12 May 2011

Why 3CDC Roof Blew Off

As I watch 3CDC repair the damage to their building on Race Street I have been pondering why the damage was so extreme. And then, while looking at the picture below, the cause became apparent. Here is a picture from the Washington Park construction website from April 7th. The roof that blew off is circled in red.  
Now the most obvious thing in the photo is the huge excavation in the foreground. I was at my windows watching the gusts of wind as they came in after midnight April 19-20th. The gusts came from the West, gained speed in the hole, and blew upward across Race Street, where it blew off the roof of 1400 Race and blew slates off of Nast Trinity church, and blew down a street tree.

This hole was previously covered with 3-4 story buildings, and later a school. All of the clustered buildings in OTR collectively buffer the winds and protect each other. It is clear that the removal of this buffer allowed the winds to damage buildings that had previously been buffered by buildings and park trees.


Anonymous said...

I don't know your background, but i'd need some more proof to that. If anything wouldnt more buildings create a wind tunnel?

I wouldn't totally rule it out though. But Music Hall is one heck of a buffer from the west even with the hole. wheres a thermodynamics specialist when you need one.

prolix21 said...

CityKin is correct, I was talking to one of the guys from HGC yesterday and basically what happened was that the wall in the circle was compromised/collapsed, letting the wind get in and lift the roof off and drop in the ally behind.

The top floor of that building was left pretty much as-is during renovation b/c it had a newer roof and being one of the higher points around there, it took the brunt of some of the high winds that night.

After that a tree fell and ruptured a rather large sprinkler line which ran for hours before anyone was alerted. When HGC got on site they had 2 feet of water on the top floor and around a foot on all floors below, as well as water pouring out the front doors onto race street.

Quite a mess and a real headache for everyone involved. Around 280k in costs just to get the building dried out.

Jon said...

ya... I guess it makes sense that that would be part of it... But part of me thinks it was shoddy construction and that 3CDC might want to consider action against HGC.

150+ years and within a month of being "rehabbed" and fixed up the roof is torn off in a strong storm, but certainly not the worst in history.

You'd think all that work should technically make a building stronger- clearly not the case here.