To build support for the Beltline project (22 mile rails-to-trails park encircling Atlanta) an Art on the Beltline program has been initiated. The program gets people out in the (future) park space to see art and watch performances. Portions of the park are complete but others remain overgrown or unused as the campaign for public support continues.
My interest in the project (and the origin of the name) grows out of an interest in landscape. Here, at an early juncture in the nascent public space was an opportunity to inject an aural and participatory experience of landscape as a way of building community.
This project was sited in southwest Atlanta in a historically underserved community. Performances the previous year took place on the lawn in the wide open. I proposed a small bandshell structure that sat lightly on the ground and could be easily assembled while also creating a strong presence and anchor point for the performance.
We started the project by performing an acoustic evaluation on some surfaces utilizing Rhino and Python (most programming by Frank Fralick).
After selecting a final surface, the Rhino model was further developed into a grid of structural members running radially and vertically. Infill panels were developed to complete the surface. Plates were developed as a means to join the structural pieces that were too big to cut from one piece of plywood. Cut sheets were laid out and a scale model (at 1:8) was produced to catch any possible assembly pitfalls and confirm feasibility.
The performances were a hit, attracting a couple hundred people throughout the course of the day. There were stage performances as well as live bands. The structure was stored and erected in the same location for the 2014 Art on the Beltline season as well.
Sunset - photo by Frank Fralick
All pieces are simple planar shapes cut from provided cut sheets
We put the bandshell in an East Atlanta backyard and Takenobu recorded this video.
City in a Forest - 10UP 2015
The 10Up competition brief asked for a temporary structure that could be erected in 2 days, fit within a 10’ cube, and addressed the AIA Convention theme of “Impact!” In keeping with the theme of impact, this project explores a history of development in Atlanta.
Atlanta, orginally named Terminus, was brought into being when it was deisgnated as a railroad ending point. A zero mile marker was placed at that point and Atlanta gradually grew up around it. The project picks up on Atlanta’s reputation for being a “city in a forest”.
Formally, the project takes the past 100 years of development in Atlanta as a reference point in presenting a didactic instrument for visualizing development in Atlanta.
From a central ring - the city limits in 1915 - structural members rise up describing the contours of Atlanta’s growth. As they reach the top of the structure the turn out, tracing population contours along the roof as they descend to the border of the metrolitan area and then the border of the 10x10 site.
The floor is a topographic surface so individuals in the structure can experience the medium on which this city has grown.
What initially began as a civil engineering and topographic question - how best to site the railroad end points - has grown into a massive, complex metropolis with many competing constituencies, governments, and interests. It serves as a good reminder that design decisions, even those that may seem mundane at the time, can have profound impacts on the course of history in the anthropocene. The drawing to the right illustrates how the idea of what constitutes Atlanta has changed over the past 100 years.
Each piece of vertical structure is a composite piece made up of 1/4” baltic birch pieces I laminated together to make the overall “U” shapes. Notches were drawn into the structure to locate each horizonal piece in the field. Holes were pre-drilled to accept the metal panels at the ceiling. Notches were cut in the floor to locate each “U” shape in the field.
After the pieces arrived and things started going together, the biggest mystery that remained was the curved vertical member. After partially assembling the structure, this piece was laminated in place so all the pieces that attached to it could aid in setting the curvature.
Atlanta Metropolitan Area
Peripatete - Art on the Beltline 2012
This project was our first foray into Art on the Beltline and was in southwest Atlanta. The objective of this structure was to create a moment of entry from the adjacent neighborhood.
From observing how the ground had been worn, it was clear that people were using this location as an access point to the Beltline. A trail had developed up the hill and along the retaining wall.
Our objective was to weave the entry structure through the trees and down the hill. In order to do this, a point cloud survey was taken of the site so minute variations in the topography could be accounted for. The structure was modeled to conform to the hill and was staked into the ground at the base using railroad spikes. The point cloud survey and programming were generated by Frank Fralick. I developed the concept, aesthetics, drawings, tectonics, and managed the work overall.
Though the metal was cut in peripheral Atlanta, the project site was within a few miles of the little corner of warehouse space I rented for fabrication. Since the structure had basically no flat edges or areas, we built a temporary scaffolding and hung the pieces from bungee cords to assemble it.
The material was basic 22 gauge carbon steel. This gauge of metal is flexible and can be bent by hand. However, after being fastened together with tabs into a double surface structure, it was strong enough to create forms that were 8 feet tall.
The temporary nature of the exhibition was emphasized as the forms rusted over time, then were dismantled and recycled as scrap metal.
Art on the Beltline 2012 - Structural Surface Assembly