• justsomedude (unregistered)

    Well, they are, after all, an engineering school!

  • The Bytemaster (unregistered)

    Just waiting for the flood of comments on this one.

  • Anon (unregistered)

    "Laurent" isn't an pseudonym for "Gehry" by any chance?

  • Pigeon (cs)

    Atlantis!

  • Anonymous (unregistered)

    Why the hell did nobody explain to the architect that this was a flood prone area? You can't second-guess acts of God but if it's a common problem then there is absolutely no excuse for this momentous design oversight. I don't even know who was at fault, it's hard to tell from the write-up, but any professional architect would fully consider the repercussions of building in a flood prone area. I'm quite sceptical about today's article, I'd like to hear it from the architect's perspective.

  • pallen (unregistered)

    What else would you expect from the Cousteau Scubadiving Department?

  • GettinSadda (cs) in reply to Anonymous
    Anonymous:
    Why the hell did nobody explain to the architect that this was a flood prone area? You can't second-guess acts of God but if it's a common problem then there is absolutely no excuse for this momentous design oversight. I don't even know who was at fault, it's hard to tell from the write-up, but any professional architect would fully consider the repercussions of building in a flood prone area. I'm quite sceptical about today's article, I'd like to hear it from the architect's perspective.
    Original Article:
    "I'm not sure that's a good idea," Diogo said. He explained the unique geography of the region.
  • pitchingchris (cs) in reply to justsomedude
    justsomedude:
    Well, they are, after all, an engineering school!

    school being the key word here.

  • Brian LaPierre (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous

    I can only presume that this

    Article:
    "I'm not sure that's a good idea," Diogo said. He explained the unique geography of the region.

    means that the nature of the area was explained.

  • Anon (unregistered)

    I read the voice of Laurent with an Italian accent. It probably made the story better than it was.

  • B (unregistered)

    TRWTF is the name Diogo.

  • Mike (unregistered) in reply to Anon

    That's funny. I did the same thing.

    And: Captcha = saluto. An Italian Salute?

  • Matt Westwood (unregistered) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    I read the voice of Laurent with an Italian accent. It probably made the story better than it was.

    "Laurent" sounds like a French name. However, it would be amusing if it turns out he'd learned his architecture skills in Pisa.

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to B
    B:
    TRWTF is the name Diogo.

    Very common name in some countries... (eg Portugal)

  • Rick (unregistered)

    yeah, architects are pretty smart folks, but that doesn't mean they know everything. When they designed our new datacenter here in Missouri, the architect (from Texas of all places), was somehow convinced that it never gets above 95 degrees. So all of our heat exchangers were placed outside, in half-wall areas (very little cross ventilation), and in the direct sunlight.

    Our methods to compensate for his bad design have ranged from running sprinklers on the heat exchangers to installing an aluminum monstrosity over them for shade.

  • BenHead (unregistered) in reply to Anon
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Hasteur (cs)

    This is why you set out with a list of requirements/wishes/do-not-wants before you start looking a individual implementation of said requirements. Evaluate each implementation based on the conformity to the requirements and score them outside of "where they came from".

  • Anonymous Coward (unregistered)

    Reminds me of the, possibly apocryphal, story about my alma mater... They designed a new block inhouse, with a sports centre in the basement, and only when construction started was it realised that they'd forgotten to allow for the weight of the water in the pool, resulting in a building with a total height of about 1m above ground. That was an engineering school too.

  • Robert (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Anonymous Coward (unregistered)

    Unfortunately, spending insane amount of money on flashy but barely functional university buildings is getting rather common. Apparently, looks are more important to many university higher-ups than usability.

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to GettinSadda
    GettinSadda:
    Anonymous:
    Why the hell did nobody explain to the architect that this was a flood prone area? You can't second-guess acts of God but if it's a common problem then there is absolutely no excuse for this momentous design oversight. I don't even know who was at fault, it's hard to tell from the write-up, but any professional architect would fully consider the repercussions of building in a flood prone area. I'm quite sceptical about today's article, I'd like to hear it from the architect's perspective.
    Original Article:
    "I'm not sure that's a good idea," Diogo said. He explained the unique geography of the region.

    This says absolutely nothing about whether the regular flooding was explicitly outlined to the architect. There's unique geography around here too but that's no indication of the annual rainfall. Clearly there is a lot of room for interpetation here which is exactly why I said I'd like to hear it from the architect's perspective.

  • Leaping lizard (unregistered)

    Amusing. The CS pioneer and economist Herbert Simon complained about the obliviousness of architects to stuff like this.

    On the other hand, I can remember a building leased by a US government office losing its server room to ceiling floods. That was designed by no techonologysh superstar, just a standard Washington, DC, spec box. The sysadmins looked really tired when I ran into them on the Metro after their week of dealing with the afternath.

  • The Nerve (unregistered)

    Sounds like a great analogy for many computer science (especially Agile) practices in general. Ignore the customer, or if you do talk to them, argue with them and then talk about how stupid they are behind their back. Make every attempt to do it the way you want to and tell them it's impossible if they ask for any deviations. When everything blows up, they can hire a contractor to come in and half-ass a fix which actually breaks a few months later.

    There aren't many basements around here, but could they not just install pumps to deal with flooding? Knowing that there might be problems, and that he is in charge of the basement, shouldn't he have been on hand to deal with the disaster? Sounds like another irresponsible computer science attitude: if I didn't want to do it that way, I'm just going to sit back and watch other people's data get destroyed so that I can say "I told ya so."

  • Remy Porter (cs) in reply to Anonymous
    Anonymous:
    There's unique geography around here too but that's no indication of the annual rainfall. Clearly there is a lot of room for interpetation here which is exactly why I said I'd like to hear it from the architect's perspective.

    Or, y'know, the guy that wrote the story was purposefully vague so that he didn't give away the coming punchline several paragraphs early.

  • db2 (cs)

    Alright, I need to see a picture of this building, because the description conjures up images of M.C. Escher.

    We've got double-doors installed on the roof of the building. Whether they were installed upright, or flat like some kind of submarine hatch isn't addressed - I'm going to assume upright.

    They open to a sloped ledge, which is four stories down, on the third floor. Either the ledge is on the outside of the building, like most ledges tend to be, or they've got some kind of bizarre interior ledge on the third floor, and a four story shaft that conveniently goes all the way up to the roof. If the ledge is exterior, like a sane building, then the roof door is completely unnecessary for a crane to hoist things onto it. Furthermore, if it's a sloped ledge, is placing several hundred pound racks onto it the best idea?

    And if the water was trapped on the "upper floor" after entering the roof access, how was it any use in getting the equipment all the way down to the third floor, which was apparently only a few feet from the target server room?

    I'm going cross-eyed just trying to visualize this.

  • Steve (unregistered)

    Has anyone else noticed how this is a classic software development blunder, only made IRL? We do this shit all the time - make something that looks great on paper but when it comes to implementation we find it's full of unanticipated problems.

    The difference, of course, is that it only costs a few man days to make a software development blunder but it can cost tens of millions of dollars to make an architectural blunder. This is exactly why architects don't fuck up nearly as often as software developers and it's exactly why I don't believe today's story, at least not how it has been told. I'm not saying it didn't happen in some form but I really don't believe that a world-renouned architect would make a moronic software developer mistake like this. No way.

  • Remy Porter (cs) in reply to db2
    db2:
    Alright, I need to see a picture of this building, because the description conjures up images of M.C. Escher.

    Flat doors, since the crane lowered the hardware down to the ledge through them- you essentially have a pit, a large empty central shaft in the middle of the building (a not uncommon design in modern buildings). The third floor then has an exposed ledge that sits out into that open shaft. Hence the suicide door.

  • Don (unregistered) in reply to Rick
    Rick:
    yeah, architects are pretty smart folks, but that doesn't mean they know everything. When they designed our new datacenter here in Missouri, the architect (from Texas of all places), was somehow convinced that it never gets above 95 degrees. So all of our heat exchangers were placed outside, in half-wall areas (very little cross ventilation), and in the direct sunlight.

    Our methods to compensate for his bad design have ranged from running sprinklers on the heat exchangers to installing an aluminum monstrosity over them for shade.

    Actually, they are smart folks indeed; capable of incredible feats of both beauty and design. But they suck at data room design - by nature it has certain requirements which architects do not get: the need for temperature regulation regardless of weather; the need for hermetic sealing.. etc.

  • Michael Ludwig (unregistered) in reply to Robert

    Wasn't the University of Minnesota, as a student there I can say that the water damage came about from freezing pipes that burst during a long weekend. Not the best moment, but unrelated to the Suicide Door

  • ray10k (unregistered)

    The Daily Wtf: curious perversions in Information Technology and architecture.

    Captcha: veniam (VENom I AM)

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to Remy Porter
    Remy Porter:
    Anonymous:
    There's unique geography around here too but that's no indication of the annual rainfall. Clearly there is a lot of room for interpetation here which is exactly why I said I'd like to hear it from the architect's perspective.

    Or, y'know, the guy that wrote the story was purposefully vague so that he didn't give away the coming punchline several paragraphs early.

    Thanks for trying to build the tension for us but trust me, we all knew exactly where this was going as soon as we read "the server room is in the basement".

  • Tom (unregistered)

    "potected by altitude"

  • Anonymous coward (unregistered) in reply to Steve
    Steve:
    but I really don't believe that a world-renouned architect would make a moronic software developer mistake like this. No way.
    Have you ever worked or lived in a building of such an architect? If you had, you would believe the story to the letter.
  • Bob (unregistered) in reply to The Nerve
    The Nerve:
    Sounds like a great analogy for many computer science (especially Agile) practices in general. Ignore the customer, or if you do talk to them, argue with them and then talk about how stupid they are behind their back. Make every attempt to do it the way you want to and tell them it's impossible if they ask for any deviations. When everything blows up, they can hire a contractor to come in and half-ass a fix which actually breaks a few months later.

    There aren't many basements around here, but could they not just install pumps to deal with flooding? Knowing that there might be problems, and that he is in charge of the basement, shouldn't he have been on hand to deal with the disaster? Sounds like another irresponsible computer science attitude: if I didn't want to do it that way, I'm just going to sit back and watch other people's data get destroyed so that I can say "I told ya so."

    ok so pumping the basement isnt a great solution it's not a case of shifting 6 square foot of water but actually lowering the water table. the amount of water to shift to lower the table even an inch is a huge amount, not to mention where do you pump it to? outside? because then that will seep back into the ground and add its volume to the water table again.

    Captha "praesent" a divine gift

  • Don (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous
    Anonymous:
    GettinSadda:
    Anonymous:
    Why the hell did nobody explain to the architect that this was a flood prone area? You can't second-guess acts of God but if it's a common problem then there is absolutely no excuse for this momentous design oversight. I don't even know who was at fault, it's hard to tell from the write-up, but any professional architect would fully consider the repercussions of building in a flood prone area. I'm quite sceptical about today's article, I'd like to hear it from the architect's perspective.
    Original Article:
    "I'm not sure that's a good idea," Diogo said. He explained the unique geography of the region.

    This says absolutely nothing about whether the regular flooding was explicitly outlined to the architect. There's unique geography around here too but that's no indication of the annual rainfall. Clearly there is a lot of room for interpetation here which is exactly why I said I'd like to hear it from the architect's perspective.

    For the clueless among us, I'll quote the definition as per Princeton Worldnet "study of the earth's surface; includes people's responses to topography and climate and soil and vegetation"

    Yes folks, climate is part of geography. Did our protagonist understand this definition? Probably so; given he had concerns about the place the servers were planned to go!!!!

  • Nexzus (cs)

    Whenever I think of Architects with form over function ideas, I'm always reminded of this monstrosity: [image] designed by guy who's famous for designing bathrooms.

    Fisher distributed a biography which said he received an honorary doctorate from "The Prodeo Institute at Columbia University in New York". No such institution exists, however, and Columbia said it had never awarded Fisher an honorary degree. Fisher acknowledges that he is not well known, has never built a skyscraper before and hasn't practiced architecture regularly in decades.
  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to db2
    Comment held for moderation.
  • gpb (unregistered)

    A lot of the architects I've met just seem out of touch with the real world. They're artsy folks that want to play around with building things but don't have enough skills to solve real problems. And because they are artsy, they just assume anyone that doesn't understand is an idiot.

    And Laurent sounds Italian. Similar arrogance to the douches at Ferrari.

    Captcha: bene. The seal of approval Laurent gave his design.

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to Don
    Don:
    For the clueless among us, I'll quote the definition as per Princeton Worldnet "study of the earth's surface; includes people's responses to topography and climate and soil and vegetation"

    Yes folks, climate is part of geography. Did our protagonist understand this definition? Probably so;

    There you go - probably. In other words, you're just guessing like the rest of us. Thanks for your input and everything but my exact point was that there is not enough information here to know definitively what information was exchanged between the university and the architect. You can guess, I can guess, we can all guess but that's all it is - a guess. When I say "I'd like more information" that doesn't mean "I'd like more guesses from random strangers with no knowledge of the actual event".

  • EdipisReks (unregistered)

    my University has a Gehry designed biomed research building. it leaks very badly, and basically has since the before it was opened. our other main biomed research building, designed by Studios Architecture, has no stairs between the floors except for emergency stairs way off to the side, which means that the two central elevators are overused, as they are the only convenient way to move between floors. a giant block would have been a lot more useful.

  • Anon (unregistered)

    I'd like more guesses from random strangers with no knowledge of the actual event.

    This is why I read the comments.

  • Kevin (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous Coward
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Toy Trumpet (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous Coward

    You went to Imperial College too?? :)

  • Zaratustra (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous
    Anonymous:
    Why the hell did nobody explain to the architect that this was a flood prone area? You can't second-guess acts of God but if it's a common problem then there is absolutely no excuse for this momentous design oversight. I don't even know who was at fault, it's hard to tell from the write-up, but any professional architect would fully consider the repercussions of building in a flood prone area. I'm quite sceptical about today's article, I'd like to hear it from the architect's perspective.

    My guess: He explained the problem, but since he wasn't an architect and therefore was completely ignorant of how buildings worked, was ignored.

  • The Nerve (unregistered)

    TRWTF is that the dean didn't install a laser-based security system so that Tom Cruise could dangle down the shaft and log into the computers while suspended in air.

  • Richard (unregistered)

    TRWTF here is that everyone assumed that a good design (and designer) for a series of classrooms was also a good design (and designer) for a datacenter, which is a specialized building (or portion thereof) with its own unique requirements. Why put them in the same place to begin with?

  • wtf (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous
    Anonymous:
    Don:
    \ Yes folks, climate is part of geography. Did our protagonist understand this definition? Probably so;
    There you go - probably. In other words, you're just guessing like the rest of us. Thanks for your input and everything but my exact point was that there is not enough information here to know definitively what information was exchanged between the university and the architect. You can guess, I can guess, we can all guess but that's all it is - a guess. When I say "I'd like more information" that doesn't mean "I'd like more guesses from random strangers with no knowledge of the actual event".

    From the article:

    "…which is exactly what I warned you about," Diogo told the dean. It was impolitic, but honest.
    So if "Diogo" didn't say so at first, he certainly claimed he did later. Does that help?
  • Wheaties (unregistered) in reply to Steve
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Uncle S (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward:
    Reminds me of the, possibly apocryphal, story about my alma mater... They designed a new block inhouse, with a sports centre in the basement, and only when construction started was it realised that they'd forgotten to allow for the weight of the water in the pool, resulting in a building with a total height of about 1m above ground. That was an engineering school too.
    I think all universities have myths like this. At my old university the common belief was that the library had been built upside down by mistake. This stemmed from the fact that the top half of the building was physically bigger than the bottom half (so it literally overhung the lower half on all sides). It did look a little bit like it was upside down, but of course this was no mistake - the building was designed like that to minimise its footprint.
  • The Nerve (unregistered) in reply to wtf
    wtf:
    Anonymous:
    Don:
    \ Yes folks, climate is part of geography. Did our protagonist understand this definition? Probably so;
    There you go - probably. In other words, you're just guessing like the rest of us. Thanks for your input and everything but my exact point was that there is not enough information here to know definitively what information was exchanged between the university and the architect. You can guess, I can guess, we can all guess but that's all it is - a guess. When I say "I'd like more information" that doesn't mean "I'd like more guesses from random strangers with no knowledge of the actual event".

    From the article:

    "…which is exactly what I warned you about," Diogo told the dean. It was impolitic, but honest.
    So if "Diogo" didn't say so at first, he certainly claimed he did later. Does that help?

    It certainly seems that the majority is choosing sides against Diogo here.

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