Building Science and Physics vs. Architectural Sensitivity; Design of Enclosures in the Most Hostile of Environments

1 module



Course Length
1 hour

Kipp Gaynor

$95 - 150


Architectural design and sensitivity to skyline views and noise concerns for penthouse unit occupants impacted the original design of the cooling system on a high-rise, leading to placement of the cooling towers in the basements of the east and west wings. Eleven-story air shafts facilitated the cooling tower exhaust, as well as the parking garage ventilation. Organic growth and saturated drywall were observed, giving rise to an investigation.
A fire-rated shaft assembly was determined to be woefully inadequate in reconciling the vapor drive and water management issues associated with the extremely high humidity and the temperature differentials across the enclosure. Physical configuration and a lack of thought led to systemic water and air leakage through the enclosure wall. Full shaft wall replacement was required.
WUFI® analysis was used to validate the design concept using an exterior insulation approach, coupled with a redundant vapor barrier system. Further complicating the design were extreme vapor pressure differentials and flow reversals, as well as structural issues related to concrete deterioration and post-tensioned concrete pocket protection. Design provisions also included data logging, and a tattletale system to monitor for bulk water infiltration was designed into the enclosure system.

Kipp Gaynor has over 33 years of experience in the design and evaluation of new and existing buildings, with concentration in the evaluation and remediation of existing building problems such as deterioration of structural components and exterior wall system failures. His past projects have included commercial, large-scale residential, institutional, and governmental structures with a wide array of structural problems, including structural deterioration, foundation settlement problems, and moisture intrusion issues. Gaynor has extensive experience with a variety of repair projects. He received his B.S. in civil engineering technology from Pennsylvania State University in 1984, and is a member of ASCE, ICRI, CSI, CAI, NRCA, ACI, IIBEC, DCMA, and AAMA.

Learning Credits

Building Science and Physics vs. Architectural Sensitivity; Design of Enclosures in the Most Hostile of Environments
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