Tuesday, January 21, 2014

EKFM Radio Studio:Update No. 1

It has been a few months since the last update of progress on the studio. The exterior is basically all done - only a few minor finishes to complete still. The interior is well on its way, and radio broadcast could begin in as little as a few weeks!

Elijah and Sam working on the ferro-cement benches between the buttresses

first layer of ferro-cement complete

meanwhile, Gabby has been busy with the welding machine:
the doors and windows are installed! also, 
a fresh coat of white paint on the vault!

glass louvered windows (front and back)

the front door - interior/exterior

inside, things are really moving

wiring and sockets are in place

Elijah fabricated and installed the interior wood door

view from broadcast room

Nancy, Bernardo, and Eriko beginning to install 
sound-dampening foam inside the broadcast room

the glue

teamwork + attention to detail

meanwhile, the electrical line is taken from 
the solar array on the EK Community Center

floor to ceiling foam

the studio is looking pretty nice on a sunny
day on Mfangano Island.

Monday, January 20, 2014


For two weeks in November the PennDesign Dean's Office sponsored an exhibition that aimed to highlight recent student work that has brought together the ideas of collaboration, construction, and social/communal impact.

Work was featured by:

ACTIVATE: collaborative constructions for social impact

The ACT of building is inherent to our discipline. So why not build?

This exhibition highlights projects in which PennDesign students have used construction as a means of not only fully executing a design idea, but also as a catalyst for social or cultural impact. Each project focuses on different scale of impact: from right here at Meyerson Hall all the way to the most remote places on earth. In each, model-making, prototyping, and full scale constructions actively bring together and empower the communities they are engaging with.

The organizers of this exhibition would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Dean’s Office, without whom this would not be possible.

Thanks to:
Kelly Berger, Erik Leach, and Kordae Henry, EKFM Team
Gray Garmon, GLP/S+S
Alyssa Olson, Founder+Facilitator, CO+Lab

Special Thanks to:
Eric Wong, Exhibition Consultant
Lindsay Rule, Documentation

Exhibition consultant Eric Wong, giving some advice

setting up a demonstration of the our form-finding technique

Eriko-Baba under the string vault

Gray, putting up the full-scale GLP prototype

Global Latrine Project/Small+Small

amazing little model

Alyssa Olson and Adam Achrati (left), Josh Berliner and Gray Garmon (right)

Lindsay Rule (left), Erik Wong (right) 

CO+Lab getting set up

CO_Lab stools

EKFM Studio Project
(yes, we brought in the groin vault from outside)

String Vault Theatre

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

IDEA DAY at PennDesign: Building High Performance Vaults

Our 1-1/2 day design and construction charrette welcomed ten high school seniors from the Charter High School for Architecture + Design (CHAD) to participate alongside PennDesign graduate students in the planning, design and on-site fabrication of innovative vault structures built of sustainable materials; a technique considered both high and low-tech in the field of construction. Through our IDEA DAY collaboration, we demonstrated how the tile vaulting techniques developed during the past year can effectively bring together communities and empower them to learn and build. 

Together, the PennDesign grad students and CHAD high school students learned the method and successfully built their own vaults whose inventive figures and forms capture the spatial potential of this resurgent building technique. Our thanks and appreciation go to the Dean’s office at PennDesign for funding and facilitating this event.

PROJECT Coordinators:
Franca Trubiano Assistant Professor of Architecture, PennDesign
Jonathan Dessi-Olive M.Arch ‘14

PROJECT Captains:
Erik Leach M.Arch ‘15
Kordae Henry M.Arch/MLA ‘15
Kelly Berger M.Arch ‘14
Victoria Pingarron Alvarez

105 S 7th St. Philadelphia, PA 19106
Contact: Andrew Philippes

Lindsay Loftin Rule M.Arch/MLA ‘15

Adrian Subagyo, Ali Almubarak, Basak Huner, Daniel Lau, Francois Poupeau, Hugo Ochoa, Jocelyn Chen, Jose Holguin, Leonie Badger, Lifeng Lin, Pengyuan Shen, Priyanka Damle, Rajika Goel, Ramy Garas, Saahiti Penigalapati, Tess Pula, Xi Yao, Yanhua Zhuang, Zach Reiser

We started the day off very much like our previous training. This time, Erik led most of this tutorial. We wend through the basic concepts of building the arch, formed pairs, and before long, they were off! The success of the last training meant that each of the pairs of high schoolers had a graduate "mentor" who already had gone through the exercise. As a result the dialogue was immediately initiated and the participants interacted with each other, asked questions and problem solved together - regardless of their age, skill, or background.

Then, a few of the graduate students broke off to build the plywood base on which we were going to build the vaults. The ground had an unexpectedly large grade change so it took some problem solving, but we still managed to make it work.

Next, we demonstrated how to build the guidework. We emphasized the concept of the ruled surface, and how a shift of the end points on a ruled surface between two arches creates the saddle vault. Once, again we were teaching the technique we had developed for the EKFM Studio.

without any hesitation, the teams self organized 
and the students started building

setting up guidework for the third vault

everything in place - we finally got to take a rest

hard at work

these high school students are not afraid to ask questions
and engage in a discussion

busy worksite

attention to detail

slowly by slowly

almost done!

by mid afternoon of the second day we were 
all done, and ready to pose for photos

as always we made a bit of a mess

we're all still learning

but the results are great!

infinite thanks to Lindsay Rule for the documentation