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The tower construction task in this week’s tutorial provoked us to generate a ‘construction system’ and design ideas while abiding by the guidelines of the brief and its requirements.

Wood block tower (2011)

BREAKDOWN OF OUR GROUP ‘CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM’ EMPLOYED First created a solid outer structure, the three walls of the tower, using a brick laying method of building the blocks.

Back wall

Two side walls

BREAKDOWN OF OUR GROUP ‘CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM’ EMPLOYED The structure of the roof was achieved through ‘trial and error’ until we settled upon using two rubber bands to hold 6-8 blocks per beam. The rubber bands were essential in the making of the roof as they allowed the blocks to be suspended over the walls preventing collapse.

Two rubber bands per beam used for compression, hence suspending the roof.

BREAKDOWN OF OUR GROUP ‘CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM’ EMPLOYED We continued to extend the tower over the roof (continuing the previous walls) which technically transformed the roof into a floor.

Continuation of wall on top of roof

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TWO WALL STRUCTURE The roof was now situated between two walls on opposing ends epitomising the concept of compression. This was the most fundamental component of our structural design as we had fulfilled the aim of the task by directly applying compression to the roof from opposite ends providing reinforcement. This is called uniaxial compression.

Observation: Two directly opposed walls apply compression to the roof stabilising and allowing it to support weight (water bottle).

The roof is situated between the two directly opposed walls.

The red arrows display that this is uniaxial compression.

Uniaxial compression diagram.


It is apparent these structures did not involve uniaxial compression, in terms of the roof, as the roofs of each tower are placed upon the walls with no continuation of mass on top.

EFFICIENCY OF MATERIAL The blocks although seemingly unstable worked efficiently in supporting direct weight when constructed in a stable tower like form. However distributed weight implied would most probably have led to the collapse of many of the groups towers. Without the rubber bands the roofs would not have been able to be constructed which can be a constriction as it leaves very little room for design alternatives.

NOTE ON THE ROOF STRUCTURE Although our roof served quite efficiently under directly applied weight (due to uniaxial compression from the walls) it could have been strengthened by the use of more rubber bands forming a raft like structure, similar to the roof below (of one of the groups towers).

Multiple rubber bands help support a raft like solid structure.

WHAT IS DEFORMATION? Defined as “The act or process of deforming” (2013) under the dictionary which does not give us much of an idea of what it is. However its definition under the label of Physics is “An alteration of shape, as by pressure or stress” (2013). This second definition can be expanded upon in the field of construction as it mentions and directly labels the structures involved in deformation. Uniaxial compression tests use the measurement of deformation of the specimens in order to test compressive strength (2013). Hence compression and deformation are closely related aspects.

REFERENCES Farlex 2013, The Free Dictionary, Pennsylvania viewed 5 August 2013, <> O Sokalska, Dreamtime, Ukraine viewed 7 August 2013, <> SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden 2013, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Sweden viewed 7 August 2013, <>

Studio Journal Week 1  

Constructing Environments Studio Journal Week 1 University of Melbourne

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