There is No Such Thing As Caulk (Or at Least That is What I was Taught)




I had the honour of being invited to a very exclusive Dwell Magazine/ Tom Dixon party at the Gwathmey-Siegel designed Soho Mews condo in New York on Sunday night. It was in a nice $11.3 million little pile on top, beautiful spaces, quality detailing inside. I felt nervous about taking pictures but NOTCOT didn't, so the interior shots are theirs. But I did take some exterior detail shots.


When I was back in architecture school, there was a professor who put forth the proposition that we should design our buildings as if there was no such thing as caulk; that everything should have solid flashings, drainage layers, channels to carry away the water. Yet this building's top floor was essentially held together with caulk, with butt jointed double glazed windows sealed with an inch wide caulk joint.


I mentioned this to Joe Tanney, principal of Resolution 4 architects and someone who I have come to think of as a friend, and he suggested that I went to school far too long ago, and that things have changed. I am not so sure.

When I spoke with Peter Yost of BuildingGreen, he described how a Kia economy car could go into a storm, effectively a hundred mile an hour force on a moving car, and it wouldn't leak because there are multiple gaskets and drainage channels built into the door. Yet architects cannot do a window detail with a backup plan, a way of dealing with the inevitable failure of a complex chemical product like caulk.


I have written about this before; I having trouble

trying to reconcile my love of clean, modern design with my concern about the use of fossil fuels or building materials that cannot be maintained in a world made by hand.



It is clean, modern, lovely design from one of our best architects, but I am just not certain that this is how we should be building anymore.

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There is No Such Thing As Caulk (Or at Least That is What I was Taught)

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