By: Jeremy Clow
Saturday the 16th came through and provided a worthy day of work for the sophmore architecture students build. As the coordinator for group 6 we organized with three of the members present by 8am to work on site for the whole day. Two platforms of concrete had to be poured for the feet of the bench system. For this we transported a series of tools as well as concrete mix and water to the site. The locaiton of site 6 is approximately half a mile as the crow flies from the closest building, PSO. The PSO building and parking lot is the location for all the material and tool storage as well as offsite construction. Taking the trail system to deliver materials entails a variety of turns, elevation changes, and rough earth. Delivering as many materials in one trip is key to success with the limitations of time available on site. We started with the leveling of two platfroms in the earth to install a prefabricated 2x4 framework to pour the concrete into. The frames had to be placed in precise locations, square with one another as well as level. They also had to be centered for the feet of the bench that is mounted between two posts that hold the roof structure. A series of checks took place throughout the process, moving the bench over the holes many of times and adjusting the location and angle to ensure the pours would be perfect in the end. Afte the earth was level, square, and tamped down we added a light layer of gravel. The framework sets freely above the gravel, with additional gravel placed inside the frame and dirt packed around the outer edges. Next came the cement, mixed in a wheel barrow from 40lb bags and water delivered in 5 gallon buckets. The students were quick to learn mixing anything more than one bag at a time wasn’t worth the effort. Mixing the concrete can be difficult to get the perfect mix of water to aggregate. After a series of trials and mixing opportunities for each of them they had a pretty succesfful system of mixing to installation. The slabs were poured and construction on the signage began. A few minor items had to be completed on the roof systems and structure as well. Lunch was near and the two other participants in group 6 were arriving from previous obligations as well. The team took this opportunity for a return to PSO to regroup, acquire additonal materials, and eat their lunch. After the lunch break we returned to the site and split into two groups. A team of two and I started installing the roof and the reamaning bolts and the main structure. The other three started installing the concrete block bases and signage pieces. The signage has a very simple yet unique design system. Four concrete blocks burried in the earth with just a few inches protrduing hold the 4x4 posts that are attached to the signage. Two posts are mounted between two 2x6 treated boards on each side. The 2x6 boards are also knotched and hold 5 cedar boards that span between the posts. These cedar boards will hold the signage being produced by Touch of Nature. Completing the signage on site was a very difficult process with the earth not being level or flat. This called for a plan of action on site and the installation of the first four blocks, level and square with one another. After this was done each of the four signs wiere constructed on top of the blocks and bolted together. From there each piece was moved to its particular location and the earth was marked for the digging and installation of the concrete blocks at each signage location. The day was drawing to and end so we finished with the construction of the signage pieces and marking of the earth for excavation.