Thursday, 30 August 2012

Thesis part V

Final part of the thesis I'm sure you'll be glad to read! This final building looks at a small shelter being constructed on the side of a mountain in the Mournes. (Named eagle mountain in fact, which I think is pretty cool!) The design focuses on transportability and convenience of erection on a complicated site. The shelter is cellular in nature, providing only the most basic protection from the wind and rain. In this sense seeking shelter here is more about the experience of the transit through the harsh conditions rather than anything to do with comfort.

Like all the shelters the ambition would be to have a team of 6 people be able to successfully erect one of these buildings in a matter of days, the dimensions and weights of the materials used can be comfortably carried by one / two people and the detailing and jointing are not doing any fancy engineering acrobatics (fancy as the suspension system may seem here in the third shelter.. I'll talk more about it below.) Numerous modular repetitions of these cellular structures can find places to rest on the mountain side based on how popular these sites become in the future.

In some ways this is the most ambitious of the three shelters, it's certainly in the most challenging site for one thing. However the aesthetic condition of this building differs from the others too.. the traditional policy of blending into and syncing with the existing landscape that is prevalent in the Doan shelter is not really seen here. Instead the intention is that the building announces its presence clearly and from some distance away - Think the spark of colour of an oasis in a desert. Not quite as extreme in wee Northern Ireland but you get the idea. The white EPDM plastic finish stands out in strong contrast against the dull granite of the mountainside, inviting people to journey towards the building and explore the architecture and engineering technology.

This invitation to explore the machinations of the building is actually quite important. The physical straps that brace the building against prevailing winds (details seen below) are actually in need of human adjustment during the changing seasons. The tensions of the bracing fluctuate between the different heat conditions from winter to summer time. It's accepted that nobody in their right mind will be going near this thing in the winter time.. in this way the white EPDM finish would blend quite successfully with the snow covered mountain during the winter, the whole building essentially becomes camouflaged during the time of year when it would be dangerous to climb towards it.. and reveals itself again as conditions improve and the snow melts away.

Well I'll not blather on any longer on a scheme that, again, is probably easiest realised through looking at the images.. so here they are. I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into some of the thesis process I wasted months of my life on!

These final images are rough sketches showing the journey to the Eagle mountain site.

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