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CONSTRUCTING ENVIRONMENTS MITCHELL SU | STUDENT ID No. 660192 | SEMESTER 2/2013


CONTENTS

Week One

1

Week Two

4

Week Three

10

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WEEK ONE compression


BLOCK TOWER CONSTRUCTION

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THE TASK OF THIS WEEK WAS TO USE INDIVIDUAL WOODEN BLOCKS TO CREATE THE TALLEST TOWER POSSIBLE. THE TOWER HAD TO INCLUDE AN OPENING AT THE BASE TO ACCOMMODATE THE MOVEMENT OF A FIGURINE INTO THE BUILDING. THE CHOICE OF CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM FOR THE TOWER CHOSEN IN THE GROUP WAS SHEER WALL MASONRY. 1. FIRST LAYER/THE BASE The base is constructed with the bricks set on the surface with the most area and stacked like a brick wall in a circular arrangement. An opening is left for the entrance and joint at the top like an arch. 2. SECOND LAYER Higher up the tower, the layers begin tapering in slightly and then the arrangement of the bricks is also changed to create a lighter masonry arrangement. 3. THIRD LAYER Later on the arrangement is changed again to create a lighter structure. This is done by placing the bricks on the thinnest side and increasing the gap between the two blocks. 4. FOURTH LAYER/THE SPIRE At the very top, a slender spire is added at the top to continue the tapered form and is purely for aesthetic purposes.

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An arch was used for the entrance as it was most stable. The load from the tower walls above are spread downwards by the arch.

Changes in brick arrangement create a less dense structure, reducing overall compressive load at the base.

The tower tapers inwards to a more narrow point as it goes higher to further reduce compressive load at the base and reduce the effect of lateral forces on the tower.

A circular building profile ensures an even spread in the load distribution of the tower as no point is significantly further from the core of the tower

If the bricks were placed too far apart, the blocks would have started to warp and shearing would have begun to occur, compromising the structure.

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OPTIMIZING BRICK USAGE My group was told by the tutor that it was physically possible to remove 25% of the bricks used to create the tower without ruining the structural integrity of the tower. This was because the approximately 25% of the tower’s bricks are in reality deadweight and hold no structural role in the tower.

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As shown in the photos, the bricks were progressively removed in a slow manner without damaging the tower. However, once we tried to remove the bricks at a faster rate, the physical disturbance caused by this compromised the integrity of the tower and hence fell down.

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WEEK TWO frame


FRAME TOWER CONSTRUCTION

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THIS WEEK’S TASK WAS TO USE A FRAME CONSTRUCTION PROCESS INSTEAD OF MASS CONSTRUCTION TO BUILD A TOWER. THIS INVESTIGATED THE DISTRIBUTION OF LOAD-BASED STRESS AND STRAIN. ALTHOUGH I WAS NOT PRESENT, I SHALL BE USING ANOTHER GROUP’S EXAMPLES. THEIR TOWER REACHED A HEIGHT 2-3 METERS IN HEIGHT. The towers were constructed using 40 pieces of balsa wood that could be cut and used in any way with adhesive to create a tower. The frame construction used a tubular design like in modern skyscraper construction to maximize the materials available. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

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Base construction Adding the first vertical columns and braces Second and third row of columns Second layer of braces Third layer of braces Spire construction Topping off tower


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A triangular base evenly distributes compressive forces at the base whilst remaining rigid as each side/point is equidistant and have equal strength.

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1. The cross beams are also in a triangular arrangement to reduce torsion. 2. The individual beams are joined together using a hot glue gun which creates a rigid joint. 7

1. Load from point reaches first tier of bracing. 2. Load from pinnacle and bracing transferred to vertical member. 3. Refer above. 4. Cross beams distribute load and reduce torsion.


OBSERVATIONS 1

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The tower at the spire point is beginning to show signs of giving way and deformation and will soon give way at the weakest point of the tower. 3

The deficiency of horizontal members in the frame’s design makes it susceptible to torsion and deformation from lateral forces. As a result the tower begins to lose its linear shape as it goes higher up

As predicted the tower does eventually fall under its weight, breaking at one of the adhesive joints between the pieces of wood as it would be the weakest point of the structure.

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By adding a diagonal brace and more even spacing of cross beams, the effect of lateral forces and deformation can be negated as a result of a more rigid structure.

The joints in the design were not particularly stable as they balsa wood pieces were haphazardly placed adjacent to each other.

Another group’s tower used small diagonal braces at joints to increase stability but this has limited benefit compared to creating a span from corner to corner.

As to the photo on the left, like with the other group, the joints could have been more carefully thought out to reduce deformation from lateral forces

Sheets of paper were placed on the top of beams bracing the tower to test their resilience to disturbance and observe whether they would hold up still.


WEEK THREE out and about


OVAL PAVILION CONSTRUCTION SITE 4 3

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POTENTIAL CONSTRUCTION CONSTRAINTS - Rehabilitation augmentation of older structure utilities LINKS TO OTHER BUILDINGS - Segment of previous on-site structure 11

CONSTRUCTION TYPE - Concrete brick masonry basement - In-situ concrete structures STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS - Older structures rehabilitated with more modern components

- Newer segment is constructed with concrete slabs poured on site MATERIALS - In-situ concrete - Steel - Concrete blocks

- Plastic membrane - Timber


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1. Wooden frame to hold concrete during drying process 2. Excavation for utility services. 3. Reinforced concrete for future retaining wall and capping on rebar as safety measure.

1. Existing structure to be retained. 2. Construction of newer structure. 3. Restoration and addition of stumps to existing structure to create level elevation with new structure.

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3 2 1. Waterproof membrane to protect from corroding forces from local water table and soil. 2. Gravel fill from excavation work for basement facilities.

1. Rebar ends for basement masonry wall work. 2. Waterproof membrane between floors. 3. Concrete block masonry work. 12


CASE STUDY SITE VISIT

ORMOND THEOLOGY RECEPTION CENTER POTENTIAL CONSTRUCTION CONSTRAINTS - Interruption of foundations of older surrounding structures LINKS TO OTHER BUILDINGS - Older sandstone building (chapel) CONSTRUCTION TYPE - Steel I-Beam frame construction - Glass curtain walls are not load bearing - Parts of roof are cantilevered STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS - Box gutter inside roof to wash water/rain away MATERIALS - Concrete (In-situ and precast) - Steel I-Beams - Glass 13

QUEENS COLLEGE LABORATORY EXTENSION POTENTIAL CONSTRUCTION CONSTRAINTS - Type to enter text LINKS TO OTHER BUILDINGS - Older section of the laboratory CONSTRUCTION TYPE - Precast concrete shell - Held together by an interior timber frame STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS - Concrete panels are non-load bearing - Timber frame holds panels together and supports roof MATERIALS - Precast concrete - Timber - Alum/tin

MSLE BUILDING POTENTIAL CONSTRUCTION CONSTRAINTS - Differing soil subsidence rates between structures LINKS TO OTHER BUILDINGS - Three separate buildings - Interconnected through middle segment

EASTERN PRECINCT STUDENT CENTER POTENTIAL CONSTRUCTION CONSTRAINTS - Differing soil subsidence rates between structures - Built on top of existing structure LINKS TO OTHER BUILDINGS - ERC and Doug McDonell building

CONSTRUCTION TYPE - Beams traverse gap between two buildings - Cladding to protect from elements

CONSTRUCTION TYPE - Custom steel beams built off existing structures

STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS - Wall material is same as roof material

STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS - Prefabricated structures inside - Beams are bent at the midpoint

MATERIALS - Steel - Aluminium - Concrete

MATERIALS - Steel - Glass - Timber - Concrete


ORMOND THEOLOGY RECEPTION CENTER

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1. Supporting steel column of frame structure (load bearing). 2. Glass brick curtain wall (non-load bearing).

Metal screen panelling is used to decrease sunlight and elements exposure in the undercover area.

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The reception center uses a frame construction to hold up the roof. Other elements are (glass wall, cladding), are merely decorative.

1. In-situ rendered concrete pillars hold up the roof along with the steel I-Beam frame. 2. Glass curtain wall. 14


QUEENS LABORATORY EXTENSION 1

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1. Existing structure. 2. Restored brickwork

1. Existing structure. 2. Extension work. 3. In-situ concrete work. 4. Precast concrete panel walls (non load-bearing)

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4 1. Roof held up with timber joists. Load spread across and down to internal timber frame. 2. Timber frame both load bearing and scaffold for precast concrete shell. 15

1. Existing structure (masonry construction). 2. Extension work. 3. Steel structural poles. 4. In-situ concrete floor slab.


EASTERN PRECINCT STUDENT CENTER

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1 The beams are spaced evenly from each other and serve an aesthetic purpose internally

1. Steel I-beams distribute load of canopy onto adjacent structures. 2. Existing structures before redevelopment serve as vertical members in load distribution.

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1. Crossbeam. 2. Existing structure before redevelopment. 3. Exterior ceiling cladding.

Wood cladding elements filter sun through the skylight to reduce exposure.

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MSLE BUILDING

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1. Walkway between existing structures (potentially holding a load bearing cross beams). 2. Exposed ventilation pipes from existing structure

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Steel beams cantilevered off existing brick wall for walkway.

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CROSS - BEA M

The cross beams use the existing structures as vertical support with load distributed onto them. Cladding has been used to hide their appearance. 17

1. Existing refurbished structures. 2. Fireproof wall layer (most likely concrete and load bearing). 3. Original brick masonry wall facade.


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Constructing Environments Journal Interim Submission 1  
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