For this semester, the class was assigned to design an short-term summer installation; the only catch was, we needed to harness, filter, or focus, a natural phenomena.
I initially was engrossed by the idea of dappling – the phenomenon of light being filtered and projected through elliptical holes of different sizes and heights – but later found out that the phenomenon I was chasing was actually wind.
Puno is the Filipino translation of tree, I picked a tree to be the tool I used to show the way the kinetic movement of wind because the tree is usually this idle but once the wind blows it immediately jumps to life.
We were given the freedom to pick our orientation on the site among ourselves and, having taken into consideration the effect I was trying to achieve, I situated myself on the “rock garden” between the river and the highway.
The concept I had for this project in particular was to mimic the swaying of the trees and have the shadows they casted focus on the strength and direction the wind is blowing.
Figuring out how to build this was the trickiest thing I faced, but after a few attempts at wrapping my head around it, I came to two very simple solutions that were standing right in front of me all along: A) it would be constructed from the bottom-up, just as a tree transforms from a sapling and B) 2x4s go really well with spring steel.
Given that this would only be a three-month long installation, I made the conscious decision to use materials that could be repurposed.
To construct my installation I would need 2×4 pieces of repurposed wood that could easily be de-nailed, planed, cut into its proper dimensions, sanded, and treated with an organic finish. Repurposed wood can easily be sourced from old barns, factories, warehouses, homes, and water towers in New York.
Spring steel would be used for the joinery to minimize on bulk and to give the wood the freedom to react to the breeze from the ocean and the cars that are vortex shedding as they pass along.
The 2x4s would be arranged like a fan from its center; the inner layer would be rotated at a 15° angle, because it’s supposed to act as a sort of structural tie, and the outer layer which is going to do most of the moving would be placed at a 45° angle to capture more wind.