Ask an architect

Q Prior to installing storm windows we covered them with plastic sheets adhered to the frames with gummed plastic strips. In removing the strips, part of the gummed backing remained on the window frame. We have tried removing it with alcohol, Basic H, and scraping, but are having a hard time getting the gummy substance removed. Could you suggest something as we are not in a position to refinish the woodwork at this time? Mrs. Paul J. Beezley

Lincoln, Neb.

Time, air, and sunshine will, most likely, dry the substance so it can be scraped off. I have successfully removed adhesives with lighter fluid. More aggressive glues have come off with acetone or fingernail polish remover, but be careful as it could also remove the paint. Q Recently we began designing a series of high-tech industrial and office parks. How important to architects will this type of design be? Do you feel it is going to last? Is it indicative of a revolution toward a high-tech industrialized society? Silicon Valley high-tech industrial parks seem to be facing a lot of ups and downs.

Tal El-haj

Buffalo, N.Y.

I believe that architects throughout the ages have almost always applied the latest technology in the design of their buildings, although it has been done within the constraints of the budgets set by clients.

Only in rare instances, however, can an architect utilize the most advanced solar, energy-management, electrical, and circulation systems available, as their initial costs are prohibitive and the payback very long term.

High-tech has another connotation: It refers simply to a current design style which seems to be popular. The use of mirror glass, clean, strong forms, and industrial embellishments typify its look.

One has only to look through architectural history books to see that this style had its roots in the works of several noted architects who were active in the early 1900s, many of whom were connected with the Bauhaus school of which Walter Gropius was the prime motivator.

Architectual styles are constantly changing and reflect varying thoughts and attitudes of the times. The timeless element in all design is recognized in qualities such as rhythm, beauty, form, outline, color, and texture.

To the real estate editor:

We found the following product terrific in solving a problem with our house.

The house is built on a concrete slab, which became porous on the upright edges and caused moisture inside the house. Cracks were obvious when the floor covering was removed for replacement. We used this product with 100 percent improvement. It contains synthetic rubber and portland cement and requires no mixing.

I used a heavy application in places on the floor in order to level it, and it worked out fine.

The name of the product is Drylok Sealer. The can reads as follows:

United Gilsonite Laboratories, Scranton, Pa.; Lincoln, Ill.; Visalia, Calif. Drylok Sealer waterproofs porous masonry walls. Ready-mixed. May be used on stucco-brick, cinder and concrete blocks, retaining walls, basements, concrete above or below grade. Fix ponds, foundations, plaster boxes. Sold in gallon can.

A reader

Prince Georges, Md.

If you have a question about designing, improving, or maintaining your home, send it to the Real Estate Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115. Richard A. Kent is a practicing architect in southern California.

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