Archive for September, 2009

The Barrel on site

September 26, 2009

So I chose Birrarung Marr for the site of this obstacle. I wanted to put this in clear view so people could see it from different angles. It’s along a main path…but I didn’t want to block the path or make people walk around the obstacle. That’s why I decided to go with an obstacle that could be approached from different directions.

The obstacle can also be approached from the back. There is a large hill that nobody really walks down. So I figured this could be used by bike riders to gain speed. The ramps at the back of obstacle can only be ridden by BMX bikes as it is grassy and skaters can’t ride over grass.

There is a seat at the front of the obstacle. It’s facing the river and can people can sit alongside the path. It’s not intended to be skated and is protected by an upward lip that prevents skateboards from flying over and hitting pedestrians.

Front view of the barrel wave at Birrarung Marr

Front view of the barrel wave at Birrarung Marr

Side view showing BMX biker ridng over the spine ramp (approaches from the hill)

Side view showing BMX biker ridng over the spine ramp (approaches from the hill)

I’ll need to change some curves as you can see in the side elevation. The curves are too steep behind the seating area. The scale also needs to be changed as well. I will be making these minor changes in CAD. A concrete foundation is also needed.

The Barrel Wave

September 26, 2009

After making lots of smaller wire mesh and clay models, it was time to play around with scale. The scale was going to be crucial in terms of the functionality to the design. It also determined WHO used it and how experienced they were. I’m making this object for people with 3 different skill levels, so I had to control certain parts of the design. The obstacle can be approached in 3 different directions according to skill level and according to your mode of transport; skateboard, BMX bike, roller blades and scooter.

My research and design development stages have involved the beach in some way or form. The sand, the water, the lifestyle also. Skateboarding also evolved from surfing in the 1950’s and was called “Sidewalk surfing”. So it was very appropriate to add some surfing FLAVOUR to my design. I was inspired by the barrel surfers went through and so i wanted to incorporate this in to my form design somehow. I want to achieve the same feeling surfers get as they are riding through a “barrel”- a big wave.

I also want it to have that aesthetic of an old drain pipe. Skaters like to find spots that aren’t meant to be skated. That’s what makes it an authentic street skate.  So check these following images and i’ll let the design speak for itself.

Barrel Wave

Barrel Wave

http://escapetheokiezone.com/uploaded_images/barrel-736497.jpg

Drain Pipe Skate

Drain Pipe Skate

http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://www.power-skate.com/skate05/images/stories/2006/JoshEvin_FullPipeTransfer.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.power-skate.com/skate05/index.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26task%3Dview%26id%3D79%26Itemid%3D45&usg=__jo9-RBXkGNLxcv_Dg74pvXa9wjQ=&h=548&w=670&sz=92&hl=en&start=14&um=1&tbnid=Zut4Wepb0RUk_M:&tbnh=113&tbnw=138&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfull%2Bpipe%2Bskating%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26um%3D1

Air dry clay & wire mesh backing

Air dry clay & wire mesh backing

blog clay2

blog clay3

Boyme Partners – Casting metal

September 26, 2009

Scale models made by Constantin and Laurene Leon Boym. These were part of The Buildings of Disaster project.

I like the detail of the models and the textures (created intentionally and intentionally.)

Ide like to use a similar casting technique for my second concept. Wave ramp.

Picture 16

Check this link for more Boym &  Constantin photos of models. And to find out what these models are about.

flexi mould not so flexi.

September 26, 2009

I tried to make another model out of plaster of paris. I made sure I sealed the bottom of the mould completely this time. I poured the plaster into the mould fine and left it for a 2 days to set. The trouble started when I tried to take the Aluminium mould off.

There were 3 problems-

  1. The plaster mould wasn’t thick enough. The object im casting needs to be done on a bigger scale (at least 1:2) with a wall thickness of at least 60mm. The walls I made were way too thin. At some points the wall thickness was less than 5mm. A slight knock and it crumbled.
  2. The 0.3mm Aluminium wasn’t flexible enough so I had to pull it off with force causing the plaster to crumble.  Aluminium has the strength to hold its self upright, but it’s not flexible enough to fold back on itself like a sheet of paper or fabric. A rubber sheet would be ideal for a mould. See the video below titled “bending concrete”  and you will see what I mean with the flexible mould.
  3. Too much water in the plaster. It was slightly soft to touch after 2 days of drying. Maybe the cold weather slowed down the drying process too.

I’m still confident that this process can work but I think it just needs to be done on a larger scale. Stronger materials and thicker walls.

1 minute after being poured

1 minute after being poured

Some parts came out of the mould alright. They were about 10mm thick and had very smooth surfaces. They are the 2 larger chunks you can see below).

The remaining parts are scattered on the lawn.

blog plaster2

I had a feeling this wouldn’t work on a small scale from the start. But I had to try anyways. And at least I know what to do if I ever try this on a large scale. I will be making my 1:1 scale prototype out of different materials anyways because it needs to be transportable. Concrete would be great for the street sculpture but it won’t be suitable for the graduate exhibition.

Plaster of paris & flexible moulds

September 4, 2009

After seeing pro’s making sand castles and learning about the Pound-up process. I thought it would be good to use the same process to cast my concrete product. I stumbled across a picture of a guy using a vinyl sheet to build sand up vertically. I have never found that image again. And I cant find anything else on the net where they use this vinyl sheet. Although you can’t make any undercuts… I think it’s still the best way to achieve complex curves with concrete. Because it’s a liquid, you’re normally limited to the shape of your mould because of gravity. So why not turn the mould on its side and pour it in from the top. The rebar can still be placed in the centre of the mould. Once the concrete dries you can remove the mould and flip the finished product on its feet.

I had some plaster of paris and some aluminium left over from my previous models. I couldn’t help myself. I had to try it out.

This shape comes from a clay model I made a few weeks ago- the shape was modified by a skater (see skate participant #1 blog post).

Aluminium mould

Aluminium mould- mock up

clay was used to seal the bottom of the mould

clay was used to seal the bottom of the mould

Note to self…Clay will not seal the bottom of the mould! Next time use gladwrap and sitcky tape.

Pouring Plaster of paris in to the mould

Pouring Plaster of paris in to the mould

Here is a clip I found on youtube that uses a flexible mould. Its interesting to see what is possible with a liquid material. Notice the foam-like flexilbe mould being used on a horizontal surface. Non-stick!

Skate Terminology

September 4, 2009

If you think I’m talking gibberish and its hard to follow me. Click the link below for a list of skateboard terminology. I’ll try to keep things as simple as possible.

Here are some general terms, tricks and equipment-

http://everything2.com/title/basic+skateboard+terminology

Next week- user participation #2

September 4, 2009

After categorising skaters’ skill levels, I still wasn’t sure how I could translate this into physical design. I needed some actual data that could help give me direction with my form design. So I’ve come up with these variables:

  1. Obstacle height- Low, medium, high
  2. Obstacle steepness- Shallow slope, medium slope, vertical and over-vert.  (curved transition and flat banks)
  3. Speed- How fast the skater riding.

Next Tuesday I’ll be going to an indoor skate park called the ‘Ring of Fire’. I’ll get my friends to skate a series of obstacles and I will be measuring their performance. I would class them as Intermediate level skaters. They have been skating for at least 5 years now. I roughly know how high and how far a beginner can jump (Ollie) on flat ground; about 180mm high and  800mm in length moving at average speed. I’ve calculated average skating speed to be 14 km/ph or 4 meters per second. (That is 3 times average human walking speed).

  • I’ll be measuring how far they can ride up a ramp.
  • How steep the ramp is.
  • Ill measure how far they can jump on flat ground.
  • I’ll take note of how fast they need to travel to complete these tricks. What kind of assistance is needed to generate the speed?
Here are the participants- Eye on the prize

Here are the participants- Eye on the prize

Here is the skatepark i'll get them to skate- 'Ring of Fire'

Here is the skatepark they'll be shredding- 'Ring of Fire'

Coping on top of a quater pipe ramp.

Coping rails on top of a quarter pipe ramp.

This is a video showing these professional skaters building a portable ramp and putting it against a wall to skate. This is a massive amount of vert (vertical ramp section) that can only be done by extremely skilled skaters.

Here is an experienced skater doing some tricks. See the difference in size of the vert. Also notice how they have used quick-setting concrete (aka. quickcrete) to make a ramp out of a standard road barrier.

Site analysis

September 4, 2009

So the two sites I chose to study were Birrarung Marr and Flagstaff gardens. These locations were chosen in first semester as they were actually declared ‘skate safe’ zones by Melbourne City council. The first site (Birrarung Marr) is located just behind Federation Square. The riverside views attract tourists and other visitors. This means that I am more likely to design an obstacle that is sculptural in form. It does not need to be recognised as a piece of seating. If there is nobody skating it then I believe people would see it as a piece artistic sculpture that can be climbed on, sat on, and slid down.  Surprisingly there are little/ no recreational sports happening in this park.

There were a few locations in the park that I took photos of and analysed. These were the main criteria that should be met:

  1. Should be a relatively flat site uninterrupted by poles, trees and other obstructions.
  2. Should have a decent size run-up (preferably already concreted).
  3. Needs to be an area with few pedestrians walking, cycling, jogging past.
  4. Needs to have a safe distance between the river, roads, playgrounds.

As I was walking through the park I realised that there were 2 suitable sites connected by a downhill ramp. I had assumed I was going to use a single site with a flat surface. This means I could install 2 obstacles and skaters will be able to set up a “run” (A series of tricks). And because of the downward slope it means they can use little effort when skating between obstacles (No pushing = easy skate).

Main path through Birrarung Marr- Red zone is experienced skaters and yellow for Intermediate.

Main path through Birrarung Marr- Red zone is experienced skaters and yellow for Intermediate.

Main path looking at experienced skate zone.

Main path looking at experienced skate zone.

Flagstaff Gardens is the second site. I was analysing it using the same set of criteria. The park is a lot more structured and feels like it is maintained regularly by personnel. The north side of the park is closest to the apartments and other housing facilities. It has been designed for recreational purpose. It has a tennis court, basketball court, a large lawn bowls course, and a children’s playground. It has a relaxed atmosphere where people can sit on the grass and have a picnic or do other recreational activities. It is also opposite to the Victoria Market.

The South side of the park is facing the business buildings. There are only public seats and bins. People pass by quickly. Because it is in such a “business” district it is well maintained and looked after. This park is less about design and more about function and efficiency. There are at least 12 pathways that intercept each other, connecting every corner of the park. This makes travel times faster when walking. The park also slopes downwards from North to south. This means I will be able to set up a range of obstacles on different paths so that skaters can choose their own direction depending on their skill level.

Flagstaff Gardens- Yello is the intermediate course and the blue is the beginners course.

Flagstaff Gardens- Yello is the intermediate course and the blue is the beginners course.

Intersection where beginners and intermediate courses seperate.

Intersection where beginners and intermediate courses seperate.

The park is busiest during the morning and afternoon peak hour because it is connected to Flagstaff Train Station.

Because this is a business district I will be making my seats look a bit more recognisable. The people using the south side of the park are more likely to use a seat that looks practical. I will be designing them for beginners and intermediate level skaters. This will mean that there will be “Low Risk” tricks being performed on these obstacles.

Beginners, Intermediate & Experienced skaters

September 4, 2009

The concepts and models were fine so far, but I still felt that there needed to be a more substance behind my designs. Sketches, scale models, and words can only inform my design to a certain degree. I needed to look more closely at the ACT of skateboarding. I made a list of all the different skateboard tricks.

Print

I could then associate the different types of tricks with different obstacles.

I could then categorise the tricks and obstacles into 3 main grading levels:

  1. Beginners ( blue box)
  2. Intermediate (yellow box)
  3. Experienced (red box)

We discussed this in class the other week and agreed that this will help direct the form of the objet. It would give me some limitations to the surfaces and scale of my design.

User Participation #1

September 4, 2009

I gathered my favourite clay models and wire mesh models and took them to the skate park (Riverside). I wanted some skaters to take a look at the models and give me some feedback on the designs. They didn’t seem too interested in what I was saying at first, but when I pulled out the models they all started to gather around and take a look. I didn’t really want to sketch and takes notes of what they were saying and I didn’t want to ask them to sketch out their ideas either. So I cut up some squares of wire mesh, gave it to them and said- “show me your ideas”.  So they all started to model up some ideas… They produced some basic shapes and curves and gave me some advice on what they thought be good to include.

1- Shallow transitions

2- Transfers between some obstacles

3- They wanted to skate obstacles that didn’t look like benches or other familiar obstacles.

So my design needs to be less like a seat and more like a sculptural installation. skaters and the general pubic (tourists etc) would find this more interesting.