Q&A with a few classmates

To which construction component do you feel that you made the most significant contribution? What was your involvement?

Megan: My most significant contribution in construction was to the clutter in the gutter, and the organization of that clutter (Sink, storage, seating).

Nicole: I believe I have made the most contribution to the steel components such as brackets, vertical gardens, storage steel, and gates. All these components had a welded part to them which is what my main job was for this project. Besides welding I had a hand in helping design last minute parts such as how the gates lock and unlock as well as how the storage steel locks and unlocks.

Roberto: The brackets, since I was part of the design and fabrication throughout and had to oversee those who helped with steel cutting and welding.

What is your favorite component of the project, and how do you think it could be improved?

Megan: I appreciate the center of the structure, and how all of the storage, seating, and sink align with the gutter. It could be improved by further assessment of the finer details and how those details can make an impact on the greater design.

Nicole: My favorite component of the project is our gutter. I think that using this feature to conserve water and use it to water the community garden in the future was a great way to give our structure a dual purpose. 

Roberto: The gutter; I am satisfied with how it turned out but it could have been more of a unique piece in my opinion.

In your opinion, what is the biggest takeaway from this project and the design/build process?

Nicole: The biggest take away from the design/build process for me was that there are many changes that happen in the field even after all drawings and shop drawings are made. It just gives you a different perspective on how you may think something is going to work when you are modeling/drawing them, but when you are actually building them, sometimes measurements or even some of the design may change.

Roberto: To always account for human error even if you do it yourself. Things are very likely to not fit nicely, thus designing elements that are flexible to these variables becomes highly valuable in the long run.

If you had no previous building experience, do you feel that you were taken out of your comfort zone? And knowing what you know now, do you feel that you would be better prepared to repeat this process? How so?

Nicole: As a third year undergrad, I have had no previous building experience. I felt I was taken out of my comfort zone to a certain extent throughout the process. For example, if I had never taken this class I probably never would have found out that I could weld. Taking a step out of my comfort zone allowed me to learn and get better at a task I had never tried before.

Roberto: I definitively feel I am better prepare for a future design-build project. My lack of experience made me feel intimidated on how to approach the design from the beginning, but now I can at least feel a more comfortable with the idea.

What is your favorite/ most valuable experience from working in the shop or on site?

Nicole: I think learning how things come together was my most valuable take away/experience throughout the process. I enjoyed learning how concrete was poured, the order of wood members in a roofing system, the process it takes to get pieces and parts prepared to take to site, and learning new tools that I have not had the opportunity to use in the past.

Roberto: I have gained respect for the construction process and I know now that the end of the design is just the beginning of the project.

What advice would you give to next semester’s incoming class for their project?

Nicole: The advice I would give to next semesters class is to make sure your time management and communication skills are at the top of their game. At the beginning of the semester I do not think I knew how hectic the last month of this studio was going to be and my advice would be to prepare ahead of time for that crazy month. I would say to really take the time to hammer out all the details during the design process to make things easier when you are preparing parts and installing on site. I also felt that all of our “undesigned” parts that had to be redesigned at the end really prolonged the process because time had to be taken to figure them out and mock them up to see if they would work. If these components had been worked out in their entirety before we began making them I believe we could have finished earlier. Besides time management, communication was key part of the process as well. Keeping everyone informed of the day’s tasks or who was working on what wasn’t communicated very well at times which resulted in people standing around not knowing what to do or even at times people were working on the same things, but did not know the other was. So communication is a huge factor in making the semester run smoothly.

Megan: My advice would be to start the physical creation of details and components sooner rather than later.

Any other thoughts/ comments?

Roberto: Seating in the pavilion makes this one of the most satisfying ends of a semester I have ever had. It makes me eager to look back to it and see what we could have done better, unlike in other semesters where I do not want to have to see the project I worked on ever again.

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