October 2017 Newsletter Print

The Front Page


The Newsletter of The Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter CSI       October 2017 


Minnesota State Building Code Adoption and Use
Panel Discussion & Lunch catered by D'Amico
International Market Square
Studio 185
November 13, 2017
11:00 am - 1:30 pm


11:00 am - 11:30 am / Registration & Socializing
11:30 am - 12:00 pm / Lunch & Chapter Business Meeting
12:00 am - 1:30 pm / Program Presentation

This is our annual Dunwoody Institute student event and we look forward to extending a warm welcome to these emerging industry members.
Please bring your building code questions with you written on 3” x 5” cards. Greg will try to answer as many questions as time will allow.


Gregory Metz - Education Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Construction Codes and Licensing.

Greg Metz has been the Education Coordinator with the Education, Rules, and Code Development Unit of CCLD since November 2015.  He has 30 years of experience as an architect, was first licensed on Guam, and has been licensed in Minnesota since 1998. He served as a managing architect and construction administrator on multiple historic restoration projects for BKV Group in Minneapolis, specializing in adaptive re-use to multi-family housing.  Today, he prepares and presents educational programs for construction professionals and coordinates continuing education presentations for state subject matter experts.  He has a B.A in Architecture from Iowa State University and a Masters of Architecture from California State Polytechnic University.  His public service work includes two years as an accessibility specialist for Los Angeles County Schools, three years as a civilian architect working for the U.S. Marine Corps on Okinawa, and four years as a building inspector/ commercial plan reviewer for the City of Plymouth, Minnesota. 


Familiarize construction specifiers with the Minnesota State Building Code, the code adoption process and how they can get involved, and review common problems and oversights.

  -  How Model Codes become State Code
  -  Overview of the Minnesota State Building Code
  -  Common Code Issues
  -  Q & A


CSI-MSP Member = $0
Non-Member Student = $25.00
Non-Member/Guest = $45.00


From the West:
Take I-394 East to Penn Avenue North, take a left on Penn. Follow to Cedar Lake Road and take a right. Follow to Glenwood and take a right. Follow ½ mile to IMS and take a left into the entrance.

From the North:
Take I-94 East to exit 230 (4th Street, 7 Street, Hwy 55). Bear right (the sign will say 7th Street and Hwy 55) then continue straight. Road becomes Lyndale Avenue southbound; follow to Glenwood and take a right. Take an immediate right into IMS entrance.

From the East
Take I-94 West, through the tunnel, and take the Highway 55/Olson Memorial Highway exit (exit 230). Stay to the left lane; turn left on Highway 55, and then take an immediate left onto Lyndale Avenue. Go one block to Glenwood, take a right, then take the first right into the IMS entrance.

From the South:
Follow Lyndale Avenue North to Glenwood; take a right. Travel one block to the IMS entrance and take a right. Or, take I-35W to 94 West to Lyndale Avenue North, follow to Glenwood and take a left, then a right into the IMS entrance.

From the Southwest
Take Highway 100 North to Glenwood Avenue. Take a left on Glenwood and head east toward downtown. Just before Lyndale Avenue, take a left into the IMS entrance.

From Downtown Minneapolis:
Take 7th Street North just past the Target Center and take the first left (just beyond the Target Center parking ramp onto 3rd Avenue, which becomes Glenwood Avenue. Follow to IMS and take a right into the entrance. Or, take 11th Street North, cross 1st Avenue, and the road will become 12th Street. Follow to Glenwood and take a left. Cross under I-94 and take the first right into the IMS entrance.


Back to top

President's Message


President's Message

From the President........

I had the privilege of attending this year’s CONSTRUCT 2017 in Providence, RI. It was a great show and I am pleased to report a number of important developments to the membership.

First and foremost, your chapter was very well represented! We had a large contingent of MSP members, many of our Distinguished Members and Fellows were in attendance as well as two award winners receiving the CSI Board Chair Plaques.

This award involves the Institute Board Chairman having the opportunity to present these at the Institute Awards Ceremony to those persons the Chair wants to acknowledge and thank for special services during the course of that year. The Chair has the opportunity to present up to five awards annually.

This year three were awarded, two of them to our fellow chapter members Alana Griffith and George White! These two deserve this recognition and we are proud of you! Congrats to Alana & George! Thanks for all you do!

Talk about thanks, we all need to thank Matt Strand and the Awards Committee. Our consecutive recognition for Outstanding Chapter 2017 was presented at the awards ceremony. We were among 4 from our North Central Region chapters and several more nationally. When I say consecutive, we have won this award for 17 years so if you ever wondered what the Awards committee does, this is one of many. It’s a busy group. Matt does copious amounts of paperwork to keep this prestigious award for your MSP chapter every year. Officially, thanks Matt and thanks to the entire Awards Committee!!

I’m not finished….We were also awarded the Chapter Cup! This is an award given to the largest percentage of membership growth among Outstanding Chapter recipients. One of the gentlemen brought into Fellowship this year, J.W. Mollohan (KC Chapter), congratulated us with, “how does the 3rd largest chapter have the highest growth”, and said to me, only as I went to congratulate him for Fellowship. As I told him, our entire membership deserves credit for keeping our chapter relevant AND the further credit goes to our entire Membership Committee lead by Gary Patrick and Susan Lee for their tenacious approach.

One other award of note, an old friend of the chapter, T.J. Gottwalt was brought into Fellowship at this year’s ceremony. Many of you will remember T.J. as a very active member of our chapter for years. His years with our chapter was acknowledged at his Fellowship ceremony. Congrats T.J.!

Beyond our MSP awards galore, we had an active Regional Caucus. We exchanged many ideas and opinions regarding building membership and chapter management. The North Central Region is a terrific resource for us as a chapter, AND the NCR is in Duluth this year. Exhibitors and members, let’s have a huge turnout and invest in your Region.

Another major development:

CSI was able to coordinate and submit for an NSF Grant that is a major win for CSI:

  • The CDT, which currently is not a true certification, will become one through this process.
  • Once this action is completed, the CDT will be THE STANDARD for teaching construction documents classes in architectural and construction management programs across the United States. This will mean sales of Practice Guides, study materials and student testing fees which will bring in significant dollars for CSI for years to come.
  • What happens to those who already have their CDT? At this time, the plan is to contact all current CDT holders, explain what has happened, let them know that they will need to start reporting learning units under required ANSI standards for continuing education requirements. There will be a window for compliance for the CDT which would lapse if there are those who decide not to continue to hold the certification.
  • If you hold a CDT, this will give your certification the meaning it deserves!
  • Much more to come...


Oh, and by the way the seafood in Providence was outstanding!

On to other business, September 18th we had a terrific kick-off with a tour of the newly renovated Target Center. Let’s just hope it turns out “W’s” for our b-ball teams! Seriously though, our thanks to Dick Strassburg  from the Tegra Group, Ross Naylor, AIA, LEED AP BD+C  from Alliiance and  Jon Hines    from Mortenson for the informative tours and post-dinner presentation. This project had many challenges while keeping the venue open for business for many months into the construction schedule. A big challenge handled with the professionalism you would expect from these great firms! Plus, the renovation is beautiful!! Thanks to the Programs Committee for your continued extraordinary service to our chapter.

Well there you have it for now.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the chapter meeting on October 9th.

Don’t forget to register!


Andy Garner, CSI, CDT

Chapter President FY 2018




Back to top

Last Chapter Program





Target Center Revamp

Nearly 30 Years Old - Time for a Facelift

Serving the heart of Minneapolis since 1990, lately Target Center has been showing her age.  But with solid bones, rather than sending her to an early grave, the City leaders wanted to extend her life and give her a facelift.  September 18, 2017 we toured the nearly complete guts and viewed the start of the Target Center exterior skin cosmetic improvements.

City’s Vision – Extend her Useful Life

The City owns the Target Center building, the Timberwolves and Lynx basketball teams are the primary user tenant groups, and AEG is the operator.  The venue also hosts performers of other types.  Over time performances have expanded as has the desire for higher revenue-generating clubs and suites. The user groups now need features not originally incorporated (or conceived) into the design in the 1980’s.  The image of the area has also changed, with the recent hip and trendy expansion into the North Loop district setting the theme for what is currently in vogue.  The City’s vision was to extend the useful life of the facility.  With input and financing from all three parties, and a renovation price that rivaled the original construction cost, this vision became reality.

Changing Circulation

Following a thorough code review of relevant changes since 1989, the design team adjusted the circulation. Like a surgeon carefully removing a couple varicose veins, a couple of non-required stairs were extracted to make more attractive lobby and gathering spaces, particularly at the northeast corner of the building.  In addition, to address the need to pull in multiple trucks for performance stage and audio/visual equipment, like extensive sound systems, the loading dock area expanded and required a realignment of 7th Street and relocation of the utilities below.  Further, a new skyway was added, whose usage is still being determined (possibly to allow VIPs special access).  Circulation through the heart of the building as well as the heart of the city has changed with this renovation.

Structural Backbone and Supporting Services

The Target Center’s skeleton stayed largely the same, with the exception of the northeast corner and the expansion of the loading dock.  But the guts received a dramatic interior revival.  Finishes around the arena include wood laminated linear ceilings reflective of the wood courts, new and interesting LED lighting, backlit bars, iridescent wall tiles, lustrous terrazzo flooring, posh pillowy lounge furniture and high-end high top bar tables.

The program also included renovating all public and premium spaces, such as the new Courtside Club sponsored by Lexus, the trendy northend-y 612 lounge, south Bier Garten (or beer garden) and new suite levels.  The former dungeon-like box office is now spacious and airy. Nearly 20,000 seats in both the lower and upper bowls are new, including ADA seating areas, and the fresh 360 electronic ribbon display board complements the recently added center-hung mega-scoreboard. 

Not visible, but will likely be appreciated by many, is the new Wi-Fi for data and distributed antennae system (DAS) for cellular service.  Also not visible to the public but appreciated are the Lynx and Timberwolves locker rooms, with countertops, mirrors and showerheads placed appropriately for the heights of the users (a bit tall for the rest of us!).


To enhance the building’s attractiveness, the existing precast panels were kept in place and a new horizontal linear reskinning (“over-cladding”) helped hide the wrinkles.  With surgical precision, removing precast for a glazed corner of First Avenue and Sixth Street on the concourse and suite levels opens her eyes to the street.

Many thanks to Dick Strassburg (TEGRA Group), Ross Naylor (Alliiance) and Jon Hines (Mortenson Construction) for sharing their stories and showing us a sneak preview of the dramatic improvements to a friendly familiar face.  Wrong ball and across town, but with the work complete in time for the Superbowl 52 hosted here, visitors from the rest of the country will see the Target Center’s more youthful facial appearance, and the rest of us will continue to enjoy her for many years to come.



Back to top

New Member Spotlight

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of CSI, for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2017:


Kermit Duncan

Diane Trout-Oertel                             

Brian Wass                                                

Sheldon Wolfe


John Foell


Roy Crist                                           

Pam Jergenson                                         

Spencer Kubat                                   

Edward Ueda


Brian Pashina                                     

George Ramsay


Danny McMullen                                        

Louis Podbelski




Back to top

Upcoming Events



Local Construction Associations

Compiled by Joel Meyer

(check respective websites for complete listings)






AIA-MPLS Annual Meeting




AGC Recognition Dinner 

AGC  Associate General Contractors


Winter Conference U& Expo



Oct. General Mtg. & Student Recep’n

BOMA – Bldg Owners & Managers


Build Your Core “Project Management”   

IFMA – International Facility Mgmt.


Annual Meeting

USGBC – United States Green Building                 Council -  Mississippi Headwaters Ch.


ARM Convention  

ARM – Aggregate Ready Mix of MN


AMC Conference – St. Cloud

Concrete Paving Assoc. of Minnesota



Back to top

Chapter Membership Committee News


Click HERE for the new Membership Enrollment Form

Ask the Membership Commitee Chair:

Gary Patrick at 763-546-3434 or

Or contact the CSI-MSP Chapter Administrator

Vicky Olson at 952-564-3044 or

Back to top

Chapter Partnerships and Sponsorships




Would you like your company to come to mind first when a CSI member needs the services your company provides? 

Your company logo would be prominently displayed on all emails from the chapter (4 – 5 emails sent each month to 950 contacts each time), at all monthly programs (80 – 100 members), in the monthly Specifics (sent to 700+), on the pages of the CSI chapter website, at EVERY CSI event on each table and in the PowerPoint!

Your company could have quarter page ads or a featured article in the monthly Specifics (sent to 700+), or the opportunity to feature your company with a table top display at a monthly meeting.

If you answered yes, please send an email to and put “Need a Call” in the subject line and include your contact information.  You will be contacted by a CSI member.

Would you like to lend your company’s support to CSI events like the Annual Golf Outing or the Annual Awards Banquet?

If you answered yes, please send an email to and put “Sponsorship Call Needed” in the subject line and include your contact information.  You will be contacted by a CSI member.

Did you previously have a business listing or business card ad in the Resource Directory section of the printed CSI Chapter Directory? 

If you answered yes to the above, there are advertising options available for your company on the website and in the monthly Specifics.  Please send an email to and put “Advertising Call Needed” in the subject line and include your contact information. You will be contacted by a CSI member.

Your Partnership with the MSP Chapter at any level is your company’s path to visibility with decision makers in the design and construction industry. Your support also enables the continuation of high-caliber programs and events and networking among all parts of the building team.  Your participation is valued by all CSI members.

Chapter Partnerships

Platinum Partnerships
612-867-5173     651.704.0300 952-462-5359
 800.321.8194   763.546.3434    

763.544.0365 763.592.8640    
952-854-8723 612.349.9885    


Gold Partnerships



Silver Partnerships      



Back to top


Board of Directors September 2017 Meeting

The CSI Board of Directors met in Providence, RI just prior to CONSTRUCT 2017. The meeting 's one and half day agenda was very full with lots of positive and exciting information being exchanged. Here are some of the highlights that YOU the member should be aware of and feel good about that have happened over the last year and are planned for the the future of YOUR CSI.

1. Institute has been focused for the past 24 months on stabilizing and simplifying business processes and position CSI for growth. All of this work has gone well and is either completed or on a path to completion.

  • New governance approach to enable Board focus on results to be achieve.
  • Improve member service (expanded hours, 8 a.m. to 8pm M-F.
  • A new and much improved Instiute website.
  • New online CSI communities (social network).
  • NSF grant program has gone from 2 schools to 12 and now 30 (CDT for college classroom).
  • Preserve and improve CSI certifications.
  • New version of the PDPG will be available in January 2018; and will be the source document for the Spring 2018 exam cycle.
  • Reached an agreement for partial sale of BSD Speclink.
  • Resuscitate CSI's education program.


2. Goal for the next year is on transitioning our focus from stabilizing and simplifying processes to growth and sustainability.

  • Renewed outreach:
    • CDT as a renewable certification. More information to come early spring.
    • New tools and educational opportunities for members.
    • Expanded communities available to chapters and other groups.
    • Focused and updated brand experience; more compelling reasons to join CSI story, better on boarding of members, supported by better systems.

  • Continued improvements to infrastructure:
    • Better data management.
    • New membership, volunteer, and management tools.

  • The Board authorized additional and significant investment to improve the member experience and the overall value of membership.


3. Board approved investments enabling Institute CEO Mark Dorsey to proceed with the following:

  • Upgrades to:
    • Information Technology
    • Marketing, promotions, and CSI graphic presentation
    • Improved financial reporting
    • Upgrades to data quality.


  • Aesthetic consolidation of the following (currently, these all have a different “look”):
    • The Specifier


  • Expansion and rollout of expanded communities and microsites.
  • Expansion and development of education programming.
  • Format licensing.
  • Chapter and Region affiliation project:
    • Focus on product/service delivery/consistency and support.


4. The Board continues to review the CEO' performance through use of monitoring reports which track progress toward the Ends.  Progress is being made constantly (a good example is website up-time and response time to customer requests), and the mood among staff is good and appears to be constantly improving.  However, much work remains to be done.  Mark has set achievable but high targets for staff and CEO performance, and the staff has, in general, responded admirably.

5. The Board had a lengthy generative discussion about the nature and function of Regions and Chapters and how the Institute can support and understand the needs of the components. The following is a very brief summary of that discussion:

  • Regions vary across the country, and some appear to be functioning exceptionally well. Others are struggling with mission or volunteer capacity or both.  Generally, the Board was committed to Regions and their place in CSI, but there is some recognition that the Chapter/Region/Institute is a geographic relationship, and the structure was designed before the internet age.  Some re-thinking, re-purposing, and renovation of this tiered structure will almost certainly be needed long term.
  • Chapters vary greatly in size, activity, and capacity.  For example, 25% of chapters account for 6% of CSI membership. There is wide recognition among Board members that Chapters create tremendous value for the organization and are the face of the organization at the local level.  Some chapters are in trouble either financially or lack a critical mass of leadership or volunteer capacity or a combination of factors.  There is recognition that CSI at the Institute level has a role to play in identification of struggling chapters, and also in support of those chapters, perhaps through their Region.


Jerry A. Putnam, FCSI, CCS, RA

Institute Vice-President

Back to top



Read the North Central Region Newsletter!

see the link below

North Central Region Newsletter


Back to top

Specific Thoughts


The making of a convention

A lot goes into a convention: location, scheduling, publicity, solicitation of exhibitors, invitations to potential attendees, and more. Although the exhibit floor is extremely important to exhibitor and attendee alike, the educational seminars and activities are equally important.

Those activities take many forms. The traditional lecture format continues to be popular, but interactive presentations have been increasing. Panel discussions, which seem to be either dreadful or very interesting, allow audience participation. In the last few years, we have had presentations and live demonstrations on the exhibit floor. On occasion, these involve one of my favorite activities - getting your hands dirty. Another recent addition has been YP Day (Young Professionals Day), a collection of special events aimed at young professionals and others new to the construction industry.

I've always known that choosing presentations and speakers must be difficult, and this year I learned how true that is. In December of last year, I was asked to serve on the CONSTRUCT 2017 Education Advisory Council, the group that helped selected this year's speakers and presentations. The Council was led by Jennifer Hughes, Informa Education Manager. In the past, I had made suggestions about presentations, so I felt obligated to accept the challenge.

We started by reviewing a list of about ten possible tours. Even though I love tours, especially of production facilities, I have arrived at convention early enough to go on one only a couple of times. The calls for speakers were still coming in, so we didn't start on those for a while.

As you're probably aware, CSI and other organizations typically send out calls for presentations shortly after the previous year's event. In the past, I wondered why they started so far in advance, but there are three good reasons. First, there's a lot more to the selection process than you might realize, and it takes a lot of time. Then, there is human nature; it seems that no matter how much time is allowed, most people wait until the last minute to submit. Finally, advertising and schedules for the next convention begin to appear months before the event. With registration set to open in May, we had to complete our work by the end of February.

The original deadline for proposals for CONSTRUCT 2017 was 9 January; at the time, I was disappointed to learn that only thirty-four had been submitted. With that few, the rest of the process would have been easy, as we would have had to use all of them. After the deadline was extended by one week, we received a list of nearly two hundred proposals - and then the fun began.

Jennifer asked us to review and score the proposals early in February. The spreadsheet she sent had two tabs. The first included information about the proposals, including title, description, speakers, learning objectives, estimated "grade level" (100, 200, 300), primary audience, and secondary audience. It also indicated which speakers had submitted multiple proposals. The second tab contained information about the speakers, including bios and speaking experience.

Evaluating presentations is not an easy task. The titles sometimes are misleading, the descriptions sent by the presenters can be confusing, and the most important parts - the speakers' abilities and the actual content - remain unknowns to those who haven't heard the speakers. Many of the council members had heard a few of the presenters, so we took their observations into account. Another factor is length of the presentation. Most of them were set at 60 minutes, but some were given 75 or 90 minutes, the intent being to give more time to those speakers who are covering complex subjects.

Some topics were the subject of many speakers, so we had to decide who would do the best job. Credentials are useful information, but they don't apply to presentation style or ability to make the subject interesting. On the other hand, having multiple presentations about a given subject is good for attendees, who often have to choose between two or more topics they want to learn about.

After initial comments had been submitted, we went through a series of scheduling options, which included changes in titles, descriptions, and times. Given the number of options and the amount of information, each iteration took a lot of time. But we did it! In the end, the scheduled events were: 41 seminars, 2 tours, 22 presentations on the show floor, the YPD events, a keynote speaker, and the "game changer" speaker.

A few observations

One of my standard comments about convention presentations is, "How many built-up roofing seminars can you see in one lifetime?" I heard similar comments during the convention; "I heard that two years ago", "I talked about that ten years ago!", and so on. While repetition might seem a problem to the veteran, though, we always have new people who need the same basic information. We'll always have 100 level presentations.

One of the most difficult things to evaluate is the grade level of a presentation you haven't heard. The description might sound like it's for those with more experience, but too often the comments are "That was a waste of time." When you consider the experience that most specifiers have, it's not surprising to hear those comments.

The spreadsheet was so large it couldn't be printed. I displayed it on two 24-inch monitors but still had to do a lot of scrolling, and I used a third monitor for other files and for looking up speakers online.

"Interactive PowerPoint" is not the same as an interactive presentation.

One of the first things I did after joining the group was contact Paul Doherty, and I encouraged having him as the keynote speaker. I have skipped many general sessions because the keynote speakers too often are motivational speakers who may be entertaining but have little to say. However, I did attend and enjoy Thom Mayne's presentation. I'm not a big fan of celebrity architects, but his firm's involvement in design goes beyond making pretty pictures; they apparently get into the details and material properties. I don't care for their results, but the process is interesting, and I hope it inspires other architects to care more about how their buildings work.

Thanks to Jennifer for assembling and managing the Advisory Council, and for her dedication to the educational part of the convention. If you have comments about this year's programs, or suggestions for future topics, I encourage you to send them to both Jennifer at, and to CSI staff at And as always, I invite you to post your comments on my blogsite.

© 2017, Sheldon Wolfe, RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, CSC

Back to top


Cool, How Air Conditioning Changed Everything

It may not be easy to identify the single most important invention in the history of building, but several come to mind immediately: glass for windows, structural steel, the elevator, electricity, and indoor plumbing.  But, along with these there is air conditioning for human comfort and, as the title of Salvatore Basile's book suggests, Cool, How Air Conditioning Changed Everything, the effect air conditioning has had on buildings and the way we live our lives indoors is just as important as any other single development related to construction.

Living in today's air conditioned world it's hard to understand what life was like prior to the 1950s when air conditioning for human comfort, with few exceptions, was not in wide use. People in hot or hot and humid climates for the most part suffered through the summer months using fans to move air with the only "cooling" coming from evaporation from a person's perspiration.  Starting in the late 19th Century there were numerous, mostly unsuccessful, attempts at comfort cooling in buildings using fans moving air across blocks of ice various ways or by air blown through moistened fabric hung in windows.  Homes, office buildings and hotels had the benefit of rooms with windows for ventilation, (most large hotels and office buildings were constructed in "U", "H", or "T" shapes for maximum exterior exposures), but for theaters, stores and factories the problem was much more acute with large numbers of people, or machines and people, inside of enclosed spaces.  This is where the first successful attempts at air conditioning were made.

Even though mechanical refrigeration, "artificial cooling" had been in use for industrial purposes since the 1880s, (cooling meat, making ice and beer for instance), it wasn't until Alfred Wolfe used mechanical refrigeration in 1899 in the human anatomy lab at the Cornell Univ. Hospital in New York City, that it was used for comfort cooling. This came about as a secondary benefit since the primary reason for the air conditioning was to keep the cadavers fresh longer.  Wolfe also designed the first air conditioning specifically for comfort cooling at the New York Stock Exchange Building in 1901.  Wolfe died as a young man in 1909.  Had he lived longer his name may have been associated with air conditioning in the same way Ford's name was associated with cars and Edison with light bulbs.

The history of air conditioning for both industrial purposes and human comfort can be told largely through the career of Willis Carrier. Carrier graduated from Cornell Univ. as a mechanical engineer in 1901.  He went to work for the Buffalo Forge Co. making industrial fans.  This was in the era of the "cut and try" method of engineering rather than relying on logic and calculations in design as Carrier had been taught.  Carrier's more scientific methods of mechanical design saved a large Buffalo Forge ventilation project from failure and, as a result, in 1902 he was assigned a particularly difficult project for a color printing company in Brooklyn.  The color printing process relies on the same sheet of paper making multiple passes through the printing presses with a different color applied in each pass.  In order for the colors to be in perfect register the paper must be stable in length and width.  This is nearly impossible in conditions of varying humidity.  Buffalo Forge was hired to air condition the factory to maintain a constant level of humidity.  Carrier's solution used Wolfe's mechanical refrigeration with the addition of automatic temperature and humidity controls that allowed the chilled water temperature in the cooling coils and the speed of the air passing through the coils to be varied as necessary with changes in the temperature and humidity of the outside air.  It worked, and by 1904 Buffalo Forge was successful selling Carrier's patented "Apparatus for Treating Air", as the Buffalo Forge "Air Washer" for industrial applications, but not for comfort cooling.  In 1907, Buffalo Forge set up a subsidiary company, the Carrier Air Conditioning Company.  In 1911 Carrier published his "Rational Psychometric Formulae" the basis for today's psychometric chart used by all HVAC engineers.  Carrier had become the face of the HVAC industry but, while he was successful in industrial projects, no one was seriously interested in comfort cooling in homes or offices even though Carrier had promoted comfort cooling extensively in his advertising campaigns.

In spite of the many successful industrial projects completed by Carrier, in 1914 Buffalo Forge decided to close the Carrier AC subsidiary. As a result Carrier took his engineering team and started again as the Carrier Engineering Corp.  In his first year he completed over 40 industrial projects.  His business grew rapidly and continued through WWI.  With the arrival of "talking movies" in the 1920s, he would finally begin to see his comfort cooling used in theaters.  This was the origin of our modern HVAC systems.  Within five years he would air condition over 300 theaters in addition to many more department stores and office buildings.  As a result of Carrier's design for a small centrifugal compressor and the discovery of Freon for use as a refrigerant, the 1920s and '30s saw the development of the kitchen refrigerator, early versions of the window AC unit, and in 1940, AC was first being tested in cars. Carrier's "Manufactured Weather" was catching on in a wide variety of applications.

With the need for windows to provide ventilation eliminated through the use of a central HVAC system, architects were free to plan buildings with large floor plates and without operable windows. In 1933 the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. building in New York City was designed to be fully air conditioned.  Similarly, the Johnson Wax Co. in Racine, WI was designed with air conditioning and without operable windows.  Central HVAC was essential in the design of many International Style buildings of the 1920s and '30s.

Residential air conditioning was adopted at a much slower pace starting with window AC units. In 1955 only 1 in 22 American homes had at least one room with air conditioning.  By 1960 this had increased to 1 in 13 homes and by 1970 37% of US houses had at least some air conditioning.  The 1970s saw central heating and air conditioning systems as standard equipment in many new homes.  By 1980, the US Census showed 57% of homes were air conditioned and in 2014 this had risen to 87%.  Ironically, when Willis Carrier died in 1950 he hadn't gotten around to installing air conditioning in his New York home.

The story of Carrier's artificial cooling wouldn't be complete without mention of a couple of problems associated with it. In the 1970s concerns were raised about the affects of refrigerant gasses on the ozone layer that protects the earth from the sun's ultraviolet radiation.  This led to replacements for Freon refrigerant gas.  The increased demand for electricity to power air conditioning units is thought to have been a principal reason for massive electrical grid failures that darkened large sections of the US East Coast several times in the early 1960s.  The energy embargo of 1973 led to reductions in the use of air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter.  This was the start of a larger energy conservation movement that is with us today.

Cool, How Air Conditioning Changed Everything was written by Salvatore Basile.  It was published in 2014 by Fordham University Press with 278 pages and including some historical photographs and drawings.  It describes the history and benefits of air conditioning and does this without getting sidetracked into the thermodynamics of the refrigeration cycle.


Los Angeles, CA

June 17, 2017


Back to top

The Architecture of Movies

The Architecture of Movies

By Bill Schmalz, CSI, CCCA, FAIA

Los Angeles chapter of Construction Specifications Institute

At first glance, architecture and cinema would seem to have little in common. Architecture is with most of us almost all the time; it’s where we live, where we work, where we shop, where we do nearly everything we do. Architecture is actual structures creating real three-dimensional spaces we can see, touch, hear, and smell. [1] Cinema, on the other hand, is nothing but illusion, taking advantage of the brain’s knack for perceiving a rapid series of still photographs as moving images. Cinema creates the illusion of physical structures and of three-dimensional spaces, but when the lights go on (or the power goes off), all we have is a blank screen.

But we can also find similarities between the two art forms. They both involve large teams of highly trained professionals spending other people’s money (and often a great deal of it) to create the final work. And in both cases, those large teams are led by architects and directors who are seen, at least by the general public, as the primary creators of the building or movie. But I want to look at a third similarity: when filmmakers use physical three-dimensional spaces—in other words, architecture—to create their movies’ illusions of space.

The movies I’ve chosen to talk about are a personal selection; they’re movies with interior sets that have amazed me. [2] They each feature spectacular—and real— interior spaces that create the illusion of spectacular interior spaces. In other words, they don’t rely on matte paintings, models, or computer graphics. [3] What we see on the screen was actually designed and built. Who designs these spaces? The terms we find in the credits may be art director, set designer, or production designer, but in many ways what they do is similar to what architects do: They create spaces. So let’s talk about some awesome—in the word’s traditional meaning, “worthy of awe”—movie spaces.

Royal Wedding (1951), design by Cedric Gibbons and Jack Martin Smith

The room is nothing special, just a simple sitting room. A man in a top hat, top coat, and tux enters, holding a woman’s photo. After sitting down and admiring the picture, he jumps to his feet and begins to dance while singing “You’re All the World to Me.” Then the unexpected happens: He dances up the right-hand wall, across the ceiling, and down the left-hand wall to the floor, and repeats the trick two more times. The actor is Fred Astaire, and for Royal Wedding, he was faced with a challenge similar to what makers of today's action movies face: how to create a dance scene different from, and more spectacular than, any previous dance scenes. To accomplish this bit of movie magic, designers Gibbons and Smith built the set within a revolving barrel, with the camera and camera operator fixed on the room’s floor, so they spun with the room. The four-surface dance appears to be in a continuous shot (although there are two barely perceptible cuts during the dance). [4] The effect is remarkable even today. This set and the five-minute dance scene may be the only reason people remember this movie.

Rear Window (1954), designed by J. McMillan Johnson and Hal Pereira (upper image above)

All of Rear Window takes place either within Jimmy Stewart’s second-story Greenwich Village apartment or looking through the apartment’s rear window into a courtyard. [5] To create the 98-foot-wide, 185-foot-long, 40-foot-high set, Johnson and Pereira (the brother of architect William Pereira of Transamerica Pyramid fame) not only took over Paramount’s largest soundstage but also removed the floor so they could use the basement to get extra height. In addition to building four-story facades for each side of the courtyard, the designers built 31 apartments behind the facades, with at least eight of them fully furnished. We even can see, between two of the buildings, a street with cars and pedestrians and a building across the street. [6] To add to the set’s complexity, it required multiple lighting setups to simulate various times of day and night, and included weatherproofing and drainage for a heavy rainstorm scene. Few movies have relied so extensively on a single set.

Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), designed by Ken Adam (lower right image (of the set’s model) above)

German-born Adam attended architecture school in London before joining the Royal Air Force in World War 2. After the war, he became a draftsman in the British film industry, eventually advancing to production designer by the late 1950s. He designed Dr. Strangelove’s war room, where a third of the movie takes place, as a cavernous concrete bunker with a sloping ceiling, a leaning wall of gigantic illuminated screens, and a gleaming black floor. The set was 130 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 35 feet high at its highest point. In the center of the room is an enormous doughnut-shaped table with a ring of lights suspended above. [7] Every shot within the war room has some part of the set looming over it. Steven Spielberg has called it the best movie set ever built. [8]    

You Only Live Twice (1967), designed by Ken Adam (lower right image above)

Adam designed the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, and ultimately six more. His memorable Bond spaces include Goldfinger’s Fort Knox and The Spy Who Loves Me’s supertanker. [9] But his most amazing Bond set was Blofeld’s volcano headquarters in You Only Live Twice. [10] The set was too big to fit into any soundstage, so Adam had it built from scratch as its own structure at Pinewood Studios. The interior of the volcano was 400 feet in diameter and 120 feet high, with a 70-foot-diameter sliding door in the roof (through which a 100-foot-high rocket is fired). Around 700 tons of structural steel supported the set, making it more substantial than many actual buildings.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), designed by Ernest Archer, Anthony Masters, and Harry Lange

The longest of 2001’s four segments takes place within the spaceship Discovery, where the living space for the two awake and three hibernating astronauts consists of a large spinning wheel that uses centrifugal force to simulate gravity. To create this set, a Ferris wheel–like centrifuge was constructed at MGM-British Studios outside London. The set’s interior was eight feet wide (the width of a typical hospital corridor) by 38 feet in diameter, giving the astronauts around 960 square feet of living space for their 90-month voyage. The wheel was built in two halves with a narrow slot between them; this allowed the heavy 65mm camera to be mounted to the studio floor while the wheel spun past it for the 360-degree shots of the jogging astronaut. [11] For other shots, the camera was mounted to the wheel and spun with it. Since the wheel was a self-contained set, all the lighting had to be built into it. In a movie famous for its special effects, one of its most amazing effects was this physical set.

The Shining (1980), designed by Roy Walker

Most of The Shining takes place in the Overlook Hotel, the design of which Roy Walker based on the interiors of Yosemite’s Ahwanee Hotel. [12] The Shining was one of the earliest movies to use the newly invented Steadicam, and to take advantage of its ability to move fluidly through spaces, the Overlook interiors were built as though the hotel was real, with most of the spaces connected to each other. Thanks to detailed floor plans created by obsessive conspiracy theorists, [13] it appears that most of the Overlook’s interiors were built as three sets. One includes the Colorado Lounge (where Jack writes his book) on the first floor and hotel corridors and room 237 on the second floor. The second has the reception area, the lobby, the manager’s office, and the rear storage corridor. The third has the Gold Ballroom and the red restroom. To create the illusion of sunlight coming through the Colorado Lounge’s large windows, each window was illuminated with 700,000 watts of lights. Because the movie was shot in the order we see it, the entire set remained in use throughout the year-long shooting schedule.

Raiders of the Los Ark (1981), designed by Norman Reynolds

Norman Reynolds was the art director for Star Wars and the production designer for The Empire Strikes Back, so he was used to designing impressive sets. The standout set he designed for Raiders, the Well of Souls, was built in Elstree Studio’s Stage 3, where parts of the Overlook Hotel had been built. Sixty tons of plaster were used to create the Well of Souls walls and the 37-foot-tall Egyptian jackal sculptures. The screenplay required that the floor be covered with snakes, but the set was so large that the initial batch of around 2,500 snakes was nowhere near enough, requiring another 4,000–7,000 (various sources give different numbers) to be added.

Das Boot (1981), designed by Rolf Zehetbauer

Unlike the expansiveness of many of the sets in this article, Das Boot’s interior set of a full-size submarine was cramped. To capture the intense confinement, nearly all the shots within the submarine set were taken without removing the set’s walls, giving us such a sense of sweaty claustrophobia that we’re as relieved as the crew when the sub surfaces for sunshine and fresh air. [14] To simulate the submarine’s 45-degree dives and the shocks of depth charge explosions, the set was built on a hydraulic structure 15 feet above the soundstage floor.

Titanic (1997), designed by Peter Lamont

Lamont was an assistant art decorator on You Only Live Twice, and he advanced to be production designer on most of the Bond movies starting with 1981’s For Your Eyes Only. For Titanic, his challenge was not only recreating the ship’s interior spaces but also designing them so they could be tilted and flooded with water. His most lavish set was the Grand Staircase Room, which was physically destroyed in its final scene when 90,000 gallons of water were dumped onto it. [15]

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), designed by Grant Major and Dan Hennah

Major and Hennah faced a challenge the other designers we talk about here didn’t have to worry about: They had to design cinematic spaces that would satisfy the many thousands of the book’s demanding fans, all of whom had their own imaginary versions of Middle Earth. The designers succeeded beyond expectations. If their Rivendell, Moria, Gondor, and the Shire weren’t exactly how each viewer had imagined them (and how could they be?), they were close enough. Each set was designed to architecturally match the culture that, in the story, had built them (e.g., Rivendell/elves, Moria/dwarves, Gondor/men, the Shire/hobbits). While many of the Lord of the Rings sets were enhanced by CGI (the Mines of Moria weren’t really as vast as what we see in the movie), Bilbo Baggins’s underground home, Bag End, was built full size. Actually, two full-size Bag Ends were built, one scaled for 3?-6? hobbits, the other for 5?-11? Ian McKellen.

Bag End was rebuilt for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, with Hennah returning as production designer. Again, two Bag Ends were built, but with a difference from Fellowship: the “real” Bag End we see in the movie, fully decorated and scaled to dwarves and hobbits, and a second, undecorated, green-painted Bag End scaled for Ian McKellen. While the dwarf and hobbit actors were filmed in the real set, McKellen was filmed separately but simultaneously in the green-screen set and later digitally composited with the other actors into the finished shots.

The Terminal (2005), designed by Alex McDowell

When I saw The Terminal, I wondered how the filmmakers could take over an entire airport terminal for the months required to shoot the movie. Turns out, they didn’t take over a terminal; they built one. Three stories high and with roughly the area of four football fields,16 the terminal set was far too big to fit in any Hollywood sound stage, so it was built in an aircraft hangar at the Palmdale Regional Airport near Los Angeles. Inspired by the Dusseldorf Airport, the set featured working escalators and functional shops, and used 650 tons of structural steel (nearly as much as You Only Live Twice’s volcano).

Are Movie Sets Architecture?

I know many architects may not consider these sets as “architecture.” After all, they aren’t permanent, right? Well, permanence is a relative thing, and as much as we would like to believe the buildings we design will last forever, the sad fact is that many will not survive more than a hundred years. And some sets, such as the Overlook Hotel, may have lasted longer than the original Barcelona Pavilion, an undisputed work of architecture. Because interior sets take up valuable studio space, they are demolished as soon as they are no longer needed. But in a way, they do survive, for as long as their movies, and the technology to show them, survive.  

Follow the author on Twitter @bill_schmwil.


1. And taste as well, I suppose, if we’re so inclined.

2. But not, it would seem, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. Of the eleven movies discussed in this article, only Raiders of the Lost Ark, Titanic, and Fellowship of the Ring won Oscars for art direction/set decoration (2001 was nominated but didn’t win).

3. As an example, I might have included in this article the Hogwarts Great Hall from the Harry Potter movies had I not visited the set outside of London (it's open to the public). The set is impressive, up to around 20 feet. Above that, computer graphics were used to create the Gothic vaults we see in the movie.

4. A particularly clever touch is that five props (top coat, tux jacket, top hat, chair, and photo) are shown to be loose early in the scene, yet move with the room, so they had to be replaced with fixed props before the dance begins. YouTube has this scene at

5. Except for one shot near the end of the movie, which looks from the courtyard toward Stewart’s apartment. This shot shows that all four courtyard facades were built.

6. The movie’s opening shows the full set:

7. Even though the movie was shot in black and white, Adam covered the table with green felt to give the actors the sense that they were playing a poker game with extremely high stakes.

8. Spielberg is quoted in Christopher Frayling’s book Ken Adam: The Art of Production Design.

9. The supertanker set was as big as You Only Live Twice’s volcano, but instead of building a one-time-only set, Adam built the permanent “007 Stage” at Pinewood Studios to hold it.

10. In Ian Fleming’s novel, Blofeld locates his HQ in a castle on the Japanese coast. Adam designed his volcano set when, after weeks of searching, he couldn’t find a coastal castle in Japan, but did see a lot of volcanos.

11. The astronaut running scene, along with a little centrifugal-force science, can be seen at

12. The Overlook’s exterior was modeled on the Timberline Hotel, on Mt. Hood near Portland, Oregon.

13. Conspiracy theorists have picked The Shining apart in minute detail to prove, among other things, that the Apollo 11 moon landing was faked. For more on this, see the weird but entertaining movie Room 237.

14. Two bits of trivia: (1) The design of Das Boot’s U-96 is based on one of the few surviving U-boats, the U-505 at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry; and (2) the full-size replica of the sub’s exterior (it was nothing but an empty shell) was also used in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

15. The Grand Staircase Room was built a little larger than full size, so that modern actors would appear slightly shorter to match the average height of people a hundred years ago.

16. For more on using football fields as units of measurement, see my article “The Football Field of Time” at

Back to top

Educational Opportunities




Master Specifiers Retreat

February 1-4, 2018 Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Florida

The CSI Master Specifiers Retreat is a hosted-buyer, three-day event for specifiers and architects who make product recommendations to meet with top product reps to learn and network. CSI’s Master Specifier Retreat (MSR) is an exclusive, by invitation-only event. Qualifying specifiers and architects, who are selected, attend free of charge. Learn more about this event.   Specifiers and product selection influencers who are selected for this event will attend free of charge.

If you are interested in being considered, please complete the application by October 1, 2018.


CSI on-Demand Webinars are education sessions that provide convenient, quality learning at an affordable price – you will be able to see materials, hear an instructor and earn continuing education credit. Courses qualify for Professional Development Hours (PDHs) and AIA Continuing Education Hours (CEHs). 

CSI's Education Learning Levels

Each session, webinar, or similar event offered through CSI's programming meets a specific level of education:

Fundamental (100 Level): “Learn & Grasp”
Attendees require little to no previous knowledge of the topic area. Participants will learn fundamental facts, terms, and basic principles and understand their meaning. These sessions inform using the “what, why, and how” approach.

Intermediate (200 Level): “Apply & Organize”
Attendees require basic knowledge and understanding of the topic area. Participants will be able to integrate knowledge into the context of practice by organizing, comparing, interpreting, and relating main ideas. These sessions are identified by key words including “execute, perform, and apply.”

Advanced (300 Level): “Develop & Evaluate”
Attendees require a working knowledge and considerable experience in the topic area. Participants will be able to analyze problems and evaluate new situations by combining acquired knowledge and techniques to generate solutions. These sessions are identified by key words including “develop, evaluate, and implement.”

The cost per webinar is $55 for CSI members, or $75 for non-members -- join CSI now and save when you register for an on-demand webinar! 

See the webinars available on demand!


In addition to CSI Webinars, CSI has additional educational opportunities for members of the construction industry.

For more information go to:

The Construction Specifications Institute is a Registered Provider of American Institute of Architects Continuing Education System and United States Green Building Council Education Provider Network


Back to top

Chapter Leadership



Andy Garner, CSI, CDT 

 Immediate Past President

George Ramsay, CSI, CCS, CCCA


Cynthia Long, CSI, CDT 

 Vice President

Kasey Howard, CSI

 Vice President

Dave Rasmussen, CSI

 Vice President

Jeremy Nordby, CSI

 Vice President

Sandy McWilliams, CSI, LEED AP


James Bergevin, CSI


Mark McPherson, CSI, CDT


Awards Committee

Tohnya Adams, CSI-EP, Co-Chair

Rick Nichols, CSI, Co-Chair

Certification Committee

Jerrilyn O'Brien, CSI, CDT, EIT, Co-Chair

 Communications Committee

Keith Pashina, PE, CSI, Chair 


To be determined

 Membership Committee

Gary C. Patrick, CSI, AIA, RRC, Co-Chair

Susan Lee, CSI, Co-Chair

Programs Committee

Brien DuRouche, CSI, Co-Chair

Larry Lorbiecki, CSI-EP, AIA, Co-Chair

Emerging Professionals/Student Affairs

Hannah Fleischaker, CSI, Co-Chair

Adrienne Rulseh, CSI, Co-Chair

Annual Golf Outing

Ryan Hallesy, CSI, Chair

Chapter Administrator

 Vicky Olson, CSI, IntrinXec

Back to top