Three different building shapes...
How hard can it be to give names to these? Here's what I did to figure these out...
1. What is this kind of building called? Why does it have this distinctive shape?
Building Type A: It's located at 47.5529417,-122.3365972 -- What kind of building is it?
I've seen this peculiar building shape in lots of industrial areas, but never really knew what it was all about. The Challenge is to figure out what/why/how!
I searched for quite a while to figure out this one; probably 90 minutes all together. I tried queries like [industrial building profile] or [shop building elevation] or even [industrial building design] (along with truly hopeless queries like [roof with horns] and [dual ventilation industry]).
Out of desperation I wrote to an architect friend and asked--"What is this?" He replied, "I have no idea, but I've only ever seen them used for glassworks."
So I went back to Streetview for that location and checked out the sign on the street. Notice that building shape in the upper right background, AND notice the graphics on the wall behind the sign... lots of glass bottles.
|Streetview of the corner near the lat/long given.
My next search was:
[ glass factory roof ]
which led me to a QA site at the Corning Museum of Glass where someone asked the question: "Old glass factories have a distinct kind of roof design. Is that for ventilation? What is it called?"
The answer given is (in short) "Robertson Ventilator." From there it's a short query, [ Robertson ventilator ] to
the Robertson company site which explains that these devices are generically called monitor ventilators. (Robertson is the company that makes the most popular version.) That site goes on to explain that "Monitor ventilators provide the necessary capacity to meet the exhaust requirements of extreme heat and fume removal problems such as those associated with the glass and steel manufacturing industries. Internal conditions in industrial buildings producing extreme degrees of heat and fumes often cannot effectively be relieved by installing unit ventilators or by conventional continuous ridge ventilators
Armed with that information, it's pretty easy to find buildings with these devices.
Building Type B: You used to see this distinctive shape everywhere. There are still a bunch of these buildings out there, often repurposed from their original use. What are these things called?
I think most people just recognized this as a Quonset hut. I'm impressed that so many people just know this.
But if you didn't know what it was, how would you search for it?
In my case, the very first query was just description: [ semi circular building ], which gave me lots of round-buildings in exotic locations, but when I added in the material, like this:
[ steel semi circular building ]
you can see I found it pretty accurately.
I was impressed with all of the web sites that Regular Readers found. Check out the Quonset Hut: Metal Living for a Modern Age website (and book), or the Seabees web page about Quonset huts. One of the key advantages of the Quonset hut design was that it's"...so simple to erect that anyone who could hammer a nail could set it up. A crew of just 6 experienced men could build a hut in a single day."
Building Type C: Here's another common industrial building design pattern. Why would they make the roof like that?
This is the original HP building from many years ago. And when I did my search for this, I got lucky and searched for:
[ saw tooth roof ]
and found that these roofs are designed with a series of ridges with roofing on one side and windows on the other. The steeper surfaces have windows and face away from the equator to shield workers and machinery from direct sunlight. This roof shape lets natural light into a deep plan building or factory. (And not incidentally, makes it easy to ventilate a busy working area. See the monitor ridge ventilators of above.)
In two of the three cases, fairly straightforward descriptions of the buildings just worked out without any problems. I DID have to modify my query about semi-circular buildings to add "steel" into the query, but that only took a second or two.
But finding Building Type A was tough! Why was it so hard?
Because I had almost nothing to go on. I didn't know what to call something like that, and without a speciality term, all I had were vague, overly general search terms ("industrial" and "horn-shaped").
Once I learned that it was a shape associated with glass manufacturing, I had something specific to work with. So my lesson for this week is really...
When you can find something specific to your query, use it. (But be sure it's the right thing, lest you run down a long rabbit hole!)