The Next Chapter // Brian Delaney
Throughout our academic career, a norm has been established for the completion of our projects. Like clockwork we prepare diagrams, compelling images, and tediously construct models up to the deadline, only to go home after with the satisfaction of finishing the project. This year has been different. This year we enter the next chapter of architecture with the construction of our designs.
The last few weeks of the Johnson County Pavilion have been a testament to the how much is really involved in construction of something this size. Though our immediate tasks of welding and assembly were fairly straightforward we were unprepared for the unforeseen logistics of building the pavilion. As it turns out, nothing is as simple as it originally appears.
The initial process for welding was to schedule shifts for those welding and rotate teams until everything was complete. We quickly learned that the weather, type of welding gasses and wire combinations, as well as preparation of materials would hinder our progress as all parties were constantly learning and adapting. What are the best ways of setting up plasma CNC files to ensure accurate and efficient cuts? How can we hang our outdoor tarps as to not blind other students while simultaneously trying to block the wind? What other departments could be a resource when we needed larger welders to bond thicker materials? These logistical issues and more plagued the team for weeks as we set off to complete our required welds. Then came galvanization and the prep and transportation arrangements needed to get our 27 foot spines to Kansas City from Manhattan. At the beginning of the year I would have never guessed I would be hauling so much steel down the highway.
Now we find ourselves working to solve logistics of beam assembly within the ice rink of King Louie. As we plan for needed tools, sequencing of painting and assembly, as well as transportation of these 2,000 pound units to the site, it is clear that our job is not done yet. The upcoming weeks of construction will be a culmination of what we have learned by fire, uncharted territory if you will, for students who are used to walking away from projects after presentations.
This is not to showcase how much we have done this semester, but more so to translate a greater appreciation for what happens after the construction documentation phase ends. With a taste of the roles and responsibilities of the architect and fabricator, I feel our team has a better insight into the process of construction. Furthermore, this semester has lent us the opportunity to talk with clients and consultants adding to our professional experience. The Johnson County Pavilion will be one of the largest design make projects to happen at Kansas State University, and I am proud of the obstacles our team has been able to overcome. It will be one of the most rewarding experiences to visit the pavilion years from now knowing how much effort we collectively placed on the project.
Written by Brian Delaney