Don’t Forget the Fish: Part II

MorePhotosHighRes_ - 20Alternative title : Shrimp, grit, and determination


Trying to look at the big picture, last semester’s Clemson Architecture+communityBUILD (A+cB) program taught me the biggest lesson of the critical path – thinking about the work in the sequence required and working on parts that you will need first to allow other people to continue moving the work forward as a team.  Our theater installation project in Summerton, SC was prototyped and cut on a computer numerically controlled (CNC) router, but my primary role was digital fabrication of all the parts that were cut.  To give an example, we cut the floor touching parts first, then the wall pieces, then the roof pieces last.  This may sound like a simple, but my given goal was to always think one step ahead of where the team needed to be a few days down the road and work towards the goal of staging future work that needs to be accomplished.


This semester’s biggest lesson for me has been the assembly jig, or thinking about architecture work in regard to construction assembly with speed, efficiency, accuracy, and teamwork collaboration.  “What length do the storage shed slats need to be cut?”  Cut the last 1/8″ or 1/4″ of the factory edge of the lumber square, then measure the distance on the length of the compound miter saw – check the dimension a second time, set up a clamp and a jig against the fence, and be able to cut not just one slat through your measurement – but you can now cut 208 slats.  What is the work that you can accomplish to set things up for someone easier on your team?  Get to the job site early?  Pull out all the tools you think you will need for the day, stage tools, pull temporary power – sweep the floor.  Don’t have a task at the moment right now because work temporarily slowed down?  Knoll tools for your classmates, pick up trash on the site – make yourself useful.  Be patient with everyone – ask if there are ways you can help if someone needs help.


I was also trying to look at the big picture for what we are doing – building a sun shade and storage shed community gathering space pavilion for a public city park within a neighborhood.  There are 81 raised vegetable garden beds at Medway Park on James Island and around fifty or sixty vegetable beds at Magnolia Park in West Ashley.  The community raised vegetables are harvested and turned back around to the community at four food bank locations within Charleston: James Island Outreach, Low Country Food Bank, 180 Place, and Catholic Charleston.  In the last three years they have donated 7,000 pounds of vegetables to the four food banks.  That’s beautiful.


Matt, Tyler, Yage, and myself were up in the rafters of the Medway Pavilion on Friday installing beams and purlins when David made a casual comment, “you guys remember drawing this?”  It was a reminder to me of the importance of drawing – and that the things we draw have not only legal weight in contracts, but the drawings we make also provide the information for fabrication and installation.  My other personal biggest lesson has been how shop drawings are used for fabrication and installation – we make presentation drawings to show designs to clients and technical working drawings for contractors – but shop drawings are a different type of animal and they can have a beauty all to themselves for the workers that physically make and assemble the work.  I think for a long time I took them for granted – thought they were not as important as other types of drawings – but I have a new respect for them over the last four months.


Perry, Michael, Yage, and I were involved in cutting most of the 3 1/2″ x 6″ x 5/16″ steel angles from 8′ stock and I learned how to use a new tool.  Here we are with David setting up the metal saw:

Metal shop fabrication at Cole Flodin’s place – using a magnetic drill press to punch holes into the steel angles that we just cut prior to the [cold applied] galvanization process that was to follow.  My role had been involved in getting most of the angles cut, but I was holding the cutting fluid and cooling lubricant while David provided steady and constant pressure on the tool to punch the holes.


After transporting the steel angles back to the Cigar Factory workshop in Charleston, I worked to grind – easing every edge of every angle so they would be safer to handle for our team prior to installation.

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After grinding, Yage and I cold spray applied galvanization to the steel angles in the paint booth.


We are now ready to apply them to the roof.  Katie points out how they will be centered on the girders (the best type of drawings occur on sketch diagrams).

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The beams were marked on the girders and the custom steel angles that we fabricated were lag screwed in and tightened with a ratchet and 5/8″ socket head.

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Matt, Michael, Tyler (and not pictured – Yage and myself) mark the girders and start to predrill then secure the angles to the roof.

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