February 15, 2014

Art galleries, museums, indoor pools and other specialized buildings require high interior humidity. What does it take to make them work? Joe Lstiburek, John Straube, Dave Bell and Achilles Karagiozis weigh in.

We love art galleries. We love indoor pools. We love museums. Don’t let the word get out, but I actually like the way these buildings look, I like the architecture. I’m impressed with the look and the feel of these buildings, but they’re just not working. What do we need to tell people about

They need to be designed with different systems, assemblies and materials. I think that’s like when people want to run houses with 50% humidity in Houston in the summer. They need to be told clearly that that’s not normal, that’s different. And if you want to run a museum with 50% humidity in Minneapolis in January, that’s not normal. Somebody has to say, “don’t use normal systems, assemblies, and materials.” There’s no point in talking about the details. There are lots of firms around who know about the details. The problem comes right at the start, because clients, and architects, and even the mechanical engineers are not approaching these buildings with the respect that they need to be given. You must expect different.

You have to be guided, and to use the right tools. The bottom line is that we need to give guidance to people to apply the fundamentals correctly. They need to really think and understand what they're attempting to do. And use good design tools.

February 15, 2014: I agree. Having said that, the people who are leading the charge in museums and art galleries, I think are not understanding that the interior conditions they’re asking for are completely unreasonable. I’m seeing a rash of beautiful buildings that aren’t working, and it’s because people are asking unreasonable things from them.

February 15, 2014: So now when I talk to homeowners, I can tell them that the good news is that their house is like an art gallery. It’s a complex, special building.

February 15, 2014: Or you could tell them it’s like a fungal laboratory.