timbrel vault -- details

The bricks are being cleaned of mortar spatter (some of the extra mortar shows our amateur status) with wire brush grinder attachments and acid concrete cleaner. There are details to ensure water control. At the exterior base of the vault, we are adding slope to the concrete, covering with flashing recessed into the brick wall, all buried under the ground. On the low side of the big and medium vault a masonry gutter directs water to the ground. The up hill slope will be planted in willow.


Timbrel Vault - removing the scaffolds

Today we placed the last bricks for the year and took down the scaffold. we all stood back and looked. The shell will be protected for the winter, and next April will be cleaned, outfitted with the camera, floored and landscaped. The official opening will be Oceans Day, June 8 with some previews in May.

Timbrel Vault -- structure complete

The first week of November and there are still six of us - Ted, Max, Ryan, Ryan, Marc, and Brandon - working on the shell. The weather is holding with sun, above freezing at night, and warm days. The last of the interior guide work has been removed -- it is now a complete structure. We are trimming the exposed edges, filling the cracks in the mortar joints, and generally getting ready for winter.

Coastal Studio ends -- work continues

During our last week on site for the semester we continued working on the egg and small shell and built the formwork for the large shell. The first layer of both is almost complete, with the second and third layers not far behind.
Coastal studio is getting ready to split up and work on two freelabs, finishing up at the end of July. More students will be joining us, working on a viewing platform in Cheverie and solar showers in Ross Creek.

Starting the Timbrel Vault -- Bring on the bricks

The egg is starting to come together. The first layer of bricks is getting close to the top where it starts to curve in and the second and third layers of bricks are following the first layer up. With only one week left in Cheverie we are hoping to be able to complete the egg, get as far as we can on the small shell, and build some formwork for the other shells next week. 
Next we will be splitting up to complete two two week freelabs - one in Cheverie and one in Ross Creek. 
Work on the camera obscura will continue through August.

Ready for the Brick Shell -- Back in Cheverie

After a few days to recover from our trip we got back to site. Mitch came by to level out the site and dig a hole for the heating tube to eventually go in. We got some deliveries on site and started working on the formwork for the egg and the smallest of the three shells. It took a while but the formwork came together and by the middle of the week we started laying bricks. 

Camera Obscura -- Slab on grade formwork

There was rain again in Cheverie this Monday, so coastal studio took to the road to visit the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, the site of last year's project, to look at the lamella structure and to discuss freelab possibilities. After leaving Ross Creek we visited the Look Off, Hall's Harbour, Kentville, Wolfville and New Minas on our way back to Cheverie.

Ross Creek Lamella

The rest of the week was spent in Cheverie, getting ready to pour the concrete for the slab.
Mechanic Drilling

Timbrel Vault -- beginning the floor slab

After a weekend in the city we went back to Cheverie to work on the formwork. The pieces started coming together early in the week, but a few rainy days slowed down progress. We rearranged our week so that we spent Wednesday and Thursday in the city to wait out the rain then returned to Cheverie for the weekend. We finished a fair amount of the formwork, which is turning out to be pretty complicated.
Shovelling and compacting gravel

Laying out the keys
Olena and Veronique cutting pieces for the formwork

View from site

Formwork pieces

Installing the first sections of the keys

Some complicated formwork

Everything starting to come together

Formwork connection

Coastal Studio in Cheverie

The site of the pavilion overlooks a recently reclaimed salt marsh. The marsh is flooded during high tide, when water from the Bay of Fundy rushes through a culvert from across the road. 

The site
Ryan and Vero on the walking trail

Members of the community's Salt Marsh Restoration Society have been building walking trails along the marsh and working towards building a discovery centre, which the camera obscura will be part of. The hope is that this will bring tourists to the region and allow them to witness the 50 foot tidal range.

Coastal studio arrived on site on May 3 to begin laying out the plan of the pavilion. Most of the week was spent re-working the design and figuring out details of the slab.

We took a break to go see a church being floated across the bay at high tide. We just missed the church being loaded onto the ferry, but were able to catch a look at it from a distance.

Back on site we began laying out forms for the keys that would be suspended in the formwork. The keys will eventually be the base for the walls of the structure.

Timbrel Vaulting

The structure we will be building in Cheverie consists of three outer shells and an interior egg that will house the camera obscura. 
The construction technique that we will be using is timbrel vaulting. This technique uses the layering of brick tiles to create thin, structurally sound vaults. The shells, which are catenary arches, will be self supporting. Only minimal formwork will be needed to build the first layer of bricks. This layer will then act as the formwork for subsequent layers of bricks. Michael Ramage's article Guastavino's Vault Construction Revisited outlines this technique.
Crossway was built with this tile vaulting system.

Our project will build on an earlier freelab done at Dalhousie which investigated the same technique.

Coastal Studio Is Back At It

Coastal Studio is up and running again for the summer semester. This years studio will run similarly to previous years, with students taking part in design-build projects on the coast.
The semester will begin in Cheverie, NS, where students will be building a camera obscura pavilion using a brick timbrel vaulting technique developed by Raphael Guastavino. The pavilion will be built overlooking a recently reclaimed salt-marsh on the Bay of Fundy. The camera obscura will project images of the tidal range onto an interior wall.
In late May we will be travelling to the Southern United States, beginning in New Orleans and making our way to Savannah, then returning to Cheverie to complete the camera obscura pavilion.
Throughout the beginning of the semester students will be working in two groups developing designs for the school's freelab course. These designs will will be built during July in Cheverie, Ross Creek, or Cheticamp.

Brick Vaulting

Crossway zero carbon house built in the UK. The house a brick vault design. This is a example of a similar process we will be using to do our own project in Cheverie, NS. The project will house a camera obscura which will project an image of the tidal area.