Smart Focus

Resilience. High Performance. Beauty. Productivity. It all matters.

Elizabeth Young

I’m struck by the way this issue of SMART|dynamics of masonry makes such a dynamic point about masonry. Masonry’s resilience, paired with designers’ thoughtful design intent and masons’ craftsmanship produce truly remarkable works of art!

We feature three articles about designing buildings (or parts of buildings) to be storm resistant. Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association statistics show the cost of natural disasters has risen 14-fold since the 1950s. In 2003, six tornados were reported in Canada; in 2013, 33 reported. A 550% increase! As of July 15, 770 tornadoes had been reported across the US this year, with 12 fatalities. While tornadoes can happen anytime, anywhere, summer storms in the middle and southern US typically occur in high numbers.

In order to mitigate the catastrophic loss of life and property, FEMA safe room design guidelines and ICC Building Codes have been updated. PCA’s Director, Building Marketing Jamie Farny writes about using CMU to meet guidelines in FEMA’s Publication 320, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business. Corey Schultz, AIA, LEED AP BD+C and vice president of Schultz2 Architects in Wichita KS, explains the code changes set forth in 2015 IBC and best practices for peer reviewing designs to eliminate failures. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Associate Professor Ece Erdogmus, PhD, PE shares the term project she presented her students with this year. A local church had twice (!) been destroyed by tornadoes, so her architectural engineering graduate students were challenged to design a loadbearing masonry church that would withstand the next tornadic event. Impressive results!

Brick has captured attention of designers as a sculptural medium. Four artists share very diverse projects—from stand-alone sculptures using modular brick to murals to images cast in custom molds. Sculptured brick adds distinction, character and whimsy to a project, while providing durability, longevity, low maintenance and other inherent characteristics.

And, of course, we showcase more of the types of masonry design that typify categories featured in SMART|dynamics of masonry’s Designing Masonry for ALL Its Worth awards program. An Exterior Gathering Space of natural stone and burnished block give the impression that it is almost a continuation of the naturally-occurring stone outcroppings found along the Cumberland River in Nashville’s downtown. A richly-composed stone wall provides a Grand Interior Space, but also serves as a teaching tool to students of Texas Tech’s petroleum engineering program. An Arizona fire station takes advantage of singlewythe burnished block to beautifully reflect its desert surroundings, and earns LEED Platinum certification, taking advantage of masonry’s Sustainability.

Design Masonry for ALL Its Worth to add the high performance and efficiencies so respected today. It’s not too late. Enter your projects for an award and international recognition.

Elizabeth Young

Elizabeth Young Managing Editor, Associate Publisher

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