Category Archives: Trip to Cambridge, MD

Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, DC, Cambridge…and back – My reflections on the weekend journey

I really enjoyed our studio trip for the fall ’10 semester. We went to UC, Pitt, Washington DC, and Cambridge Mass, all in 4 days. The car trip was a little tiring but overall the trip was a great experience. Many things over the course of the trip interested me, but there were a few that stood out the most. One of the things that really fascinated me was in Pittsburgh, I was just amazed by the amount of fans the Steelers had, and their general support, for a team that  (I think) really isn’t that great, but hey thats just my 2 cents! But truly one of the things that really interested me was the versatility of steel mesh. After seeing all these examples through the trip, I was left wondering what methods could be devised to really push the limits of what this product can do, and how it can be engineered to be so much more. Another thing that I enjoyed during the trip was seeing all of Cambridge’s working models of the mesh. I feel that this could really help the consumer better understand and apply their product, and I feel this could have been a valuable asset if we (the students) could have seen this before we began processing our ideas. But, I really enjoyed the tour of the factory. I just love seeing how things work, and the tour really left me satisfied with understanding the mesh, because I got to travel through the manufacturing process and see what changes were made, and how.

My Discoveries From Our Journey of 4 Cities in 4 Cities

In the journey of 4 cities in 4 days, I have both observed and seen the Cambridge metal mesh in different contexts. The main discoveries were found in the connections and the usage of the mesh.

In the Newseum, the use of the metal mesh as the railing fill had a nice initial concept however, the detail and connection of the mesh to the railing was not as clean as the proposed plan was. Some of the mesh was not connected to the railing which caused a few inches of gapping in some areas of the railing.  This realization illustrates how important the communication and collaboration is between the architect and contractor. Since the product of the metal mesh takes a lot of time, money, and effort it should only be appropriate for the mesh to be executed as well as it was manufactured.

The next discovery on this journey was found in many different locations, connections varied in both form and purpose.  Inside the Naval Academy’s Jewish Chapel, the interior mesh was connected with fine and slender members that were attached to another structure.  Whereas in the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital garage, the connection requires larger and thicker connection members since the span and size of the mesh requires that amount of connection.

Another discovery on this journey is how some usage of the metal meshes are more productive than others. A great example of using metal mesh not to it’s full potential is on the ceiling where very few observers will recognize and appreciate the intricacy of the mesh. Another example that uses mesh was not used to it’s full potential is on the facade of a mixed housing building. The mesh was very little used and did not have a dramatic effect on the building as a whole. A great example of how metal mesh can be used to it’s full potential is in the Cincinnati Children’s garage and in the Newseum elevators. Both of these examples use the mesh extensively and at a human scale.  At the garage, the mesh is used both as a sun-shading device and an aesthetic quality.  The elevators at the museum were used mainly as an aesthetic quality but interacted with users directly.

Due to extensive labor that is gone into making fine metal mesh, it is crucial in the process of choosing any material to consider not only the pros and cons but also it’s potential in the specific project and to continue the fine tune of the mesh all of the way to it’s connections.

Field Trip

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Trip to Cambridge

I was impressed with the amount of manual labor that goes into making the mesh. They mentioned that some of the weaving, though it looked easy, was actually very difficult. I thought that the mesh they use on the belts that carried computer chips was cool. The shipping of it was wasteful. It was cool the variety of uses for the mesh, like for a factory belt, in an elevator, and the filter, but I wish they had more variety.

Cambridge Journey

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4 Cities, 4 Days

Our four day journey  to Cambridge, MD was incredibly busy, and I was impressed by a lot that I saw.  First of all, I really enjoyed walking around downtown Pittsburgh, looking at the wide range of architectural styles.  I would have liked to have had more time to explore the city.  The same holds true for Washington D.C. and Annapolis.  I particularly enjoyed visiting the chapel at the Naval Academy.  It was a very peaceful space, and the mesh was effectively utilized.  At the Cambridge Architectural facility, what surprised me the most was how much of the mesh production process relied on people.  I expected most of the production process to be done by machines.

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