Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pavilion for a Garden

 We wanted to give the gardeners new opportunities for activities in their garden.  We were drawn to a structure that was something clean when it was together, then could break apart and become useful in new ways.  We saw possibilities in objects when they were cracked opened, turned upside down, or hollowed out.  We wanted to design surprises.  

            To prepare for our presentation to the gardeners, we decided on a scheme that was a "puzzle" of 9 pieces that were each like a malformed box.  When they were put together, they were a cohesive whole, but when separate, their unique shapes lent each piece to a different specific purpose.  We split up into 9 groups of 2 or 3 and were each assigned one of these boxes to design in a new way: turn it on its side, open it up, etc.  The use for my box was to be seating, like an amphitheater.  My partner and I consulted on it and came up with a scheme where we split the box in two halfway up, and had it open out to double the size, and create a stepped seating area.  My partner also had worked on the overall design, and ended up spending most of his time on that, so the presentation of the amphitheater was mostly up to me, with some help from a few generous souls.  
            Here is my cardboard model that we showed the gardeners.
and open

The gardeners liked the overall idea, but were mainly worried that we were biting off more than we could chew, so they pared us down to 5 different programs, and the remaining 4 boxes, we decided, would become dummy boxes, used for storage or something.  Teams were merged based on similar programs, so my group was merged with the "rest" group (they had designed something they called a "dream box") and we were to start new designs the following day.  However, the teachers decided that we needed to start building ASAP, and my design was the one that they felt was ready to go.  So by the end of that following day, we had built the bones of the base piece.
bare bones after day 1
The progress of the work was slow, compared to how quickly some of the other pieces came together, but my piece was the only one that was meant to hold serious weight (4 people perhaps?) above the ground with somewhat of a cantilever system, so I'm glad that we took our time to get it right.
In the days following, we built the top half and tested out a few different hinging systems.
trial opening . . .

Once all the pieces had been constructed, more or less, at school, we took them all apart to transport them in a van out to the site.  Then the real fun began.  We could finally put in as many screws as we felt necessary to hold the dang thing together!  There were a lot of structural details and decisions that we put off making at first, that we finally got to make out there in the field.  And I definitely got a sunburn!  
bits and pieces
and it supports my weight!
Knowing that the gardeners will probably not want to ever put this thing back together was a little hard, but we decided on a paint scheme to connect them all in a way beyond just the shape.  We painted it white and blue/purple stripes, which I think was a little funky - I was worried about the whole thing being just too over designed - there was plenty going on without adding color to the mix!  But in the end, I did like it, and I think it shows a sense of relation and cohesion throughout the garden.  
 We also spent a lot of time on the infographics and icons - to show how to use each of our pieces and how they function. 
theater seating
how to open
moving my piece to its final resting place in the garden
and voila
This project was great because I feel like it was like being an architect in hyperdrive.  We went from concept to design to build to even seeing it get used and appreciated within 2 weeks.  What a whirlwind!  

this piece can support 4 kids at least
and 2 little girls playing patty cake

No comments:

Post a Comment