The bend is nigh

Good Morning! Today we will reconvene in studio to discuss some explorations into the structure and progress of our projects. Although we are focusing primarily on final design and construction documentation this week, we had to break and explore some mock-ups of connections and processes to manipulate steel. Early this week we dabbled in some welding, as explained in Justin’s post on Monday, and some heat-applied bending, as explained in Ryan’s post yesterday!

Today’s post is an update on the ‘Coburg Square’ group. We’ve spent many hours modeling, sketching, discussing methods of construction, and discussing strategies for our outdoor seating / entry / wayfinding / sculptural  element for the ‘parklet’ along the greenway. We all imagine the design process in which trace paper is flying around a wizard architect that is striking designs down with papermate flair felt-tip pens; but, sometimes we as designers forget where we leave our rolls of trace paper to sketch. So, we nab those expo markers and write on the wall that someone designated as an okay thing to do as adults.

“These white boards are gonna miss us when we’re gone” – Mohamed Fahkry, 2020.

The ‘Coburg Square’ group compiles our thoughts on the white board. Although they are mostly scribbles, this white board provides a lot of insight into our process and our quick-pace problem solving. Mohamed strives to preserve the work.

We see our project composed of bent steel elements to suggest a light, wavy, grass-like sculptural element that would compliment future horticultural elements on site, like low-land grasses. We also want it to move. Slightly. And make some noise through its material connections. Making our members out of steel provides us the delicacy we want without sacrificing durability. We know this structure will be outdoors and will be used by many people, so honing in on a material is crucial in meeting all of our goals- especially in providing a great product for our community to enjoy.

Below are some images of our explorations yesterday in the shop. We hope to continue experimenting this week as we approach spring break next week. The bend is nigh.

I am heating the mild steel rod with an oxy-acetylene torch so that it will bend more evenly and more easily. The rod is then placed in the handmade forming tool, that is clamped in our vise, to bend into curves, rings, and spirals.
We learn from this process that the cold part of the steel is what dictates the bend. If the heat is applied too far from the point of contact between the rod and the pipe form, then the result is kinked points and flat parts along the rod. The heat is applied exactly where we are wanting that part of the rod to bend. 
A coil at one end and a loop at the other. This piece is an experiment to see the limits of a single section of rod. How many bends can we make whilst using our form? What space do we need for our hands (without getting burned) to make many bends? What is our order of bending along a single member that needs multiple bends? How do we make bends with a piece of material that wasn’t straight to begin with? And, how do we correct those bends when we make a mistake? I apply heat here at a bend that wasn’t a perfect radius and used one end to pull against the pipe so to even out the curve.

Thanks Friends,

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