March 26th, 2014 (Again): A Night Of Celebration!

To celebrate a job well done, the students joined together tonight to have the inaugural fire in the new gathering structure. The fire glowed from within the space, as the students sat together enjoying good food, good drinks, and good company. It was a spectacular night!

The night photographs of the structure turned out exactly, if not better, than the initial concept renders. And, more importantly, the community response to the finished structure has been overwhelmingly positive! The students couldn’t have wished for a better result!

Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported the students throughout the course of the project. From all of the baked goods, to the lending of tools, to the transfer of advice and knowledge – it has all been tremendously appreciated! Thank you!

The students are looking forward to utilizing the new gathering space with the village community over the coming days and to the final celebrations on Monday!

The warm glow of the fire coming through the perforations

The warm glow of the fire coming through the perforations

The warm glow of the fire coming through the perforations

The warm glow of the fire coming through the perforations

The completed structure glowing against the evening sky!

The completed structure glowing against the evening sky!

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March 26th, 2014: The Final Details – Landscape + Fire Pit + Oiling

It was an exciting day on site today – today marked the final day of the project! The students worked hard over the past weeks, putting in long hours and days, to finish in time. Luckily, the students finished 5 days ahead of schedule and now have a bit of time to enjoy the new gathering space with the community.

But to get to the point of completion today, the students had a busy day working on the final details of the project – landscaping, finishing off the fire pit, and giving the whole structure one final coat of oil.

The landscaping material selected for the gathering space is a Fleurieu dolomite, which is both a local material and the material that used on the pathway network throughout the village. It was for these two reasons, as well as its durability over time, that the students selected the dolomite as the material of choice for the landscaping.

And after lifting the fire pit into its final position at the center of the new gathering space, the students completed it with a layering of rocks and stones in between the two rusted steel rings. The rocks consist of a series of larger stones, a medium aggregate, and a finishing topping of multi-colored Tooperang river stones local to the area.Tooperang stones are an ancient river pebble and come from a sand quarry between Mount Compass and Goolwa on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The fire pit turned out beautifully, and will definitely be a central feature of the new space!

And as a last measure of detail, the students applied a final coat of water-based decking oil to the structure to ensure adequate protection over the coming months and years. The oil will have to be reapplied regularly over the course of the structure’s lifetime, but for now it is protected and ready to be passed over to the community.

The final day of construction is always a bittersweet one, filled with overwhelming elation to finish the project but also a little bit of natural sadness at knowing the project has come to an end – that must be a good sign of a positive project outcome! Whatever the case, the students are proud of their accomplishment and are looking forward to handing over the project to the community. The students will be assessed on their work on Monday, March 31st, 2014, and afterwards there will be a celebration with the village community. Everyone is welcome!

The Fleurieu dolomite arrives on site

The Fleurieu dolomite arrives on site

Shoveling in the stones for the fire pit

Shoveling in the stones for the fire pit

Filling the fire pit with stones

Filling the fire pit with stones

 

Hannah removes the stake that is at the center of everything!

Hannah removes the stake that is at the center of everything!

The completed project

The completed project

The completed project - looking inside

The completed project – looking inside

The completed project - blending into the landscape

The completed project – blending into the landscape

The completed project against the sky at sunset

The completed project against the sky at sunset

March 25th, 2014: Take A Seat

For the past two days the students have been busy constructing the final element of the new gathering space – the bench seating. A simple, clean assembly of cypress pine decking slats and timbers were used for the construction of the bench, which ties in nicely with the material language and design quality of the rest of the structure.

The bench seating sits along the inside of four panels on both gestures, forming an offset, yet circular seating arrangement around the fire pit – a welcoming place for gathering!

The construction of the bench seating proved quite meticulous for the students, as all of the slats had to be individually mitered to the exact angle of the supports and panels, the edges beveled by hand, and the supports constructed and secured exactly in the right place. It was definitely an exercise in precision construction – but one that resulted in a beautiful, level, and most importantly sturdy bench!

The students also worked to level the ground in and around the gathering space, ensuring a comfortable level for seating, but also prepping the site for the landscape treatment to come.

Jesse testing the structural integrity of the bench supports

Jesse testing the structural integrity of the bench supports

Bench seating- complete!

Bench seating- complete!

Close-up of the bench seating

Close-up of the bench seating

Leveling the ground - an important element in comfortable seating!

Leveling the ground – an important element in comfortable seating!

The tried-and-tested 'double man' rolling technique - that, or an act in the circus!

The tried-and-tested ‘double man’ rolling technique – that, or an act in the circus!

 

March 23rd, 2014: The Walls Are Up!

Just keep building, just keep building, just keep building…..

After a busy day of construction, the last panels were screwed in to place completing the form of the two gestures. The sense of space is really becoming apparent now – and we love it!

In the coming days, we will be working hard towards building in the bench seating, placing the fire pit, and working on the landscaping. We’re on schedule for a wonderful celebration with the community on Monday, March 31st. Hope to see you all there!

 

The panels of the two gestures are all in!

The panels of the two gestures are all in!

March 20th, 2014: Leaving Our Mark

It’s been a busy week on site. Lots has been changing and happening, and now the gathering space is beginning to emerge as a proper and permanent space. Thank you to everyone for all of the support over the past weeks; from snacks every day, to tool lending, to words of advice and encouragement, it is all greatly appreciated!

Today the remaining posts were leveled, braced, and concreted in place. Over the next days, the concrete will dry and cure, fixing the structure permanently in place. Today also marked the last day of cutting panels on the CNC machine.

The students decided to leave their mark in the concrete, all signing their names into the concrete at the base of one of the posts. See if you can find it when you come visit the new gathering space!

 

Lifting a panel into place

Lifting a panel into place

Shoveling concrete into the post holes

Shoveling concrete into the post holes

Snack break!

Snack break!

 

The CNC machine working on the last panel

The CNC machine working on the last panel

 

The last panel coming out of the CNC machine

The last panel coming out of the CNC machine

March 19th, 2014: Ready, Set…First Panels Go In!

The new gathering space is beginning to come together – construction has officially started!

After one last thorough measure of the site, the bottom of each of the holes was leveled in preparation for the placement of the first panels. Three panels were placed on either end of the two sweeping gestures and were leveled and secured in place with a mixture of clamps and stakes.

The three end panels, which sit independent of one another, were placed first to allow for some ‘trial and error’ in the beginning stages of the construction process, as these panels afforded the most tolerance to slight deviations in placement. Luckily, the ‘trial’ process didn’t lead to a whole lot of ‘error’, and the panels were placed right on target.

With the panels placed, and everything checked over one last time, the first concrete was poured into the holes to secure the posts in place. As the concrete was being poured, the sense of reality of the project began to intensify for the students, and a general feeling of “it’s really happening now” ended up being the lasting memory of the day!

Measuring, measuring, and more measuring....one last time!

Measuring, measuring, and more measuring….one last time!

Placing the first panels; a process of leveling and bracing

Placing the first panels; a process of leveling and bracing

March 17th, 2014: More Prepping + Sanding

A lot of work goes into properly preparing the materials used in the construction of a project. Despite the light rain showers, students still managed to finish oiling the wood and applying a layer of eco-friendly bitumen paint to the bases of the cypress timber posts. The bitumen paint will help to protect the posts from moisture and other damaging elements in the ground, while the oil on the surface woods will help to mitigate weather and sun damage over time.

Students also had a group sanding party in the afternoon, working together in the shed to clean up the edges of the newly cut panels coming out of the CNC machine. Team work really pays off!

Timber posts taped off for a  coat of eco-friendly bitumen paint

Timber posts taped off for a coat of eco-friendly bitumen paint

Applying the eco-friendly bitumen paint to the bases of the timber posts

Applying the eco-friendly bitumen paint to the bases of the timber posts

Group sanding party - cleaning up the newly cut plywood panels!

Group sanding party – cleaning up the newly cut plywood panels!

Team meeting in the shed

Team meeting in the shed