The goal of the project was to design an eco-friendly, earthquake-resistant structure that could be built using locally sourced labor and materials.
The project began with site analysis. We examined climate data from nearby Kathmandu and what little data we could gather of Marbu, as well. We used our analysis of climate data to come up with a simple model of our ideas for insulation. We outfitted the model with temperature sensors, and tested the model for two weeks. We iterated over the design, changing the roof to include clarestory windows when we discovered we needed more ventilation. We additionally designed shutters to improve air flow.
We researched precedents for other seismically stable dwellings, and found houses in Pakistan built with local materials that used cross bracing for stability. We incorporated a similar idea into our design. As part of our research, we explored the tensile strength of clay bricks, and how their strength varied with the inclusion of cement. We tested the bricks that we made. In our design, we imagined bamboo cross bracing infilled with bricks made of local materials, which would provide plenty of support in a seismic event.
This project was a collaboration with my partner, Tara Ebsworth, as part of course requirements from 4.500—Design Computing. The goal was to create a chair that was easily manufactured out of common materials, and put together only using a rubber mallet. The intent of the design was to use as little wood as possible, and to still be comfortable and stylish. We achieved this by using thin slats of plywood that had some give, conforming to the body.
Our design was inspired by the humble park bench, with simple curves adding optical appeal and inspiring the name—the Icon, because if it’s resemblance to religious icons.
For our final review, we were judged on both aesthetics and comfort, and this dainty little chair held our 6’4”, 220lb instructor comfortably. We were also the only group in the class to produce two chairs from the given materials.