The Do’s and Don’ts of Architectural Design: By a Mechanical Engineer

At 360, we love to be team players and share our ideas and insights with our fellow consultants. And boy, do we have ideas! This month, we wanted to help out our architect friends with some brilliant tips and tricks for working with mechanical engineers and making buildings awesome.

Chase Sizes

Everyone loved throwing things down the laundry chute as a kid, so why not bring that excitement to the workplace by adding chases sprinkled throughout the floorplan? Never concede to smaller chases, as they should occupy no less than 25% of the floor. Oh, and make sure you can fit some ductwork and pipes in there if possible. (Picture shown for reference of a building chase)

Do: Provide chases with a minimum of 100 square feet, a large access panel (preferably 3’ wide and 7’ tall with a handle or knob for entry), and a large glass panel to allow observations from outside.

Don’t: Provide only one chase in the building. It may feel entitled and eventually resent the occupants.

Picture shown for reference of a building chase.

Quadruple Paned Windows

Everyone wants to fight for the window seat in the office, but no one wants the perks of afternoon glares, cold spots, and the potential of pedestrians looking in. There are many architectural advances to mitigate those risks, but none more effective than quadruple-paned windows. The more layers you add, the less heat transfers through the window, and the harder someone will have to squint to see inside. While quadruple-paned windows may be a good option, why stop there? Double stacking quadruple pane windows is an even more effective way to not only introduce unique light reflections in the space but also add architectural personality to buildings with windows that are thicker than the walls.

Do: Install double-stacked (heck, even triple-stacked) quadruple-pane windows.

Don’t: Default to the cost-effective, low solar gain, and easy-to-install windows.

Insulation Thickness

Insulation is best described as the warm blanket in the walls that the framing snuggles to keep warm at night. Traditionally, insulation is installed using rigid boards, spray foam, or stuffed batt insulation. However, to give a modern approach to building insulation, we recommend installing rigid dish sponges, silly string spray, or stuffed goose feather pillows as a much better insulation material. If you don’t have any of those materials handy, just stuff the walls with whatever you can find. It’ll be fine!

Do: Provide a wall stuffed full of Kleenex to reduce the HVAC size needed and use the previous batt insulation as blankets on the couch—just be prepared to be extremely itchy as you binge the newest season of Real Housewives.

Don’t: Provide boring rigid or batt insulation in the walls.

Disclaimer: This blog post was released on April 1st, and while 360 Engineering is not a licensed architecture firm, we do have some really great ideas for the advancement of architecture! Call us about your next project; we’ve got quadruple-paned windows ready for you!

Blog Post: Doors Open Denver 2017

What a weekend for Doors Open Denver!  In true Colorado fashion, we received a sizeable snow storm on Friday into Saturday, but that did not hinder locals and visitors from participating in this annual, free two-day event, April 29 & 30.  Organized by the Denver Architectural Foundation, Doors Open Denver provides an opportunity to explore some of Denver’s iconic spaces, including many historic buildings and spaces with unique architectural design.  Many of these sites are not otherwise open to the public. With nearly 70 sites to visit this year, it was tough to hit them all in two days, so here are a few highlights.

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church

Location:  1280 Vine Street

There was special interest in visiting St. Barnabas since 360 Engineering was involved with the most recent renovation, along with Anderson Hallas Architects’ team.  Originally built in 1891, the church has undergone several renovations and additions over the years.  Most recently in 2016, there was a full remodel of the parish hall, including classrooms, office and work space, and a commercial kitchen, plus an opening up of space between the existing sanctuary and Fellowship Hall to accommodate the growing congregation.  Staff members are so excited about the recent remodel, especially the commercial kitchen addition to use for special events and outreach ministries; and updated HVAC ventilation which offers better cooling/heating options for their offices and classrooms.


The Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion

Location:  400 E. 8th Avenue

Built in 1907, “Colorado’s Home” was designed and constructed by prominent Denver family, the Cheesman’s.  Unfortunately, Walter Cheesman died before the home’s completion in 1908, and upon Mrs. Cheeseman’s death in 1923, it was sold to the Boettcher family.  Claude Boettcher died in 1957, and his wife the following year.  The home was then offered to the State of Colorado to be used as the Governor’s residence.  Although the gift was initially rejected by the state, accused of being to lavish for a public servant’s residence, the state eventually accepted it as the official Governor’s residence.  The tour was complete with a sighting of our current Governor walking around the outdoor patio on a phone call!


The Sugar Cube Building

Location:  1555 Blake Street

The Sugar Cube Building, built in 2008, is a modern ten-story neighbor to the historic 1906 Sugar Building, which was home to Great Western Sugar Company.  This modern structure’s exterior was designed to fit into the historic district and features retail space on the first floor, offices on floors two through four, and luxury apartments on floors five through ten.  Those residents living in the Sugar Cube Building, not only have full-service concierge, gym memberships, parking, and storage, they also have incredible views of Denver and beyond.


A special thank you to the Denver Architectural Foundation and all the volunteers who made this event possible.  It’s evident there’s a lot of work that goes into organizing this wonderful event!  To learn more about Doors Open Denver and this year’s sites, visit their website: