Monday, May 27, 2013

Vault 3_Day 2: Big Vault Attempt

Since we were able to meet our goal to finish the foundations the previous day, the team was able to start right away. We began by establishing the hight and amount of curvature of the catenary by once again hanging a chain on the wall. We always seem to forget how long this part of the process takes and how carefully it must be done since the entire construction depends on the accuracy of the guides. By mid day we were tiling however and had lots of help from fellow students who had spent the last couple days practicing building small arches and learning the technique using plaster. The work went fairly smoothly and quickly for this first day building at full scale. The problem of course is completing the first arch. Unfortunately by days end we were rushing to complete it and one of the two sides collapsed before we could close it up. Still, we learned a lot and it was great practice.

Big thanks to Bobby Lu, Ryan Koella and Moira Nadal for helping out all day long!

measuring out the arch width

marking the ends

Erik bending the rebar.

stringing the guidelines between the two rebars

the completed guides

ready to start tiling

and we're off! all hands on deck!

 slowly by slowly

our expert team of chemists

getting there...

look how thin that is!

getting a little nerve wracking

teamwork is key

you could almost imagine what it would look like complete

so so so close

the last picture before one side collapsed

Vault 3_Day 1: Foundations

With the first two prototypes (almost) finished the team began preparations for our final build before our summer adventure: the construction of a full scale vault. Since the very start of our experiments in tile vaulting, our advisors Fernando Vegas and Camilla Mileto continually stressed the importance of having a fixed foundation. The reason, is any small movement or vibration during the construction of the vault - especially the first layer with plaster - risks catastrophic failure. Our professor Lindsay Falck provided invaluable advice for the planning of the foundation structure and even came by to help and demonstrate a few of the processes. Our solution for having a very fixed foundation: lots and lots of mass. Here is what we used:

(4) 55 gallon steel barrels
(55) bags of ready-mix concrete
(2) 6 x 4 x 3/8 steel angle
(2) 4 x 3-1/2 x 5/16 steel angle
(8) 18" galvanized steel bolts
(8) 1-3/4" class 8 steel bolts
(2) 3/8" rebar

we started the morning at 7am digging and leveling the ground for the barrels

soon after we started the concrete bags were delivered.
luckily the truck had that giant arm - otherwise we would have been passing each bag through the fence

once the barrels were leveled, buried, and secured, we started to fill them with concrete.
lots and lots of concrete to give us lots and lots of MASS

Kordae and Erik: concrete masters

Professor Lindsay Falck finding the center of the barrels and taping them off 
so we could properly anchor the angle iron

Lindsay demonstrating how to drill through steel:
pilot holes are a must in this case

Kordae making sure I don't hurt myself

Kordae, Erik and Kelly showing how well they work together

concrete and concrete and more concrete
also lots of drilling through steel between 3/8" and 3/4" thick

Moira Nadal pitched in and mixed some concrete too

once the holes were fully punched through, we dropped the bolts
which anchor the steel to the barrels

Erik became a master driller

first look at the arch using the rebar as our guides

Lindsay and I discussing a few construction ideas

Sam Rosen and Alyssa Olson dropped by to help lay the first layer of tile
these were laid in beds of cement mortar directly onto the angle iron
 to create an absorptive surface for the plaster

everyone hard at work

we worked after sunset in order to meet our goal for the day

we had to lay completely cover the surface of the angle iron
in order to start the first layer of the vault first thing the next morning

finishing touches. we were done by about 10pm

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Vault 2_V2: Saddle Vault - 2nd Layer

With the plaster layer complete we were able to start on the second layer of tiles. The geometry of this vault is tricky so we had to pay fairly close attention to the pattern of these tiles, but having had some experience from the first vault we were also able to experiment with some intention.

working on both sides of the vault makes progress go much faster

working on trowel skills

little demonstration of technique

 Peter Martinez being trained in as a mason for the big build.

Ryan Koella being trained

Kelly training Alyssa Olson in tile vaulting

Since we were simultaneously planning for the big build and running out of our red brick veneers, we ended up having to drop everything and run to get materials. Kelly and I rented a van and drove to CAVA to buy tiles and some mortar.

brainstorming the structure for the big vault

packing up the van with our tiles

and that's what 2400 tiles look like

Later we were able to return to working on the saddle.