Suspension

On Friday we began to suspend our kitset shelter; a very exciting day seeing our design take shape, but also a very challenging day as we had a few minor issues to troubleshoot!

We very quickly realised that in order for the hexagons to attach to each other some of our tetrahedron modules needed an extra tab…

Cutting the six extra tabs needed to construct our shelter

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After fixing the new tabs to the modules we were able to construct the bottom half of the shelter, which gave us our first real glimpse of what our kitset shelter design would look like.

The lower section of our shelter taking shape

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The next step was to start suspending the structure. From the beginning of our design process we had imagined that the shelter would be suspended between two adjacent walls, with the ability to also be constructed on a single wall. Due to the space available within our Studio we decided to suspend the shelter on a single wall for our initial tests.

We are in two minds as to the best way to construct the shelter – put the whole structure together on the floor and then suspend? Or complete the top hexagon, suspend it and attach the others to it piece by piece? We decided that this time we would see how easy it would be to suspend and complete piece by piece.

After constructing the first hexagon we threaded cord through pre-punched and riveted holes in the top two modules of the hexagon. We then strung the cord through eyelet screws affixed to the wall; two outside screws at approximately 1800mm from the floor, with a central screw at approximately 2000mm.

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With the top hexagon in place it was time to add the second…

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And then the third…

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It’s really quite exciting to see our shelter design taking shape! It is, however, a bit of a wrestle to attach the hexagons. The next pieces to be added are three single tetrahedrons which, when added to the sides will help to pull the structure into a curved shape. At this point we only had tabs for the bottom tetrahedron, so we added this in between the two lower hexagons.

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Adding weight (in the form of Deborah and Steph’s pack of fitted king size sheets – thanks guys!) to the bottom of the structure allowed us to pull the shelter away from the wall quite successfully.

So – time to get in and see how it feels!

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It was actually quite lovely inside – but a little bit close to the wall. We decided that the central point of suspension should be lower than the outer two, in order for the structure to provide a more curved, embracing shape.

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We realised that the addition of a suspension point from the middle of the top hexagon would help to further pull up and curve the structure. Bearing in mind that there are two further tetrahedrons on each side still needing to be attached, we are starting to really see our shelter take shape!

Our kitset shelter design from above

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We are really very happy with it, to us it is quite beautiful. It will be even more lovely with our insert panels added, but for now it’s time to take it all down and get it ready for our trial run assembly!

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