to the Lower East Side of Manhattan and its cross-river neighbor, Williamsburg, as accident hotbeds. Despite these clear visual trends, such developments do not necessarily indict these two areas as more explicitly dangerous for bikers and then other parts of the city as they do not incorporated ridership density. Thus it is possible that these neighborhoods appear swathed in red simply because their streets play host to a higher amount of two-wheeled traffic than other portions of the city. Williamsburg maintains its scarlet presence in a map depicting 2013 traffic deaths. The East Side makes a slightly less conspicuous appearance while northern parts of Manhattan and the Bronx also reveal a proclivity for such incidents. Wellington identifies Brooklyn's Broadway, Queens Boulevard, and Grand Concourse in the Bronx as particularly deadly roadways. If the mayor gets his wish, generating 2014's iterations of these maps will be a far easier task. Nonetheless the images only reinforce the idea that Vision Zero—and the heat-free maps it would create—appears to be quite a lofty goal.
Yesterday, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau served an indictment against a dozen employees of a concrete inspection company, which the DA cited for improperly inspecting at least 102 buildings in the city in recent years. According to the Times' account, Testwell, of Ossinning, New York, was "the city's leading concrete-testing firm." AN picked up a copy of the indictment today, and how right the paper of record is. What is striking is the number and range of projects Testwell touched--or didn't, as the case may be. The Times notes three--the Freedom Tower, new Yankees Stadium, and the Gensler-designed Terminal 5 for Jet Blue--and adds that city officials believe all projects to be safe, though the quality of the concrete may be inferior and thus have a shorter lifespan. But the other 99 projects are not just faceless outer borough in-fill. 7 World Trade Center is there, as are a number of high profile projects, including Norman Foster's Hearst Building, Frank Gehry's Beekman Place tower, Polshek's Brooklyn Museum Expansion, FXFowle's One Bryant Park and 11 Times Square, KPF's Goldman Sachs HQ in Batter Park City, and the new Greek and Roman Gallery's at the Met by Beyer Blinder Belle. (The indictment [we've linked a PDF of the list below] lists the gallery as MoMA, but that can't be right. Not surprisingly, roughly half the projects are nondescript luxury condo projects--10 Barclay, 150 Lafeyette, 801 Amsterdam, Latitude Riverdale--not unlike the majority of construction work in the city during the recent boom. A number of government projects, big and small, local and federal, are listed, including Brooklyn Borough Hall, I.S. 303, Thurgood Marshall Federal Courthouse, as well as a number of collegiate buildings. Perhaps most unsettling, safe or otherwise, are the infrastructure projects the company worked on, such as the Second Avenue subway, New Rochelle MetroNorth station, and, scariest of all, the deck replacement of the Triborough Bridge. There are a few oddballs, too:the USS Intrepid's refurbished Pier 86, the Pier 90 cruise terminal, the massive Xanadu commercial complex at the Meadowlands. The Testwell 102