The vertical gardens are a very important aspect in the overall design of the project. These two large panel assemblies help to ground the otherwise light and airy structure. As soon as these panels were set into place, the look of the structure felt much more complete. Additionally, once the vines are planted and have grown across these panels, the plants will provide shade to areas that would otherwise be exposed to early morning and evening sunlight. Earlier in the design phase, after we reviewed our solar analysis, we knew that the shading from the structure alone would leave something to be desired. The team behind designing these panels did a great job in implementing a design feature that will not only give the much needed cover from the sun, but it looks awesome doing it. I’m really excited to return to the site to see this completed after the conservancy department plants the vines.
From what I hear, the process of fabricating these panels was no easy task. Some unfortunate souls had to clean the rust from the welded wire mesh manually to prep it for welding and paint. The team carefully measured the as-built dimensions of the structure to make sure that we had a tight fit on install, leaving only enough room to place a few washers as spacers. All of the steel angle had to have holes punched for the thru-bolts that will be used to affix each panel to one another and the posts; each hole had to be precisely placed or else the panels would not align. With the mesh and the angle prepped, Nicole, our resident welder, welded each individual frame, giving us the six frames that would be parsed into two groups of three. Once welded, they were primed, painted, and sent to site.
Roberto was given the responsibility of over-seeing that the brackets were assembled exactly to specifications. It was critical that each track and plate was cut and drilled very accurately, as the holes needed to perfectly align on either side of the post or beam to which they were to be bolted. Just as, if not more importantly, Nicole made sure that each bracket was welded accurately and cleanly. With a little grinder work to chamfer the edges, and a fresh coat of paint, these parts were looking sharp and ready to be installed on site.
Aaron worked really hard to pull off the difficult task of making this unusual gutter idea a reality, you can reference his post on March 14th for details much better than I can word. As we’ve said before, the gutter is possibly one of the single most important parts of the entire project and we all wanted it to be something more than just a gutter. There was a lot of discussion about how we could pull this off, and many different possible avenues to follow, (some wild ideas were tossed around) and Aaron found an elegant and realistic solution. Fortunately for the people installing the gutter, he had taken the guess work out of the installation for us. The plan was clear and straightforward, all we needed was a few hands to handle the material, and a lot of clamps to secure it in place while we pre-drilled and fastened it to the beams.
Much like the vertical gardens, the louvers were a necessary addition to aid in providing shade for the users in the morning and evening hours. And much like the gutter, it took a great deal of effort to arrive at a winning solution. John spent many hours developing a system of weaving louvers that would function along the angled array of posts. With the core idea in mind, the team working on the install (John, Audrey, Taylor, and Kelly) had to carefully measure each bay of posts to ensure that the holes that they would be pre-drilling in the shop would align just right with the posts. Back on site, the team worked quickly and efficiently to mount each part, using a system of spacer blocks and clamps to maintain parallel between every louver.