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student works

ons tr u c ti on

A portfolio of student works

K en Mc C ow n

Design Build Project - Object Design This ďŹ ve-week project teaches students project process and project management skills, and construction documentation. Students produce a designed object of a given mass within a $125.00 budget. The project introduces materiality into the design and representation process. Students examine thicknesses and joining of materials; this takes them from single line design drawings into construction documents. Drawings are completed at or near full scale. Drawing becomes a critical inquiry - a means to learn and communicate an idea. No drawings are ‘required,’ the student must decide the scale and view type. The students must investigate material qualities, availability, and costs through talking with suppliers and contractors. Building the project helps them understand where drawings are needed, and the complexities of construction.

Claire Goode - Bookshelf Claire’s final bookshelf benefits from color studies. Although the pink and silver paint complement each other with light refraction, Claire felt the project would contrast too much with her other furnishings and went with a blue color palette based upon gestalt color concepts. She adds homemade ‘ atomic knobs’ to enhance the 1950’s kitsch of the design.

Jim Evans - Landscape Light Prototype Jim decided to examine a prototype, rather than build a finished piece. Without access to diecast technologies due to budget, Jim was forced to create the prototype by assembling pvc and wood with an intricate internal system. The light is to be set into the ground, and popped up slightly by foot pressure. When flush to the ground, a center light shoots straight up, when popped up, the center light shuts off, and the light glows from under the popped up disc.The light needed to be ‘childproof’ and durable. Jim spent several days working out a teflon connection for the moving mechanism. He did not want it to erode over time, and the teflon will resist the wear and tear from the movement. Several students enjoyed jumping up and down on the light. All pictures taken afterwards -it works!

Ezra Willams - Portable Drafting Table Ezra wanted a drafting table he could take with him to sites. He investigates sliding and pinned joints with a prefinished maple plywood. These joint investigations created discoveries for the final piece that allow the table to be disassembled and adjusted rapidly without sacrificing strength.

Mario Benito - Desktop Fountain Desktop fountains challenge students to understand water movement and waterproofing. Mario wanted to challenge exisiting material ideas, and have the fountain be a moving element alon with the water. He used latex to create a series of fountains that could be hung in the air, or transformed in shape by adding tensile force to hooks placed within the structure. In choosing appropriate drawings for construction documentation, Mario selected a ‘how to’ approach, understanding the appeal of the fountain is the individual’s choice of color and shape.

Cast Latex Desktop Fountain : MOLD BUILDER





press rods into large bowl as shown


2 cups latex + 1 drop watercolor

Small Fountain Pump





Large Kidney Shaped Bowl


Liquid Watercolors

Liquid Latex Casting Medium

X 20 Layers


X 20 Layers


remove latex molds from bowls

Small Kidney Shaped Bowl

3, 1/16" Diameter x 12" Length Aluminum Rods



Š Mario Benito LA 532, Landscape Construction and Design. Winter 2004-05 Professor: Kenneth D. McCown

$20.00 $18.00 $7.00 $6.00 $5.00 $2.50

pierce latex molds as shown


pass cord of pump through cut in large latex mold


seal opening x 5 layers

H2 0

Small Fountain Pump Liquid Latex Casting Medium Liquid Water Colors 3, 1/16" Diameter x 12" Length Aluminum Rods Large Kidney Shaped Bowl Small Kidney Shaped Bowl



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place small mold over pump and thread nozzle through opening


flip mold over to cover pump and fill fountain with water




Kim True - Desktop Fountain Each project additionally contains a process board including the construction and documentation of the project. Kim’s board shows the growth of her project from an arc into a tori gate. The shift in form allowed her to engage critical elements of concrete construction, to limit the weight, expose aggregate, and figure out how to pour and fit a concrete to metal connection.

Henry Fleischmann - Desktop Fountain Henry’s project displays the process of material investigation into design form. A major learning goal of the project is for the students to understand the influence of materials from initial design idea into final form. Henry regularly could not find materials and machines he needed to complete the built work to the minimalist aesthetic of his initial study. He had to make several concessions along the design process while still maintaining the integrity of what he wanted to do. He investigated the final appearance of the copper through several studies into manipulating the copper for color effects.

Ana Tabuena Nieves - Bookshelf Ana sought a lightweight, product oriented solution. Budget limited her investigation within just using the foam explored in her study model. To achieve a surface with less friction, she laminated a cheaper foam material. Her bookshelf is shown hanging on a wall, but the item can be freestanding, hung from a ceiling, or placed on the ground and used for both book storage and laying down.

Yarnie Chen - End Table Yarnie chased down a difďŹ cult design. How do you keep and elegant shape, while moving water and casting light? Yarnie’s investigation accomplished a discipline of form versus technique. She remains true to her original form, while moving water from the top of the table to the bottom along the diagonal. She casts light down upon the diagonal water surface at night, creating a moving pattern of dancing light.

“The Mirage” - Spatial Investigation, Modules Week This four-student team reanimated a lifeless campus space, during a four day investigation led by Ken McCown and Russell Rock. The students were required to come up with a concept for their space, in this case, the students felt it was ‘deserted’ and with the play upon words, took the desert motif to the word ‘mirage.’ Each element of the space would dynamically engage the eye, tricking the viewer’s perception of the space. A new ‘ceiling’ on the space of monofilament alternately disappears and reappears, and shifts in pattern upon moving up and down the stairway in the space. It appears to move and twist as crop rows would to the viewer driving through a cornfield. At night, what appears to be a flat plane comes alive as an undulating set of lines. The radial spread of the light from the cans above creates arcs of light on the monofilament that appear to leap over one another as viewers moved through. While knowing the plane was flat, every perception going to the eye informs an undulating and fluctuating surface. Other elements include a set of mirrors, which take the razor thin strands of monofilament, and make them appear as thick as rope when reflected, a woven wall of freezer bags partially filled with water, and a ‘vaselined’ glass wall. The freezer bags were a nod to the host of the courtyard, the School of Food and Nutrition. The bags remain transparent in the morning, but in the afternoon, when the sun hits the wall, the water in the bags fogs and expands them into a quilted surface. The vaselined wall creates a strange set of blurry movements, and strategic removal of the vaseline waxed upon the windows focuses attention of the seated upon the green plants in the space, while blurring the architectural surfaces.

McCown Construction Student Works  

Work completed by students in construction classes