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