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Constructing Environments Studio Journal Week 02: Tension


• Click to edit Master text styles – Second level – Third level • Fourth level – Fifth level

After cutting our sheet of balsa into 40 identical pieces, we chose to create a three pronged centre piece commencing at the structures base. This allowed us to use the subject matter, tension, most efficiently . We combined three lengths of balsa to form our initial levels giving us both great height but not so great stability. It was evident from the very beginning that this type of structure would have very poor compressive strength but impressive tensile strength.


Due to imperfections in the balsa (uneven cuts etc.) it was difficult to vertically align the structure when completing additional levels. Furthermore, our central joints were very weak. Any centralized downward pressure on these joints resulted in catastrophe. To improve this, we cut the ends of the pieces which were used for the structures centre to make them fit together. In this way, we improved the structures overall shape and balance.

In an attempt to protect the carpet, we found that we actually reinforced the structures balance and strength by placing it atop a piece of paper. Acting aas a reinforcement to our structure, it equally distributed any downward pressure. Deemed cheating, this was later removed.

• Click to edit Master text styles – Second level – Third level • Fourth level – Fifth level


Due to the limitation of time and resources, our final structure resembled something similar to the Washington Monument. Though our design was flawed due to a gluing malfunction, our resulting structure was convincingly the tallest out of the entire class. Other groups faulted through poor cutting decisions and efficient usage of available resources. In saying that, it is unlikely our structure would have been able to with stand great tensile pressure without simply blowing over. A way to overcome this would be reinforcement at the base, or strengthening of week joints moving up the structure.


Constructing Journal