With Strong Steel and Friendship: It’s All Column Together

It’s time for another check-in on the Rural Studio Fabrication Pavilion. We have been working on column repairs, construction plans, and new structural ideas. In addition, we’ve been reevaluating our goals for weather screens on campus.

Column Construction

In the last month, we replaced the splice plates on the final sets of columns. With the help of the CLT Core House team and the 3rd-years, we were able to transport and disassemble the excess scaffolding. Now the slab is clear for the next phase of the renovation: the roof.

Raising the Roof

The main dilemma of repairing the Fabrication Pavilion roof is what the new structure will be made of. The roof acts as a diaphragm that links all the trusses in the Pavilion together, allowing them to act as one. So, the new roof needs to be strong and able to span the distance between each truss. It must also achieve our aesthetic goals for the project. After working through full-sized detail drawings with our professors and guest consultants like Dan Wheeler, we concluded that our best option for ceiling material is structural metal decking.

The Shear Possibilities

As we consider the design of our western extension, our team has decided to expand on what Rural Studio has learned about bypass construction from the original Pavilion. Rather than making the structure out of large, heavy pieces, we will use an aggregation of smaller steel members joined with through bolt connections. Using smaller pieces to create a larger system will make the construction process easier for our team. This method will also allow us to make consistent column connections to other parts of the structure, such as the roof and weather screen.

We plan to remove the Fabrication Pavilion’s western shear wall to open up the space around the loading dock. As a result of this decision, the new steel structure needs to be rigid enough to replace it. After a conversation with our structural engineer, we have begun using ENERCALC to refine our ideas, especially through testing the shear capabilities of each of our structural column schemes. This testing has resulted in the design of a vertical column truss that can handle the building’s heavy wind loads.

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen

Over the past month, we have been working through a variety of weather screen designs. We have evaluated each idea’s materiality, rain protection, and resultant light quality. Recently, we have been experimenting with schemes that cover a larger portion of the south side of the Fabrication Pavilion. This approach will provide protection from our most aggressive rain as well as create a ‘theater of construction’ that can be seen from Morrisette House.

Stay tuned to see what is to come, and see you at Pig Roast!