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SUPERSTRUCTURES
Engineers + Architects

14 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005
(212) 505 1133

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info@superstructures.com

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hrposting@superstructures.com


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    SuperScript is a quarterly newsletter from SUPERSTRUCTURES. Founded in 1981, we are a firm of architects, structural engineers, and conservators dedicated to the art and science of exterior restoration.

      SuperScript

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      April 7, 2021

      If Superstructures had a mascot…

      …it would be this guy. We’d call him Bucky, after fellow visionary, R. Buckminster Fuller.

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      Bucky’s innovative solution to the maze sums up our mission in a single gif: why follow convention when there’s a better, more direct path?

      In Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, Fuller offered this anecdote:

      “If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem.”

      In keeping with Fuller’s colorful analogy, part of SUPERSTRUCTURES’ mission has been to drag the practice of exterior restoration into the 21st century (from the 19th, where it seems to reside). Our success in doing so has been the key to our preeminence in the field.

      So, instead of swing staging, where two mechanics operate two separate motors that don’t even communicate with one another (despite, you know, Wi-Fi), we prefer to use computer-stabilized platform lifts. We reserve rope access (familiar to sailors 500 years ago) as a last resort for otherwise inaccessible locations—not as our go-to vehicle for facade inspection.

      Back in 1985, SUPERSTRUCTURES was one of the first firms to fully embrace AutoCAD as a production tool. We first used it as an “electric pencil,” but soon began thinking of CAD as a portal to a database, enabling us to handle massive projects quickly and accurately. There’s probably no other firm in our niche with that capability or vision.

      Other firms have copied our lozenge-shaped drawing labels, but nobody else has captured the disciplined elegance of our RAD (Restoration Assembly Detail) tag system of markers and restoration assemblies. Nobody has copied our AIM (Asset Information Management) Mobile tool, which allows us to record observations on a mobile device instead of paper (invented by the ancient Egyptians).

      We are constantly on the lookout for new materials. SUPERSTRUCTURES was the first firm in New York City to specify vacuum insulating panels (VIPs) as a solution to complications arising from new energy codes requiring R 30+  insulation for building roofs. VIPs provide the mandated R value without increasing the thickness of the existing insulation layer, thereby eliminating the need to increase the height of parapets and door thresholds.

      Sometimes, to our frustration, we’re ahead of the curve. We’ve got drones, pilots, cameras, and SurfaceCaptureSM (our proprietary technology for organizing and viewing the results of a drone inspection), but drone takeoffs and landings are still not permitted in NYC. We hope that will change soon.

      SUPERSTRUCTURES is the only firm our size with a dedicated Tech (IT) Studio. The Studio develops new digital tools on a regular basis, but we encourage everyone on our team to think about improvements that might advance the state of the art.

      Does all this sound like the sort of visionary approach you share? Get in touch or apply here.

       

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