[DWJ] Re: architects was Sacking the maids...

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Thu May 17 17:09:49 EDT 2007

Architects for schools I'm sure went into the profession only to get revenge against teachers and/or school students. I did know one former example who got so depressed at lying to teachers about how well their new buildings would work, and what they would be getting that he resigned and became a priest. I've taught in school libraries which were built on four levels, in which one librarian was expected to supervise 100 or more students, the most impossible to view rooms had doors leading into the senior students common room, just to make security easy. Eventually one architecture critic burnt it down. We did have some say in the rebuilding but we were stuck with the same external shell. My current library is very easy to supervise being on one level, however about 80% of its volume is above the level of the windows so in summer it gets very hot. There is a skylite in the roof designed for ventilation, but if opened it can't be shut properly and rain gets in. It has managed
 to survive two attempts to burn the school down but it is only about 2 metres above sea level so global warming may get it, it already has drainage problems because of this.


----- Original Message ----
From: Minnow <minnow at belfry.org.uk>
To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion <dwj at suberic.net>
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2007 5:07:23 AM
Subject: Re: [DWJ] Sacking the maids...

Dorian wrote:
>You should hear my mother on the subject of the building in which she works
>(she's a university librarian working in a shiny newly built library).  They
>may have made it strong enough to hold the books, but they made whole walls
>of windows which can't be opened, completely ignoring (a) the way lots of
>light ain't so good for books, and (b) all those windows make the place like
>a greenhouse, and all that heat ain't so good for the books, the people, or
>the computers.  (And the air-conditioning doesn't work.)

This is one of those architectural fashions, the glass-box school.  It's
lousy for offices too, and though they keep on wittering about new sorts of
glass that don't fry the poeple working inside boxes made of them
unfortunately they don't seem to use them.

>Apparently another university library sent a delegation to see this shiny
>new library building, with a view to hiring the same architect.  Over the
>protests of the management-types, the librarians showed them all around
>pointing out each and every flaw in the design.

Good for them!

>As for missing obvious mistakes...my secondary school had the radiators in
>the ceilings.  The architect, and everyone else involved, appeared to have
>completely missed the bit about heat rising.  (And I wouldn't be surprised
>to learn that that was a contributing factor to the leaky roofs.)

"Ceiling heating" was fashionable for a while, and a lot of bald men living
in council flats suffered from a rather nasty variation of sunburn and had
to wear hats indoors at all times.

Reading University library at Whiteknights Park was originally built with a
flat, water-permeable roof...


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