Wednesday, 1 October 2014

My very first assignment as a student of architectural technology

Yesterday we've been introduced to our module and assignments, the very first assignments is named 'Span the gap'. Prior to the introduction we were introduced to second year students who have been delegated to guide us through this assignment.

My group consists of myself, Pedro and Dieudonne as the first year students guided by Rhia, Doug and Sophie who are the second year students. Right after we formed out team we were introduced to the brief. Our aim is to build an element spanning the distance of 1.5m, the challenge however came in a form of the materials available, we were given material which must be used to build the construction, right away we figured that it will be pretty difficult to make the construction as the brief states clearly that no other materials or adhesives can be incorporated into the project. 

Right after getting to know the assignment we decided to do a brain storm of our individual ideas which we then reflected on as a group. My initial idea was to create a platform which would have been supported by the foam board which was positioned vertically underneath the deck. My group have considered my design as strong however the was an issue associated to how I was going attach the pieces of foam board. So right away after yesterdays group chat I knew the strengths and weaknesses of my idea. Main pro of my design was the fact that I positioned the supporting foam board pieces vertically so that it has higher resistance to tension and is a lot less flexible. Doug and Dieudonne have also introduced our group to their approach, Doug's design was concerned with arches and foam board engineering whereas Dieudonnes idea was to create an A frame to spread the dead load of the construction onto the tables. 

 On the left you see Dieudonnes innitial idea in regards to the structure of the element. The main concern we had with the idea was the height of the brace as its the location where the weight would be placed for testing purposes. Sophie suggested that we make the cuts on the ends of the construction which will help the design to spread its own load as well as any other (loads of the weights) the whole construction would be in a lot of stress during the testing.  There was also an issue of how the two separate pieces will be attached and how wide they have to be spread out in order to span the gap.
 Almost right away Doug had an idea in his head, one that was very technical as well as functional. He had researched various bridges and the technique which was applied in order to build them. His idea was based around the arches. The initial design had a very promising touch to it, we all knew right away that this was going to be the first idea we would try out the next day the moment we say his technical drawings. When I saw the drawings at first I wasn't convinced that the design would be able to take a lot of stress as I was aware that the gap would stretch the design, it would be impossible to make the construction that high and long with given materials. Another thing that I have noticed was that the arches drop down a little, we were given specific measurements which state how low we can go and how much into the tables we can put our construction. It was hard to see the idea in reality as the drawings were not to scale, but it was a promising start and we were going to discuss it in the morning right away.
This is my design that I've tried to make up to scale although some elements are a little over exaggerated in terms of their scale, just so I can display the details to others. My influence came from the book "Introduction to architectural technology" its first few pages explained how different techniques can be applied in order to achieve increased tensions resistance. I pretty much imagined the bottom elements to be like I beams, supporting the construction of buildings. It was my very first thought although I was being ambitious, the main problem was with connecting the pieces of foam. 

We have all been added to a Facebook group chat through which we talked about our project, it was a good way to present our ideas before we came in the next day to build the element.