Category Archives: Materials

Some challenging questions ahead…


Where is the finish line? Closing out a project is perhaps the most challenging activity we all deal with. There are so many final things to get done and that’s just on the construction side. There is all the paperwork too. Where are we on the checklist? That’s a question for the contractor. Continue reading

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Natural Beauty – materials in the raw

Slate Flooring

There are materials that have a natural richness and warmth. When they are truly natural materials, they are even more amazing. This is the case with the flooring in the Gallery space. The Gallery is the most richly appointed space in the Visitor Center with wood ceilings, natural stone walls, metal wall panels, broad expanses of glass and the natural slate flooring.

There is a lot of effort that is not recognized in making sure that materials installed in a building will last. The design for the Visitor Center is one that we want to last for a long time and FSB paid extra attention to the design of each assembly of materials to assure that the finish product would endure time. The floor assembly in the Gallery is one that received special attention. Continue reading

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That Moment of Relief

 water feature details-1

Restrooms; they come by many names.

  • Bathroom is interchangeable with restroom
  • Public toilet or public lavatory
  • Public loo (less formal Aussie version)
  • Comfort room (C.R.)
  • There are single compartment restrooms
  • Multiple fixture restrooms
  • And coming on to the market are gender-neutral or unisex restrooms. These were introduced as the single compartment variety, but are now showing up as multiple fixture restrooms that are not gender specific in terms of signage or usage; more so in Europe than state side. You no longer have to worry that you accidentally walked into the wrong restroom. Continue reading


Filed under Construction, LEED ®, Materials

A Material World – but not just yet

Gallery Space

The Gallery Area is the grandest space in the Chickasaw Visitor Center, high volume, high level of finishes, rich, warm, lots of natural light, and fantastic views. The space is essentially closed in and there is attention now being given to this grand area of the building. Progress is steady but not particularly rocking and rolling. Continue reading

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Are We There Yet?

Proposed - Actual ; West Elevation

It seems inevitable that the closer we get to our destination we begin to get impatient. During the final portion of our journey, time seems to slow to a snail’s pace. Things are in slow motion compared to the high energy beginning of the trip. We have all been on that family trip either as kids or with kids when this phenomenon occurs. The length of the trip is not so much a factor (to another town, to another state) so long as it’s long enough to bring on that antsy feeling.

Well, I’m feeling antsy. Continue reading

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Stone Cold – masons at work

Stone Veneer

A significant portion of the building will be clad with stone veneer. I estimate that it is equivalent to about 40% of the exterior of the Visitor Center. The stone provides an esthetic quality to the building, contributes to the overall thermal value of the wall assembly and functions as a component of the rain wall system although not the most efficient material in this application. Continue reading


Filed under Construction, LEED ®, Materials

Getting Closure

Gallery Envelope

The building envelope, the exterior skin, is slowly closing up. The exterior walls of the lower office area are getting pretty solid. The final exterior finish of stone veneer still needs to be put in place. The window openings are recognizable but the aluminum frames and glass are not in place.

The portion of the building that is still wide open is the high volume Gallery area on the upper level. While there are some solid walls in the Gallery, the walls consist mostly of large expanses of glass in aluminum curtain wall framing. While the framing is just beginning to go in, you can sense the transparency and views that there will be in the finished Gallery. Continue reading

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Methodical Progress – construction moves forward

Steel Rising

We are picking up where we left off on construction activity. It has been several weeks and during that period we took a healthy diversion looking into LEED; how we were getting the points and where we stood on achieving our certification goal. That story is not over yet; we know pretty much where we are from a design standpoint, but the construction points are still being validated.

The last view of the project was that of the steel structure topping out and the roof decking going on creating a blanket over the roof framing in “Taking It to the Next Level.” The building was ready for the interior guts and exterior envelope to be put into place. These activities started on the lower level of the Visitor Center and will be spreading to the upper level. Continue reading

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LEEDing Us to Water – minding conservation

Water Conservation

In the developed world where most of us reading this post live, we tend to take clean water for granted. And we are often wasteful. We even pay crazy prices for it packaged in plastic bottles. Natural mineral water has been elevated to a gourmet status with bottling and labeling rivaling what we find on fine wine racks.

We don’t think much about water consumption in general when in fact globally water is scarce. This is a cruel fact when you consider that nearly 1 billion people in developing countries across the globe do not have access to it. For them, clean, safe drinking water is seriously scarce. Continue reading

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LEEDing the Way – documentation


It’s time to take a look at where we are on the path to LEED Certification. Early in the project going back to setting the goals with the client we collectively discussed the sustainability objectives for the project and it was decided to achieve one of the higher levels attainable. Then as a team we reviewed all the available LEED points and set a target for those points we would and could obtain. We identified the points necessary to achieve LEED Gold Certification. We initially set our sights higher than that but resolved after reviewing certain project constraints that we could handily go for gold.

The worksheet and narrative that we used to document our direction was published in our post “LEED-how green is green.” But you can go straight to the LEED Project Checklist by clicking “here.” So what happens next after you set your LEED point goals? Well at that point we incorporate the requirements whether it was energy efficiency, low-emitting materials or other credits into the design and construction documents; drawings and specifications which were explored in “Blueprints / what are they, what are they for.” Continue reading

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