SS Vignette

Since I am not supposed to disclose any contents of the exam, all I can do is to draw your attention to one point that I was (still am) very confused about, something that almost threw me off entirely.

In the sample SS vignette on NCARB’s official guide, instruction #11 says “The structure must accommodate a clerestory window to be located along the FULL LENGTH of the north wall of the common area”. In the sample passing solution, there are two columns in that north wall, hence, according to my understanding, violating the FULL LENGTH requirement.

People on the forum suggest that instruction #4, which says “Columns may be located within walls, including the window wall and the clerestory window wall.” means it’s ok to put columns in the middle of the wall. My interpretation is that you can put columns at the ends of the wall, not in the middle of it; it just sounds like two conflicting requirements to ask for “full length accommodation” yet allowing columns in it.

Anyway, all I am saying is that I was not aware of this before going into the exam and it took me a long time to decide whether to put columns in the middle of the wall or make the beam span longer than it’s supposed to- more than 40′, which almost cost me the whole test.

ss vignette

ncarb sample vignette program

ss vignette 2

ncarb sample vignette passing solution- upper level


That said…. (I can’t believe) I passed!!! Other than this hiccup in the vignette everything was pretty reasonable, not too many curve balls and WTF questions. I am working on “visualizing ARE 4.0” diagram #3, hopefully can share it soon.

Retaking CDS next month… last one!! Almost, almost there!!!




3 thoughts on “SS Vignette

  1. This is one of those “read it carefully then re-read it and then re-read it one more time to make sure you really understood it” things that are common in the ARE. The simple answer is that yes, you can have columns in the clerestory wall because the program specifically states that you can. Since they do not specify that the columns can only be in the ends of the wall, you are left to assume they mean anywhere along that wall.

    And, if you think about it from a construction point of view, columns are not uncommon in storefront systems and are typical in curtain wall systems, either of which would be appropriate in this type of condition.

    You did good. Good luck on CDS! I’m sorry to hear you’re having to retake that one. That was one of my first and easiest. But I’ve spent a lot of time working in construction documents and services, so….


  2. Thanks Jeremiah! I failed CDS with a minor deficiency in vignette… i will make sure I do the “read it carefully then re-read it and then re-read it one more time to make sure you really understood it”!!!

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