Casting Concrete Workshop samples_PHOTOS

IMG_2061All – Tomorrow during studio, we will be taking pictures of the concrete samples that were cast during the CASTING CONCRETE workshop back in January.  At the beginning of studio tomorrow, would you please bring your samples over to the west wall of the west studio where our TA Andy will be setting up a small photo studio to properly document the work.  Please make sure that the details of the cast are properly noted either on the edge of the sample or on a piece of paper taped to the sample.  Details should include your names, the mix, the formwork types, the consolidation method, etc.  Andy will be photographing starting at 2:00pm, and samples can be picked up after the lecture.  Thanks for your participation in advance!



VESSEL review

Evening all – Hope all the vessels have been successfully cast by now, and that the photo essays/digital slideshows are coming together as the concrete rests in its mold.   Based on the energy that we saw in M&M on Friday and over the weekend, I’m sure tomorrow will be an exceptional exhibition.

By 1:45, all Vessels should be in their place and ready for display.  We have Upper Core reserved for our review, and if your Vessel does not have a more specific context either within Crown Hall or outside of Crown Hall, please bring your Vessel there, and place it generally in the vicinity of the location where you have you typical studio final or midterm reviews.  That map can be referenced on previous blog posts if necessary.    When setting up, please be very considerate of the premises.  The vessels are obviously heavy, and one misstep could damage a wall, or floor or stair.  Do take care in moving the Vessels from point A to point B, and then back again.

The format for the review tomorrow will be in two parts.

We will commence promptly at 2pm in our individual studio groups.  Those groups will meet in Upper Core in our designated areas, or in the location identified to you by your individual studio professor, and we will have an hour-long ‘in-studio’ review of the Vessels.  After the in-studio review, we will then commence a studio wide gallery review.

At that time, and for approximately two hours, the professors will tour the remaining vessels individually (or in small groups) and critique, ask questions, watch slideshows, etc.   Your team’s responsibility will be to have at least one team member stationed at your vessel for the entire remaining period of the review to present the project.  During that time, we encourage you to split up and take turns touring the gallery to see all of the final Vessels as well.

At the end of the review, you will be responsible for removing your Vessels from Upper Core and returning them to studio. Any concrete debris, remnant, dust or otherwise must be cleaned from Upper Core at that time.

And then lastly –

photo (3)

The first thing we want to say about this is “Holy Crap!”  The second thing we want to say about this is “Nice Work!”  And the third thing we NEED to say about this is that “if we don’t get this place straightened up by morning, we risk damaging our integrity to our allies in the shop who have made this entire exercise possible. ”   Seriously.  Everyone knew what we were getting into when we said we were going to cast concrete in the shop, and we have been realistic about how clean you can keep a place during this kind of effort.  And with a few notes and reminders along the way, you’ve been doing fine keeping the mess in check.  John and Mike in the shop have been huge supporters of this exercise thus far through the purchase of casting materials and the use of ALL the tools, but based on this photo, we have again overstepped our bounds in M&M with this effort.  It’s awesome, but it’s also a complete mess.  Let’s get the place cleaned up immediately and return the shop to normal so that it can go back to being for everyone else in the school and not just ours.

We really don’t want to be begging for forgiveness tomorrow.  Instead, let’s brag about our success.  To do so – First thing tomorrow, I need EVERYONE to chip in and clean M&M.  Strip your concrete forms and dispose of them.  Return all tools to their rightful place and clean them, if necessary, along the way.   All excess concrete raw material can be placed on the south side of the shop along the curtain wall where the casting material was placed for the workshop.  Mixing tubs, shovels, trowels, etc should all be returned to the state we found them in and placed in the same area.  All Vessels should be moved to Crown and all Casting Workshop studies/samples should be moved to your studios (and marked with the necessary information).  The areas where casting took place should be swept of debris, and tables should be similarly cleaned.  The tables can be returned to their orderly locations.

And at 1:45, the studio professors will be in M&M to review the completed effort.

To steal a line from Misses Hannigan, “It should shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.”   Well perhaps ‘shine’ is the wrong term.  Instead, we would settle for being able to see the floor through the sea of clamps….  Thank you all in advance for the cooperation – and thanks, as well, for the effort.

We really cant wait to see these tomorrow.


image_4Great time yesterday!! The hope was for that exercise to get you into the home stretch on your Vessel, and we hope that as you strip the forms and view the results, you are seeing the possibilities.

If you haven’t yet stripped your form, please do so before tomorrow’s studio and bring them to studio with you.  As you remove the formwork, be careful to not damage the casts, and please discard the formwork in its proper place (trash cans, returning clamps, etc).  For those of you that used my form liners – the glass, the plastic ribbed sheets and the thick silicone rubber liners, please  carefully remove those, clean off the excess concrete and return them to me in my studio tomorrow.  I would appreciate you doing that so I may continue to use them in the future.   Additionally, for each cast, please label all relevant information about the cast on the side of the form – or on some insignificant face.  Please note your names, the type of mix, your best guess at the ratio, the type of formwork used and the consolidation method.  Documenting them is critical for our database.

And lastly, please do not destroy or remove the casts.  Next week, once we are done with the Vessel, we will collect them in the West studio for the TA’s to photograph and document for the publication.

Thanks again for a great day, and to all of you for participating in all phases, including the less enjoyable ‘cleaning up’ phase.  We can’t wait to see them.

S13_A306 CASTING workshop

casting samplesWHERE:
M&M, south side
2:00pm (Klaschen, Blender, Klymson, Park Studios).
4:00pm (Kearns, Johnson, Parente, Tinucci studios)
  – Mixing concrete from raw materials and pouring a variety of wall samples testing a variety of concrete recipes, forming techniques, and consolidation methods.
– to understand the material
– to begin to develop your intuition for how concrete performs
– to learn methods for forming concrete and achieving desired surface and material characteristics
– to begin to learn the craft of casting concrete
– to see examples of concrete construction
TOOLS:– the following items will be needed for the workshop…

1. Clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty – really dirty.
2. Forming Materials – Consider a variety of methods and techniques for controlling/affecting the performance or appearance of concrete, and bring the necessary materials to test those hypothesis.  We will be building small concrete wall forms and casting concrete using a variety of concrete mixes and a variety of forming materials.  Bring any materials that you would be interested in lining the forms or casting with.  Materials could include but are not limited to fabric, plastic, glass, rubber, wood, steel, etc.  One requirement – that your choice of material is based in either a strategy or agenda – and not a whim.  



Warning: This part will be the most complicated aspect of the workshop.

For the workshop, we will divide into two groups.  At 2:00 pm, the studios listed above (Klaschen, Blender, Klymson, and Park) will meet on the south side of the shop (M&M), and the remaining studios will meet in studio to meet with your professors.  At 4:00pm, we will switch places.  Kearns, Johnson, Parente and Tinucci studios will move to M&M, and the others will meet in studio with your professors.
NOTE: Attendance will be taken in the form of safety signatures while in M&M.  If we do not receive your signature tomorrow on the safety forms, you will be marked as having been absent for the day.  As we have discussed, we take your safety in studio and in the shop very seriously. Please consult the shop safety procedures on the blog or consult any of us or consult John or anyone in the shop for assistance should you require it.  
As a large group and in smaller teams, we will assemble as many small wall forms as possible and mix and cast a variety of concrete mixes as systematically as possible to create a large portfolio of concrete types and finishes.  We will begin by building small wall forms of lumber (2x’s and plywood) and then lining the formwork with the variety of materials provided by you.  We will then mix a variety of concrete types using a variety of ratios of sand, cement and stone to better understand the effect each of these materials have on the finished product, and finally cast the concrete into the wall forms.  On Friday, we will strip the formwork and review our handy work.  Each group who cast a wall form will be responsible for properly documenting their process.  Accurate documentation of concrete mix, slump, casting technique, surface preparation and consolidation method will be required to be noted on each form and then on the edges of each concrete sample.   On Friday, all forms should be properly stripped and properly disposed of, and all wall samples should be brought back to the west studio and placed along the west wall.  Please do not remove your cast as the TA’s will be documenting the samples over the weekend.

Assignment 1: Vessel



A high intensity full scale investigation of the material qualities and properties of concrete.

– develop skills of concept modelling
– understand relationships between casts and molds
– develop skills fabricating formwork and casting concrete and learn to control the outcomes
– explore material expression with concrete
– develop conceptual thinking with structure and material

Working in teams of 3 or 4, design and cast a full scale concrete vessel for water.  The vessel may simply contain water or it may process water in some way.  The vessel shall be sited within 100 yards of Crown Hall, shall be cast using no more than (2) 80lb bags of ‘quickcrete’ readi-mx concrete, and must be moveable, by you and your partners.  A base/support structure may be employed.

Step 1:  Using oil-based modelling clay, model a minimum of 10 small constructs or maquettes of the vessel exploring various formal strategies.  Consider the various criteria of the vessel, keeping in mind the ultimate goal of being able to cast the final product.
Step 2:   After careful consideration and reviews within your studio, narrow-down your selection to one concept per team member.  Develop them further through iteration, and then test them by casting them in plaster or hydrocal for presentation within your studio.
Step 3:  Further develop a minimum of 3 or 4 versions of the vessel (based on the number of team members), by developing a three dimensional model of the vessel in Rhino.  Each team member should develop an iteration of the scheme, and should model both the formwork that will be used to cast the vessel and the vessel itself. Print out views of the formwork and vessel separately for presentation in class.
Step 4:  Construct the formwork at full scale, taking into consideration the forces that the casting process will impart, and cast the vessel at full scale using redi-mix concrete.

a.  how do you interact with the vessel vis-a-vis your hands, your feet, + your body?
b.  is the water in a single location or are there multiple areas for the water to reside?
c.  how is the water collected?  does it have a way to drain out?
d.  texture? color? pattern?
e.  what are the limitations of the concrete material?  How far can it be pushed?

A single full scale concrete casting of the vessel.
A photo/drawing  essay documenting the process: digital slideshow format 60 sec. in length.