Spokey Dokey Artichokey

Y’all remember spokey dokeys right? The ’80s and ’90s evolution of the playing card in your bike spokes to make you go faster, sound cooler, and be super rad. We’re all about the research into bike spokes as a design concept for our structural system and have done the deep dive into the evolution of bicycle wheel design. In our efforts to dissect the engineering of bicycle wheels we keep stumbling upon all of the  inspiring novelty products that defined our childhoods riding bikes. Maybe these novelties can influence our design sculpturally, or perhaps our bridge design can offer up to pedestrians a chance to reminisce about the times when they were the coolest kid with all the lime-green spokey dokeys jumping off curbs and poppin’ wheelies. Nevertheless, our design goal is to communicate the inspiration of the bike wheel as a means to move people from the BIKEWAY to the park while celebrating the movement associated with bike wheels and spokes.

Wednesday was a chance for the studio to put in some good design work, test ideas, speak up, and address concerns about our complicated timeline. We recognize the solutions are close to completing the design of a wonderfully elegant and thoughtful bridge, but we need to continue to work hard and pick up the pace to achieve our semester goals. Here are some studio happenings:

Community Builder Ryan Bing putting in the man hours to figure out some structural decking, bracing solutions, and maintaining efficient caffeination. Making the tough calls. SPOKing the truth.
Community Builders Amanda Metze, Kevin Crumley, and Shane Lenard getting the wheels moving on the railing design. We’re trying to convey movement and Kevin is pointing in the right direction.
All the community builders discussing the semester timeline, resource availability, and the pace we must maintain to be successful in producing a quality product for the Charleston Community. SPOKing up about conflicts, concerns, and how to work efficiently together.
Community Builder Me working on a mock up of a scaled up bike spoke fabricated from 1/4″ round steel rod. Working with the team in the shop after working digitally and discussing as a team in the studio. How can we use bike spokes to be a sculptural and poetic gesture and streamline the fabrication process in the shop? Time for a SPOKE break. I decided to torch some steel and whack it to pillow over the end, similar to how a bike spoke locks in it the wheel hub.
Community Builder Kevin tests out two “spokes” hooked in a ring like a bike hub. How do we replicate the tensioning of the wheel that rotates about a center and translate that to an elongated shape that works as a bridge? We see the potential of very delicate members working in a way that carries and redistributes a lot of loads acting upon our bridge system. The crossing of members, like stitching of bike spokes, is an opportunity to create and interesting patterning across 24 feet of railing.
Community Builder Kevin got spoked by the camera.



Fall break is rapidly approaching and the semester end will creep up on us soon. The studio is continuing to put our heads down to design on paper, computer, and mock up ideas in our shop. We split into a few groups on Wednesday to explore a few specific themes and riff on some ideas together and will reconvene on Friday to discuss our process, and shop mock up attempts!


Thanks friends,





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