magic school court mid June 2011: the modular wood pavers are in place at the finished grade
(there are laser-cut inscriptions noting species and other facts about the wood)
Sydnor Scholer + Sophia Lee
This week groups from both sites continued to create prototypes and experiment with materials and construction methods.
Part 1: Team Abundance
The group working with Abundant Life Ministries received feedback on their proposals and is moving full speed ahead with several different projects: a modular deck, benches composed of different wood pieces, as well as stackable benches that can be grouped to create storage. These elements will come together to extend the front porch/public space of CALM, as well as creating the proposed Magic Schoolport.
Kara and Kelly (Team floor) made several trips to Redbrook Lumber, where they met with owner Robert Howard to discuss the availability of reclaimed/waste hardwood at his facility. Red Brook is located near Monticello in the idyllic countryside outside of Charlottesville.
Red Brook specializes in hard wood lumber as well as making decking, moldings, and flooring. Team Floor was fortunate to get an assortment of hardwood pieces that went into their first modular prototype, which was based directly on a model Kelly made which experimented with joining two pieces of deck, as well as methods for composing different species of hardwood.
From Red Brook, Team Floor also secured reclaimed heart pine from a building that once stood near the Prospect Street neighborhood and spent the rest of the weekend prepping this material for use in the construction of more deck modules:
Mike, Lauren, and AJ, Team Bench, are currently prototyping their piece. After a trip to Gaston and Wyatt in Charlottesville, they are planning to use strips of waste wood to compose the top of their bench. The pieces will be glued and laminated. The legs will be either similarly constructed from these strips or might be made from concrete to increase the longevity of the pieces.
Abigail is working on prototypes to try and see where detailing issues are likely to crop up and to test out proportions. Her next move will be looking more closely at what materials she will use for the final product and to to start playing with miter joints to create a more fluid look at the stool’s base. So far the interlocking system has proved to be the trickiest part of the design and the place where the most adjustments need to be made. However, she has gotten the proportions down pretty well.
Part 2: Team Mountainside
Team Screen worked out many details this week concerning materials, form, and hardware. We will probably primarily use dimension lumber end cuts provided by Abrahamse & Company construction sites in addition to dismantled pallet wood. The form has evolved quite drastically from the original pallet. We paid a visit to Quality Welding located in Charlottesville to discuss custom hinges for this project, and developed several new prototypes of detachable hinge connections.
Ryan and Delia (Team Table) have been working on mocking up a joint to attach the table legs to the apron. They are experimenting with materials: heavy vs light sanding, with or without planing first,
etc, and investigating ways to attach a tabletop to the base. There are several issues they are considering at the moment: 1) how to use reclaimed materials outside without allowing them to rot, 2) how to construct the table pieces so they can be assembled on site, and 3). how to make the table sturdy enough that it can resist significant weight and force. Finally, the pair are still determining the feasibility of using the shake mosaic for the table surface.
Team Table: Delia + Ryan
Continuing on with the shake cut experiments from last week, Delia and Ryan made several more cuts in order to work out how to avoid the knarly warps that occur from drying. They are also moving forward in terms of the rest of the table through material acquisition trips to construction sites owned by Abrahamse & Company. Our contact there, Leslie McDonald, has been incredibly helpful by finding sites and providing contact info. Thanks Leslie!
Team Screan: Sydnor + Sophia
Sydnor and Sophia have been looking at pallets as a means of constructing the screen. It not only provides structure, but also is a good proportion and shape for the purpose that they set out to achieve which is creating a safe edge in the backyard. They explored the shape of the screen through sketches, physical models, and Rhino. Team Screen has also been experimenting on a salvaged pallet through surfacing techniques (testing the conviviality of industrial hand sanders vs. jack planes and block planes) and the attrition of other salvaged woods to create painterly compositions.
While this team was at Mountainside Senior Living, they also tried prototyping the screen to get a feel for height and location. If sitting at the existing picnic tables, they noticed that about 4′ (130 cm) is pretty good because it covers the parking lot but not the mountain views in the distance.
As an aside, Team Screen was also very interested in the Pallet Floor built by no other than Rotor itself:
Final aside: there is a short article about Rotor on the front page of Metropolis Magazine.
Team Stumpin’: AJ, Lauren, Michael
This proposal addresses conditions in the front yard that detract from its desired use as Community Space. Presently, it lacks a boundary between the road and yard rendering it dangerous for ball play and the planting bed blocks easy access to the porch.
To improve the edge between the road and yard, this team has designed a buffer zone using existing on-site tree stumps that would be cut to about seat-height and arrayed in a linear fashion. They would remove the planting bed from in front of the porch next to the stumps to further thicken the edge and discourage ball-play near the quieter sitting zone.
Team Outdoor Playground: Kelly + Kara
Kelly and Kara teamed up to work on an outdoor space for play and gathering. Their proposals are based primarily on construction of a vertical living framework and a horizontal stage. These are based on some basic observations and discussions with Rydell:
Taking these observations, they propose creating outdoor spaces for play and gathering, with the simple understanding that the joining of two planes can make a space. They are still working out what will be constructed and hope that these proposals and survey will lead to our next step.
Team Ottoman + Shelf: Abigail
Abigail has been looking at space creation from the most basic furniture molecule that then aggregates into large spatial systems. The first is an ottoman which is detailed such that it stacks into a shelf. She has been rigorously studying methods of manufacturing these modular units that could in theory be mass-produced.
Good luck with the presentation everyone!