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This week’s activity involved splitting up into small groups of 3 or 4 and doing a competition of who could build a tower to reach the ceiling of the studio. The only material allowed to be used were small timber blocks as seen in the photos on the right. This activity required some prior planning because the towers were to be build under a time constraint so you had to build fast. You also had to build in an economic way because there was only a limited supply of bricks. Our group decided to start with building a small base because to concrete floor is not completely flat. We then decided to build a circular structure where each brick sits on top of the gap between the two below. This leaves a path for the compression forces to reach the ground but also uses fewer bricks. The second photo is a bird’s eye view shot of our tower around 30 minutes into the exercise. You can see that we left a hole in the base structure, and this is too save bricks the structure is build around that central well, and no bricks are ever placed in that central area.

This third photo shows the progress of our tower around half way through the activity. It shows that we have continued to follow our plan of a circular, well structure. But if you look carefully you can see that it does not go up in a straight line, it is bent in some sections. This was not a structural plan, it is because we were building in such a rush that we didn’t concentrate on the straightness of the structure.

Activity Week 1: Compression


This photo is of another group’s structure. It was taken after all groups had run out of bricks, so Mr Arturo decided to use the bricks from the group who had build the smallest tower so the rest of the groups could continue. However before deconstructing this groups tower Mr Arturo showed us how you could repurpose some of the bricks in your own tower to create Arches. The Structure will remain stable if you take the right bricks out, because the compression forces will then be redistributed around the arches to the ground. So as long you construct the arches from the ground up and don’t make them too large the structure will remain stable.

This is a photo of our group’s tower when it had reached my height which is about 1.8m high. We can see that the circular well in the tower is becoming smaller as we got higher, this is because we were in such a rush to reach the ceiling that we were no longer carefully placing the bricks. So every brick that was placed was inches closer to the centre of the structure, so the well in the middle was getting smaller. The last photo here shows the finished tower. Notice that we finished closing in our tower which worked well for placing that spire on the top. The spire was not structural necessary, it was placed there in the final couple minutes of the activity to try and make our tower the highest out of all the groups, and i am happy to say that it was. Also note the arch down the bottom which was made so we could have the extra bricks to build that spire on the top.



Activity week 1