Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pillars of the Perverse

Speaking of twisted things, here is a photo I just came across recently of our dry stone helix being built in Garden Hill, Ontario, an unusual structure which I designed and was fortunate enough to have skilled members of the DSWAC ( Reid Snow, Evan Oxland, Patrick Callon and Stephen Nevin ) come and try to build it at the 2008 Northumberland Dry Stone Wall Festival. Like the two pillars we are building today, this was very tricky to figure out, especially how much to 'twist' the two walls as they curved upwards. The ten flat long stone rungs held the ascending walls in place and stopped the 'rubble helix' from falling over.

Our two twisted pillars were coming along well, but every stone has to be placed and shaped and repositioned several times before feeling good about it actually looking 'right'. (As if a twisted pillar can ever actually look right?) But seriously, this has turned out to be more awkward than we first realized. Recently we have been doing a lot of weird pillars. Entrance gate columns with curving Japanese style contours at one job, another one that had water flowing out from the top of it, two others that were over 6 feet tall and 4 feet thick. I'm thinking of calling this chapter in my life Pillars of the Peverse.

As promised, here are two visualizations I drew yesterday in Sketchup of this new 'twisted' project, to try to figure out how it would look - and, based on what we saw, how we would go about building it.

Below is a picture of how far we have come today on one of the pillars.

It looks like who ever was building this pillar was drunk! We have ended up using rebar as batter guides, twisting them clockwise and held in place at the top with a square piece of plywood rotated 45 degrees to the base and held with duct tape (you cant see that in this picture) Bungee cord string-lines help us to line up our stones with the 'splayed' geometry of the twisted sides.

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