Wednesday, April 17, 2013

First layer of the vault complete

In anticipation of a meeting with Fernando and Camilla I set out to finish the vault. By now I've got about 14 hours of experience laying out tiles so progress is much faster and I've got a better handle on the technique, the plaster mix (especially the amount to mix in each batch) and cutting bricks in various shapes with the trowel. The technique is without a doubt a high craft that takes years and years to master. It takes a great deal of precision and concentration to build the vault with the correct geometry and surface curvature. It is whole different challenge to correctly built the vault with clean mortar joints and with a minimum of irregularly shaped tiles. 

I realized that the scale at which we are building here is a huge contributor to the difficulty we faced with this first vault. The surface curves are rapidly changing over a short distance so a tile placed slightly off has a major impact on the overall construction. The tiles we have at the moment are far too big to build a vault so small because it makes it difficult to correct minor mistakes. The level of precision need to modify and cut the tiles we have to build a structure that small is far to difficult to achieve. 

From now on we will build much larger structures : )

 the many uses of a trowel

patching up the intrados (underbelly)

enjoying the view

Aside from completing the first layer of this vault there have been some exciting developments in this project.
  • On April 10th I was awarded the Robert A.M. Stern Architects Travel Fellowship. It is a $10,000 grant to travel and do research that focuses on the "perpetuation of history through invention". Read the press release from PennDesign here.
  • On April 12th Kelly and Kordae were awarded the Van Alen Travel Fellowship. It is a $4500 travel grant that they will split to help cover the cost of travel to Kenya and purchase camera/documentation equipment.
  • On April 15th we launched a fundraising campaign on indiegogo. We are trying to raise $10,000 to cover the cost of equipment, tools, building materials and salaries for the EK Sustainable Design Guild that will be needed to complete the construction of the EK FM Radio Studio. Please help out in any way you can. Give a little if you can and tell EVERYBODY!
Here is our campaign page. Please pass it on.