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!!!

 

 

Back from Italy!

After retaking SS on 23rd June, I went on a short trip to Italy, as a little reward for myself for all the studies I’ve done so far. I saw two buildings from Kaplan’s “notable buildings”… The Pantheon and Palazzetto Dello Sport. Pantheon I planned to see (duh), but Palazzetto Dello Sport I just randomly came across on my way to Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI. What a pleasant surprise! It was a humble, quiet gem in a less busy area of Rome. If you are going to Rome, make sure you don’t miss it!

Sure I learned about them in “architecture 101”, but seeing these beautiful structures after taking the exam help me appreciate them even more.

pantheon

pantheon

palazzetto dello sport

palazzetto dello sport

Studying Outside

Talking about my favorite place to study, I am lucky to be in NYC with plenty of options. I like to mix it up, you name it- home, starbucks, office, on the train… and Bryant Park is definitely one of my favorites. For a nice warm Saturday, 2 hours in the beautiful NY public library and 2 hours under the sun in the park makes a pretty productive afternoon. It’s kinda tempting to people-watch, but at least it takes the pressure off and makes studying a little bit more enjoyable.

Few days before my SS rematch, I’ll just have to power through it.

Studying in Bryant Park

Studying in Bryant Park

(re)Starting with Flash Cards (SS)

Coming back from a two-week vacation in Hong Kong, it’s time to get back to study mode again. This is also about exactly one year since I took my first test, so maybe it’s a good time for a recap. For your reference, I did:

April 2013 – SD – pass
June 2013 – SS – fail
June 2013 – PPP – pass
Sept 2013 – BS – pass
Oct 2013 – SPD – pass

Nov 2013 – CDS – fail
Mar 2014 – BDCS – pass

In a nutshell, I passed 5 out of 7 tests in a year’s time, which I am pretty happy about. Looking back it might not have been the best testing order, but I was thrown off by the July-August blackout last year so it was different.

When I was studying for my BDCS exam, I realized it is extremely helpful to start with flash cards. I guess being familiar with the terminologies makes all the readings much easier. I also pin as much as I can on pinterest  cuz a lot of times pictures are better than words. As I prepare for my re-match with Structural Systems (SS), I plan to do exactly the same.

Kaplan Flash Cards

Kaplan Flash Cards

Insulation Stuff (BDCS)

LOOSE FILL

 :)  :(
Cellulose High recycle content
Low embodied energy
Cotton High recycle content
Low embodied energy
Fiberglass
Perlite
Vermiculite Might contain asbestos
Plastic Fiber

BOARD

 :)  :(
EPS Not ozone-depleting
Flexible
High embodied energy
XPS High R-value
High compressive strength
High resistance to water absorption
Ozone-depleting
Expensive
Polyiso Not ozone-depleting
Recycled content
High embodied energy
Polyurethane Not ozone-depleting
High R-value
Expensive

SPRAYED

 :)  :(
Sprayed Polyurethane
(Close Cell, High Density)
High R-value Ozone-depleting
 Sprayed Polyurethane
(Open Cell, Low Density)
Not Ozone-depleting Low R-value
 Icynene (Low Density) Good for retrofitting