The Wall

The final project of freshman year: a wall. While it was a bit anticlimactic, this was still an interesting project. The idea was to question what a wall really is. Is it about separation? Is it more than just some 2x4's covered in drywall? Is it more about verticality or horizontality? I've been dreaming about walls for years now, this should be an easy project right?

 We were also given a site for our wall, an "exterior" side, a stem wall, and then an "interior side" one foot higher. We had to have stairs and a ramp of a certain slope on both sides, so I started by laying those out at a small scale to determine where the opening in my wall had to be.

I constructed a base for my final model out of mdf as I worked on the design of my wall.
The main concept for my wall was a door that swings down to be the ramp on either side of the wall. There's a video at the end of this post with the final door in action. After I had worked out my door and my ramp/stairs, I got to work on the surrounding wall. 

Inspired by Peter Zumthor's Swiss Sound Pavilion, I decided to make my wall out of vertically stacked strips of basswood with a small spacing in between them. To make the door/ramp work functionally, I designed a pulley system that could be operated from either side of the wall which in turn dictated the openings I had to make in the wall.

Wall in-progress. Pro tip: use double stick tape to lay out your beams perfectly and then glue the vertical support onto them all at once instead of trying to line up each one individually.

Here is the finished wall. You can see the custom base, ramp and stairs, horizontal wood siding, sheet metal ramp/door pivot mechanism, and the openings for the pulleys and ropes.

Here is the door/ramp going from ramp on one side to door to ramp on the other side.

Plan and section of the wall.

Siding pattern detail

Pulley detail

Metal threshold detail

And finally, a video of the ramp/door in action!

If walls could dream... they'd dream about walls of course!