Translating ideas into reality is difficult, especially when someone else doing it! Construction documents are crucial to communicating to the contractor what you want built, and how you want it put together. Even a small park had plenty of details to work out, in a very short amount of time.
We also had to think about the construction schedule, because we hired a contractor and a carpenter. We met with both of them early on to make sure that our proposed overlap worked.
One strategy we used was to match details that the local contractors used in the previous projects. By using the same materials and detailing, the project’s bind the two ends of the community together with similar design language.
But there were issues with the previous fence design, as the netting was not strong enough to keep the dogs out of the park. We had a few people working on detailing the new fence. On the job site, I revised the design to have a horizontal cap to make it a bit safer.
To minimize clearance needed for a swinging gate, we put in a saloon style, double swing gate.
We didn’t make the students do ALL the work though. Brian hand drafted some of the other wooden elements for the park: the deck and the handrail transition from block,
and a shade structure that we plan to install in phase 2.
On the detailing end, I modified the metal structure for our double slide by adding a guard rail (safety first!).
We ended up removing the concrete tube, as there was a sharp edge and the parents were worried about kids cutting their lil heads open…So we used them as tree planters instead!
There were a few instances during the construction that I would notice something that could be unsafe, or was not resolved cleanly. Thinking quickly and creatively is part of the job that I enjoy the most, especially when it is working side by side with the contractors, as we design a better solution together.
One such case, we were worried that kids fighting to get up the slide would fall backwards onto the fence nearby. So we modified it to be taller, and used it as a musical feature, attaching our walkie-talkie and kitchen drum set.
I also modified a bench detail from the gardens project that fits onto the concrete block so that it would fit onto a stacked block in the Fog Water Park, replacing ply benches which faired poorly in the sun and (infrequent) rain.
After all that hard work, we had an inauguration, where all rose their glasses thanking the UW program and all our hard work.
It felt great to see the space transform and see the kids having so much fun. I thought maybe it was the sugar rush from all the candy at the park opening, but when I went back a week later, Gloria told me on the weekend they play there from sun up til 10pm!
I really enjoy seeing how the space changes each day at the jobsite, seeing the lines from your paper turn into layers of materials is what makes the job fun (when it works out like you planned…).
To share that effect with you, I meticulously took photos throughout the project. Enjoy!
I was literally in the trenches…but as Brian says, I hardly do work, I just take photos.
Words cannot explain how happy I am that we made a dog-proof park! Gates stay closed when they have springs 🙂
So much happened in such a short period of time. 19 days from start of construction to opening day!
A triangle is not an easy shape to work with, but I think the students did an excellent job utilizing the awkward shaped space!
We asked them to get creative. I think they got the point…(sorry I had too). There was an unplanned jog in the fence due to a tall concrete curb. We tried our best to make it look nice!
We used our stair detail from the Fog Water Farms. This geometry was a tough cut, but both the carpenter and the contractor made a clean transition.
I hope you enjoyed the ride! Excited to see what’s up next? Stay tuned for an update on my bamboo architecture tour of Peru and Ecuador!