Clem explaining the structure of the building to the music teacher, her husband and friend

04.04.15 | visit from the structural engineer

The fifth and sixth days of the Visiting School have been written up by Giulio Ammendola, an Innovation Design Engineering student at the RCA:

The past couple of days at Grymsdyke Farm have been a great mix of clay forming, wood cutting and engineering tests.  While a few people kept feeding the hungry CNC machine with fresh timber in order to produce more lattice pieces for the structure, a substantial group of us started filtering and preparing the clay for the tiles – we have lots to make! The aim is to have enough tiles to be arranged on a panel, to then review each design judging aesthetics, strength and functionality. Although some of the processes could sometimes become a bit repetitive, I think this is the special moment when you start seeing things really coming together. We have now finished enough timber parts to assemble the first segment of the wall and all the clay moulds for the tiles are finished – some are already set and drying… the kiln is waiting for them! (wow. as I was checking for the correct spelling I just discovered that the word ‘kiln’ comes from the old english ‘cylene’, from Latina ‘Culina’.. basically kitchen, cooking stove. Our plans of using the kiln for Pizzas doesn’t seem so wrong anymore!). 

The structural engineer  joined us on Friday and answered all the questions we had in regards to how to prepare, screw and bolt together the joints of the structure. There are many different interesting tricks he suggested that should make the assembly job much easier. It was very nice to see how hands-on engineers can be! It reminded me of the engineering process as described by one of my tutors Aran Dasan, where Execution, Analysis and Process can simply be replaced by “Make it” and “Break it”. 

After a delicious lunch very kindly cooked by the music teacher Fiona, Steve and Clem went to survey the site. There are still a few decisions to be made before starting the assemblage, which will most probably happen tomorrow.

The farm feels like a constantly active place where everyone is in the workshop working on something (that includes the robot!), while tea breaks and dinners are the perfect occasion for exchanging stories and recommendation about schools, courses and cool things around the world: a week ago we were all in different places doing all sorts of different things and this place already feels like home (…my non architectural background was also pretty well accepted! ssshh maybe they forgot, don’t tell anybody!)