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Stunning Architecture: Building Series Part 3

Our world offers mind-blowing architectural gems that you won’t want to miss. On the 3rd Thursday of each month, we are sharing three structures. The eccentric, the iconic, and a lost treasure. 
The Eccentric: Dancing House
Ah, the romance of dance, especially when legendary duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were in the house! The Dancing House, designed by Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry, is a blend of static and dynamic elements, inspired by the iconic American dancers.
The Iconic: Las Lajas Sanctuary
In 1754, Maria Mueces de Quiñones and her deaf-mute daughter Rosa were caught in a terrifying storm. Sheltering between flat slabs of sedimentary rock called laja, Mueces was shocked when her daughter cried out, “The Mestiza (the Virgin) is calling me,” and pointed to a silhouette lit by a flash of lightning. An image of the Virgin appeared on one of the slabs. But that’s just the beginning.
The "Mostly" Lost Treasure: World's Columbian Exposition
In 1893, the World’s Colombian Exposition celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World. It is often referred to as “The White City,” for its plethora of buildings, all cloaked in white. It featured 14 “great buildings” surrounding a giant reflecting pool called the Great Basin. During its run, the fair welcomed more than 27.3 million people from around the world. 

Hilliard & Pinevision can help you achieve and maintain ADA website compliance.

In the last few years, there has been a spike in web accessibility lawsuits being brought against small and medium-sized businesses. These lawsuits have all been filed under ADA Title III. The law prohibits discrimination based on disability by places of “public accommodation”, which includes both websites and brick-and-mortar facilities.
Technically speaking, website accessibility is defined by the requirements laid out by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To determine if these requirements are met, a checklist called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, or WCAG, is used. In more layman terms, website accessibility is simply giving someone with a disability, like limited or no sight or hearing, the ability to experience all elements of your website.
The effort to make sure a website is accessible is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing effort that needs constant attention. To learn more about ADA compliance and website accessibility, Hilliard’s website partner, Pinevision Design Studio, would be happy to provide a free consultation to discuss your website and accessibility options. Pinevision has also developed an all-inclusive, accessible website solution for small businesses, which you can learn more about here.

Stunning Architecture: Building Series Part 2

Our world offers mind-blowing architectural gems that you won’t want to miss. On the 3rd Thursday of each month, we are sharing three structures. The eccentric, the iconic, and a lost treasure. 
The Eccentric: Kansas City Library
Where in the world can you drive into a giant bookshelf to park your car? The answer? In Kansas City, Missouri on a visit to the central branch of the city’s public library!
The Iconic: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
This breathtaking museum holds quite a story. In 1991, the Basque government approached the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to develop a museum in Bilbao's decrepit port area. The government cost was $US170 million, but it has paid off handsomely. In its first three years, the government turned that into a revenue of €600 million, an approximate 70% return on investment.
The Lost Treasure: The Amber Room
Imagine getting a gift like this! In 1716, King Frederick William I of Prussia gave political ally Peter the Great of Russia a truly amazing gift: the Amber Room. This marvel of design and execution disappeared into Nazi Germany some two hundred years later. 

Stunning Architecture: Building Series Part 1

Our world offers mind-blowing architectural gems that you won’t want to miss. On the 3rd Thursday of each month, we’ll be sharing three structures. The eccentric, the iconic, and a lost treasure. 
The Eccentric: A Bird’s-Eye View of Casa Milà
This lovely, idiosyncratic building was designed by Antoni Gaudi but was promptly dubbed La Pedrera—"the stone quarry"—by neighbors who were less than charmed by its asymetrical, rough-hewn design and undulating walls.
The Iconic: A Bird’s-Eye View of the New World Trade Center
When the towers fell on September 11, 2001, our world was shattered – changed forever. But Americans never quit and on this 20th anniversary, we have literally risen from the ashes. We also never forget. The 9/11 Museum memorializes the souls lost and tells the story of one of our darkest days.
The Lost Treasure: A Bird’s-Eye View of the Crystal Palace
The Victorian era was one of energy and optimism, fueled by the Industrial Revolution and Britain’s sense of superiority and world domination. The Crystal Palace was designed to house the Great Exhibition of 1851, featuring a mind-boggling 294,000 panes of glass.

Biotechnology in the Bay Area: The Road Ahead

In my capacity as Senior HealthCare Planner at Hilliard Architects, I attend many business and technology events. Recently I sat in on a fascinating virtual presentation sponsored by the Bay Area Biotech Forum and pharma/life sciences giant Bayer and moderated by life sciences reporter Ron Leuty of the San Francisco Business Times.

Even if you do not have any biotech design/construction projects planned for the foreseeable future, this 5-minute read offers some interesting insights into an important player in this area’s fast-changing economy.

Congratulations are in order!

Congratulations to our friends and engineering partners at Guttmann & Blaevoet for being named one of the 2021 Bay Area Best Places to Work.

We wholeheartedly agree – they are a great company to work with!

Notre Dame Series Pt. 5

The Restoration

Scientists, artists, and historians all play an important part in the restoration of Notre Dame.

In part 5, the last in our series, we look at how many of the original materials (stone and metal) are being deemed safe and reused. And how a beautiful and innovative new spire design fared against tradition.

Above all, we can’t wait to visit and see the work complete! 

How to Contain Construction Costs on
OSHPD-Permitted Renovation Project

When looking at a renovation project in a building with areas of obvious code violations, you may be tempted to bring the entire space up to current code. But if your budget is limited, you can make your project more financially manageable by demonstrating that areas outside the immediate project met code when they were first built. This is a smart strategy that saves money.

Notre Dame Series Pt. 4

The Architecture and History

Notre-Dame is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in existence — from its rib vaulting, innovative flying buttresses, and beautiful rose windows.

​​​​​​​In part 4 of our series, we take a quick look at the history of the site and building itself. 

Notre Dame Series Pt. 3

The Fire: What Was Saved and What Was Lost

Notre Dame de Paris, a Gothic masterpiece, is filled with centuries of art and artifacts. Curious to know what made it out? And how?

In part 3 of this series, we look at which of the many historic artifacts were lost and saved during and after fire. We also tell you how they made it out (think "bucket-brigade") and some of what's being restored. It's a global effort!

Notre Dame Series Pt. 2

The Fire and the Environment

Essentially, the story of the Notre-Dame fire and the environment is the story of lead.

Notre-Dame’s walls and vaulted ceiling are stone, but its roof and spire are ancient 13th century oak sheathed in lead to protect against water damage. The elegant spire—also called a flèche, or arrow—has been rebuilt several times over the centuries.

At 600°, lead oxidizes into microscopic particles, forming an ugly yellow cloud that poured out of the cathedral.

Notre Dame Series Pt. 1 - The Fire

The Unimaginable

Imagine a building you’re familiar with—perhaps your city’s town hall, a nearby apartment complex, or even your own home—bursting unexpectedly into flames. Unimaginable, eh?  

In this article, we set the fire scene. In four subsequent articles, we explore the cathedral’s history, what was destroyed and what was saved, environmental damage, and restoration efforts.

Photo credit: Part of "The devastating Notre Dame Cathedral fire, in 19 photos" by manhhai is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Revisiting Notre Dame – an upcoming 5-part series on the 2-year anniversary of the fire

On 15 April 2019, just before 18:20 CEST, a fire broke out beneath the roof of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral. By the time it was extinguished, this historic building's spire had collapsed and most of its roof had been destroyed and its upper walls severely damaged.
What’s happened since then? In the coming weeks, Hilliard Architects will publish a 5-part series on the fire, the environmental impact, and the current state of rebuilding. Join us here or watch for our posts on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Photo credit: Creative Commons Wandrille de Préville

Company Towns: A Whole New Look

We’ve all heard of company towns — often-dismal places where an organization’s employees are paid in scrip and essentially forced into indentured servitude. (Think early-20th century mining towns in Appalachia.)
Now, there’s a new twist on the concept, revealed by Jonathan Hilburg in an article in The Architect’s Newspaper.

Here’s an Easy Way to Test Your Double-Pane Windows for Seal Failure

A failed window seal allows moisture in, reducing the insulation value of the glass and discoloring the film that blocks the sun. The windowpane looks cloudy and dirty.
To determine which glass panes have failed, you can hire a window installation company to test all of your windows. Or you can do this simple test yourself!
man sealing windowman sealing window

Wooden Skyscrapers – Not Your “Three Little Pigs” House of Sticks

Wooden skyscrapers are capturing the imagination of architects around the world. Commonly referred to as mass timber building, or plyscrapers, they’re built using various laminated lumber products. But they’re no “houses of sticks.” These “sticks” are engineered structural timber produced by laminating several layers of lumber with high-strength adhesive, resulting in a composite that rivals the strength of steel.
wooden scyscraperwooden scyscraper

Surprise! You’ve got Vikings.​​​​​​​

Every Architects’ nightmare is discovering your project site is an archaeological treasure, but in this case that nightmare turned into an incredible way to lure customers into the store. This Irish supermarket Lidl worked with architects and archaeologists to preserve an 11th century Irish Viking house under the new supermarket. A glass window in the floor lets visitors look back in time. Diagrams throughout the store talk about Dublin’s colorful history.
image of supermarket and freezersimage of supermarket and freezers