March 23, 2014
Members of OPEN were invited by Dalhousie University Professor Brian Lilley to be co-instructors during a two-week design+build workshop (FreeLab) called ARTfence in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The FreeLab course brought together a mix of undergraduate and graduate students from the Dalhousie School of Architecture, a Masters student from NSCAD, and numberous helping hands from the youth at Hope Blooms.
The project was in partnership with the Halifax’s North End Community Health Centre to help support their successful community garden and amazing Hope Blooms initiative that stems from it. The youth at Hope Blooms agreed that garden was in need of a new fence. Their hope was to create a fence that could also function as an expression of their dynamic and vital dedication to their work in the community. Through workshops with the youth and community members, the team developed and built an expressive and playful fence; one that embodies the values of this remarkable community organization.
The design of the ARTfence was developed through a series of workshops that brought together all team members including the Hope Blooms youth. Drawings and models produced during the workshops were heavily influenced by the fluidity of movement of the human body during parkour, as parkour is a sport embraced by many of the kids and youth leaders at the Centre. The thoughts and idea’s expressed by the youth were synthesized into the working design for an animated and playful fence structure that could be built cheaply and efficiently by the tools at hand and with the help of the youth.
The ARTfence is built as a tensile system that wiggles and wobbles it’s way around the site. It is composed of a guy-wire assembly that uses a series of painted recycled galvanized steel struts as support. The chain-link fencing completes the system by providing a membrane that ties the entire assembly together to act as a whole. The ARTfence utilizes materials in an efficient way by reducing the amount of material by up to 20% by eliminating the top and bottom support rails.
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