One Post Office Square Makeover and Expansion | Financial District

whighlander

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Valid question. I don't know enough about this particular building to answer it directly, but there are several general answers that relate to what you ask.

First, do we even know that the mechanicals are going to be near/at the top of this particular tower? (I am sure the plans are somewhere, but I don't have time to look for them). Many older (e.g., pre-21st century sustainability movement) towers situated their mechanicals elsewhere, or distributed them by segments of the tower. Examples abound in Boston, such as Harbor Towers having all their systems in the adjacent garage. Even One International Place doesn't appear to have all its mechanicals at the roof. Consolidating all of the mechanicals at/near roof has been a prevalent design option for a long time, but its shift to being a universal approach is relatively recent, coupled with the concept of not putting any of them in basements for resiliency reasons.

Modern a/c condenser systems are, counterintuitively to some, much larger than legacy systems. The substantial improvements in efficiency actually corresponded to size increases: a huge ass heat exchanger is much more efficient than a compact heat exchanger, all else equal. However, there are other benefits despite the heft. They are often quieter and generate less vibration. Especially gravity fed water exchangers can be (relatively speaking) very quiet.

But perhaps the most relevant point is that we've come a long, long way in vibration damping and sound isolation. It can get expensive, but it's not inconceivable that a substantial mechanical system could be located very close to occupied space with the sound/vibration being barely noticeable. This must surely be the case at Millennium Tower, where a ton of mechanicals sit just above the $30M penthouse. A thick floor, coupled with everything sitting on properly tuned isolators, plus lots of insulation and thick/multi-paned glazing should do the trick. The nice thing about vibration generated by rotating machinery is that it can be very precisely tuned out by frequency. When we experience that not being done well, it's usually just that someone didn't spend the $$ to do it right.
BigPicture -- some very pertinent points -- this is a rapidly evolving discipline -- with the COVID-19 now beginning to be part of the story

One aspect of the HVAC design that is evolving very rapidly recently [taking advantage of the lessons learned from semi fabs and bio labs where air handling is the cornerstone of the design] -- the desire for a whole lot more fresh air in offices and residences symbiotically with the desire for the highest energy efficiency for the HVAC

The result is:
The building envelop itself is very tight -- essentially sealed like a vacuum chamber​
but there are plenty of sq ft of ventilation air intake and exhaust with locally sited heat exchange occurring between the outside air coming in and going out and the conditioned circulating and augmented inside air​
if you do this centrally -- you have to carry a lot of air throughout the building not just chilled water to/from local air handling units​
thermally isolating the in/out make-up air flows from the conditioned circulating air​
the best way to be efficient and not have a new tyranny of massive ductwork throughout [as you see commonly in a single family residence with central Heat/Cool] appears to be:​
to distribute the air handling equipment throughout the structure [as you see in a single family residence with "split AC" units in the walls]​
keeping the ductwork to a minimum​
although increasing the number of heat exchange units by a lot​
 

stefal

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I don't see any program section that indicates where the mechanical level is in any of the proposal documents. There's only a massing diagram that indicates HVAC equipment being placed on the roof with a short screen around all sides.

This building's upgrades are largely related to these upgrades, though. The sustainability and efficiency of the building has to increase dramatically to justify the renovation itself, reducing the operating/life-cycle costs. I imagine some hefty equipment will be put somewhere in the building, and from an engineering standpoint, closer to the top is better.
 

DZH22

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Steel is finally above ground on the garage portion. Snapped 1 pic but it came out too blurry so you'll just have to believe me. :cool:
 

stick n move

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Modern office towers have their exterior basically snapped on like a phone cover. Just in lots of small modular parts. They are basically just swapping out one for another
I always say this. The modern glass facade has made it so architects just design a general shape of the building to try to make it interesting, but the facade itself is just wrapped around this shape. Whereas in the past the facade could have all sorts of interesting details that had to be designed and were a part of the overall design. You sometimes get lucky like with steinway tower, but in general these days its all about trying to create an interesting shape of the building vs interesting pattern to go on the building. I hope we can move away from this soon.
 

whighlander

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I always say this. The modern glass facade has made it so architects just design a general shape of the building to try to make it interesting, but the facade itself is just wrapped around this shape. Whereas in the past the facade could have all sorts of interesting details that had to be designed and were a part of the overall design. You sometimes get lucky like with steinway tower, but in general these days its all about trying to create an interesting shape of the building vs interesting pattern to go on the building. I hope we can move away from this soon.
Stick -- modern technology will soon allow the exterior of the structure to be a very big screen with the properties enabling the exterior to control light and heat flows as well as displace whatever you essentially want even up to full motion video

The only problem right now is the material durability or lack there of -- its enough of a problem for these materials indoors where the exposure to most bad things is minimal -- yet between nano-diamond layers and other things in the lab -- good bet it happens fairly soon

Then you could do temporary Trompe l'oeil installations
Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola,
A trompe-l’oeil ceiling with columns, balconies and arches, seen from below.
Formerly in the 1637 album containing 279 miscellaneous drawings, British Museum.
© The Trustees of the British Museum.
 

DigitalSciGuy

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Can someone explain a little more about what's going on here with the steel work? This looks more like the heavy steel structure in the original building than what I feel like I've seen in newer structures. I think it's specifically those slots to secure the cross-members that's making this look especially 'heavy'.
 

DwnTwnr

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I have hopes that the new energy codes will push us away from all glass facades. I doubt it because they are, as has been pointed out, so easy to do. And triple glazing seems to be more possible than in the past. But seeing more solid material on towers would be great.

I always say this. The modern glass facade has made it so architects just design a general shape of the building to try to make it interesting, but the facade itself is just wrapped around this shape. Whereas in the past the facade could have all sorts of interesting details that had to be designed and were a part of the overall design. You sometimes get lucky like with steinway tower, but in general these days its all about trying to create an interesting shape of the building vs interesting pattern to go on the building. I hope we can move away from this soon.
 

Jahvon09

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It's looking good!! Like a brand spanking new tower all over again!!! :eek:
 

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