Transforming Spaces through Art and Function

Project Summation

Design Process

  • This project has been a serious process of designing, redesigning, constructing, and reconstructing. Our design process alone was a major process. As shown in the diagrams below, we intended to start with a mere frame, atop which would be placed the solar panels. Upon further research, we decided to give it a larger purpose and make our project a statement of art, as well.
    img013 img012 20150505_14012720150505_140115  20150505_140134
  • We presumed that making the art relevant to the students and the campus would be the most suitable to the occasion. A major source of inspiration for me was an art piece by Jiyeon Song, known as the One Day Poem Pavilion. This pavilion played with shapes and shadows in a way that inspired me to make our awning more of an awning/pavilion shape. When considering its purpose on campus and this source of inspiration, I came up with the idea of turning the shape into an arching turtle shell. This provided more covering from the sun and attracted passersby by the interesting aesthetic.
    awning inspiration
  • The fabrication process was long and challenging. We split the responsibilities up in half: I was responsible for building the large turtle shell decoration out of wood, and Emily was responsible for fabricating the metal frame. Both of these were individually tough and time consuming jobs, and it was hard to not be in both places at once. Being the designer, I knew everything about the measurements, shapes, and requirements, so sometimes I would join Emily and Don, our designated metal cutter and welder. Most other days I would be in the shop cutting, sanding, and painting the wood. I was monitored and assisted by Joe, the manager of the Architecture Studio Woodshop.
  • Our project, though not yet complete, has come a long way. Our design is playing out as we wanted, and it is exciting to see it come to fruition.


  • The design transformed drastically throughout the course of the semester. What started as a simple frame with solar panels on the top turned into a decorated element that promotes school pride and endorses the idea of transforming a public space into a new program.
  • We have yet to fulfill certain elements of our design. Throughout the fabrication process, we realized that some of the measurements changed slightly, based on human error generally. It is hard to get the exact angled cuts sometimes! Luckily, our design easily adapted to these changes.
  • We currently do not have any plates welded to our frame to attach our structure to our bench. This may become an intentional change depending on the structure’s ability to stand on its own. This would increase the flexibility of the design of our product drastically. Instead of that plate relying on the dimensions of the bench and how it is assembled (our plate intended to utilize the bolts that hold the bench together, and we wanted to attach the plate to these to keep it in place) it is now entirely an external figure. The only reliance on the bench is the width, which is easily changed.

Future Innovations

  • Our immediate future plans include finishing! This involves completing the assembly of the frame via welding, placing and welding bases on the poles to allow for installation, then attaching the turtle shell panels and the PV panels to the frame prior to installation. Once that is done, the rest of the wiring will be set up, and VOILA!
  • Our ultimate goal is for our awning to become a success and bring power to many users outdoors in the nice weather.
  • We hope for our design to be long-lasting and durable and sustainable.
  • Should our product prove useful, we plan to implement this product throughout campus more often. We want to promote a sustainable campus, and hopefully spread our design to other schools. The decorative element would be altered for each school mascot, and our design is entirely flexible to every bench.

1 Comment

  1. November 21, 2017    

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