In collaboration with fellow students James Rubio and Fieldon Eddy, we built a presentation stand to be used in critique sessions within the architecture faculty at the University of Manitoba. The stand took its form through the natural structure of wood collected from my family farm in Silver, Manitoba, Canada.
The project team took a trip to the farm to find suitable wood to use and to understand the environment that our materials came from. The site featured black ash and spruce trees. Many had recently been felled to make way for new overhead power lines. This provided us with an abundance of wood to bring back to Winnipeg and experiment with. Nearby, alpacas were grazing. Immediately we began to look at a method of staying true to nature. In the forest we saw many examples of natural connections happening with trees - branches would bend amongst each other and link together to form solid structures. This led us to mimic the connections we saw in order to create a set of assembly rules. We articulated the design by exclusively using unpowered hand tools in order to create a dialogue with the natural forms of the wood.
We positioned the wood in different ways to find the natural means of displaying a model or hanging a drawing on the stand. We used hand spokes, rasps, chisels and saws to shape the wood. Bark was subtly displayed in some parts, while large shaved surfaces were present in others. One piece became a mast to hold up a branch to mount drawings. Tacks could be pushed into the soft wood to hold up drawings. Material choices were made in a way so that the project retained a sense of emerging from nature. We used rawhide lashing as a means of uniting pieces together, leather for foot and seat covers, and stone for weight and balance.
A triangular assembly of wood served as a flat surface to display an architectural model. The seat on the right side of the presentation stand was covered in leather for comfort. We chose this material in consideration of the site at the farm, as cows were the inhabitants of the space. Two large pieces of Tyndall limestone acted as counterweights for the heavier section of wood near the top. By orienting a large tree branch upside down, we illustrated the lightness of the thinner branches that touched the floor. Through a careful consideration of connections and weight, parts of the project appeared as if they were floating in space.