Photo Album
See how the students built the woodstrip umbrella model.


Model Building

Woodstrip Models

The large umbrella and Chapel Lomas de Cuernavaca were built with wood strips using a methodology that parallels Candela’s construction process

Large Umbrella Model (from Mercado de Chiclayo)
Undergraduate students Christin Holzer, Plamen Ivanov, Marianne Koch, and Kira Schiavello, and graduate students Sarah Halsey and Powell Draper began with a computer rendering of the structure. A frame that supports the edges of the shell was cut out of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and slots were cut through the thickness to support 1/2 inch deep by 1/8 inch wide aluminum beams. These beams supported 1/32 inch thick plywood strips that were pressed against the beams with double-sided tape. Wood filler was pushed between the wood strips to give the same effect as concrete seeping through the form boards. Fiberglass fabric was placed over the top surface and wet with an epoxy. While the epoxy was still wet, a second layer of wood strips was placed orthogonal to the first layer. The surface was then lifted from the frame and connected to the column and foundation after which it was primed and painted. Jesse Hindle and Emily Roche used a mix of fairing filler and epoxy to create a smooth transition where gaps were visible under the ribs and edge beams.

Photo Album
See how Cecily built the woodstrip Cuernavaca model.

Chapel Lomas de Cuernavaca
The base upon which Cecily King laid the woodstrips was the same scaffolding system used in the construction model for this chapel. The only difference was that the frame “beams and columns” were cut deeper for added strength. 1/16 inch thick by 1/8 inch wide bass wood strips were attached to the frame using a temporary sticky adhesive and double sided tape. Wood filler was then applied (a small area at a time) to keep the wood strips in place without warping.  Once the entire surface was covered with woodstrips, fiberglass fabric was placed over the surface and wet with an epoxy. Even after the epoxy dried, the model did not have sufficient stiffness in this state so it was necessary to use a fabric and epoxy on the underside of the model as well. Unfortunately, this approach disguised the straight wood forms that were used to create the surface. The parabolic edges were marked using a laser line level and then cut. The surface was smoothed once more with filler and sandpaper. Once smooth the shell was epoxied once more and spray painted.