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Constructing  Environments     Studio  Journal  –  Week  1     The  Mass  Challenge:  In  groups  of  3  –  4,  using  only  a  tub  of  small  wooden   blocks,  make  the  tallest  tower  possible  with  an  opening  that  was  able  to  fit   a  toy  dinosaur    

  Figure  1:  Toy  dinosaur          Figure  2:  Box  of  wooden  blocks     Once  in  our  groups,  we  started  brainstorming  ideas  on  how  we  could  create  an   opening  that  would  be  big  enough  to  allow  for  the  toy  to  enter  yet  also  strong   enough  to  hold  the  load  above  it.         Our  group  decided  that  we  would  create  a  facade,  which  would  allow  for  the   entry  of  the  toy  and  then  build  the  rest  of  the  tower  around  it,  shown  in  figure  3.   Being  novices  at  this  task,  our  tower  continuously  fell  over  as  we  struggled  to   decide  on  what  type  of  structural  method  would  best  distribute  the  load.      

  Figure  3:  The  idea   However  as  our  building  process  went  further  along  we  all  realized  that  our   tower’s  base  would  not  be  strong  enough  to  hold  and  distribute  large  load,  and   since  we  were  far  into  the  activity  time  we  decided  to  try  create  whatever  we   could,  since  the  rest  of  the  tute  was  already  way  head  in  terms  of  structure  and   ENVS10003  -­‐  Amarjit  Batra  -­‐  638898  


height.    The  biggest  weakness  of  our  structure  was  that  the  front  facade  and  the   rear  structure  weren’t  connected  together  very  well  and  therefore  the  load  from   the  top  of  the  building  didn't  have  a  stable  base  to  transfer  to.  Another  weakness   was  that  the  blocks  on  the  base  of  our  structure  were  laid  with  the  smallest  sides   to  rest  on  and  therefore  the  structure  was  very  frail.    

  Figure  4:  Weaknesses  becoming  apparent       Thus  along  the  way  we  decided  to  widen  the  floor  stance  of  the  structure  adding   extra  blocks  for  support.  As  seen  in  Figure  4  our  sidewalls  were  well  constructed   however  they  weren’t  properly  connected  in  the  corners  and  this  meant  that  a   removal  of  even  one  of  the  side  connecters  and  the  structure  could  fall  apart.   Upon  this  realization  we  started  adding  to  the  corners  and  as  we  built  up  a  more   solid  structure  at  the  rear  end  of  the  construction  started  to  take  shape,  shown  in   figure  5.  

 

  Figure  5:  Structure  starting  to  take  shape  

 

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Since  the  rest  of  the  tute  class  was  way  ahead  in  terms  of  height  we  started   building  our  “Antenna  extension”  quite  early  to  add  to  the  building  height.  As   figure  8  shows  that  though  we  added  to  height  by  simply  adding  blocks  on  top  of   each  other;  the  solidity  of  the  structure  reduced  as  the  top  of  the  tower  became   extremely  feeble  with  the  load  having  only  one  singular  beam  to  transfer   through.                                           Figure  6:  Feeble  “Antenna”     As  shown  in  figure  6,  we  realized  that  our  facade  and  rear  weren’t  really   connected  and  the  stress  of  the  building  wasn't  being  transferred  throughout  the   structure.  We  tried  to  rectify  this  by  adding  a  better  connection  between  the  rear   and  the  facade  (figure  7).                                     Figure  7:  Connection  between  facade  and  rear  

ENVS10003  -­‐  Amarjit  Batra  -­‐  638898  


From  this  stage  onward  and  up  until  the  end  of  the  time  limit  (figure  8)  we  just   tried  adding  as  much  mass  as  we  could  to  the  structure  making  sure  we  didn't   completely  overload  it  and  thus  cause  the  building  to  fall  apart.    

  Figure  8:  Time  up!     As  we  looked  around  at  what  the  other  groups  had  produced  our  weakness   became  quite  apparent.    The  assembly  of  the  other  structures  was  much  better,   sharing  some  similarities  with  the  rear  end  of  our  building.  Here  the  wooden   bricks  were  interlaced  to  provide  the  load  different  avenues  to  transfer  through   and  despite  taking  out  several  blocks  from  the  structure  in  figure  10,  the  building   still  stood  as  the  load  was  able  to  pass  through  the  side  walls.    

        Figure  9  &  10:  Solid  Structures  

 

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Figure  11  shows  the  strongest  tower  in  the  room,  it  followed  the  best  structural   rules  for  a  tower  of  this  kind:  Sturdy  base,  cylindrical  shape  that  had  numerous   robust  load  paths.  The  building  was  so  strong  that  despite  being  as  tall  as  the   tutor  it  was  able  to  withstand  a  large  amount  of  weight  without  falling  down.    

Load   Paths  

Figure  11:  The  most  robust  tower  in  the  room  

 

  This  activity  allowed  us  to  examine  how  load  transfers  through  building  mass   and  what  type  of  structure  is  needed  to  have  a  strong  tall  building  that  can   withstand  a  large  load.  

ENVS10003  -­‐  Amarjit  Batra  -­‐  638898  


Studio journal week 1 amarjit batra