Blitz Build Challenge

Woke up to overcast skies, pouring rain, and the kitchen opening late for breakfast, but after a slightly late start to class we got our spirits and energy up with some fun get-to-know-each-other games. We cracked open our new sketchbooks with speed drawing portraits of each other and discussed the subjectivity of design by analyzing all of our shoes. We rounded out the morning with a tour of the shop and introduction to our tools. 

After lunch, Milly led the charge teaching the students about hand drafting and the tools architects use. Everyone practiced using a scale and drawing in plan and elevation while Nick and I met with the guys at Umiaq to round up some more supplies. We then began our junkyard blitz build challenge. In three teams of five, each team was given a set palette of materials: some lumber, a pallet, rebar, rope, and miscellaneous constructed objects. They had 45 minutes to brainstorm and work together to build something functional, using no fasteners but the rope. After some initial hesitation, the groups got rolling, producing a boat, a shelter, and a fish drying rack plus chopping table. 

Evelyn, Joe, Branham, and Mike O. get started on their fish rack.

Ben, Geoffrey, Anu, and Mike P. work to stabilize their post and beam construction.

Team Three contemplate their structure with one minute left in the challenge.

After the final touches were made to the structures, each group presented the function of their construction and explained the most crucial structural support members and how they made them work. And of course, they posed for some pictures.

Team One poses on their sailing craft. She might not be seaworthy, but securing the cross pieces to the mast with nothing but rope was a great achievement. 

Team Two are all smiles hanging out in their sturdy shelter. The ridge beam they lashed in place successfully supported the weight of two of them standing on top of it!

Team Three pose for their album cover... I mean show off their fish rack and cutting table fabrications.

In the late afternoon, we headed to the Barrow playground, one of our site locations. We discussed site analysis and the students mapped out the scene in their sketchbooks, making observations about the activity and environment while beginning to think about where they will site the structure and what they might build.

Marina and Mike O. sketching at the site.

NIck, Branham, Kristen, and Evelyn mapping and making observations at the playground.

The glorious Arctic sun came out while we were at the playground and it's still shining bright at nearly midnight. We accomplished a lot of learning today and we're ready to charge up for another jam-packed day tomorrow!