Architectural Pop-up Installation - Mobius Lynx

Intro
At the beginning of every academic year, CU Denver Student Life and Campus Community hosts New Student Convocation. New Student Convocation is the official welcome to all new students on campus. The event is similar to graduation and marks the commencement of each student’s CU Denver academic career. This year, Vice Chancellor, Raul Cardenas had a vision to engage our current students to warmly welcome the new ones. That is where the College of Architecture and Planning Undergraduate students came into play. Twenty-five undergraduate students participated in an architectural pop-up installation. The students had a three-week timeline to design and build a seating gathering structure on the new Wellness Building Plaza. The robust schedule allowed for maximized learning exposure to the CAP students. The first week CAP students subdivided into groups and created initial design proposals that were presented to a Final Review Board comprised of Vice Chancellor Cardenas and representatives from the CU Denver University Planning Department and the Wellness Building. By the end of the first week, students finalized the design and created a life-scale prototype section.

Parametric Design
The design is a cross-sectional profile that rotates 360 degrees around a 20 foot diameter circle. At one moment the circle form is elevated to create an arch entrance, while on the opposing end the circle dives into the ground to create a second opening. The outdoor gathering space was constructed from ¾” Baltic Birch plywood. The parametric model developed by students included changing densities of the waffle structure along the contoured x and y-axis directions. Within the seating section area, the density was compressed to allow for the seating space to be under three inches in order to establish a more ergonomic form. The notched waffled structural system is comprised of nearly 5,000 connections that are .78mm (which reflects the strut material thickness).

Fabrication Build
An alphanumeric grid was generated to organize the interlocking structural system. The students labeled every notch in order to maintain overall organization and to ease the assembly process. Sheet layout was conducted to minimize overall plywood waste. A computer numeric control (CNC) machine utilizing a router cut over 250 individual pieces. The assembly began in the north entrance and followed the clockwise direction. The assembly process involved all lower pieces to be installed first so that the slotted connections would coincide. Pan head self-drilling screws along with Simpson A23 hanger brackets were used to reinforce the arch. A water repelling/UV protecting wood sealant was applied to the material for outdoor weather protection. The sealer stained the material with a tint of gold, while the brackets were painted black to highlight the University of Colorado’s school colors and emphasize CU Denver community pride. The installation occurred over a period of two days.

Pop-up Plaza
The #MobiusLynx pop-up will be on exhibit for three months in the new plaza. At the end of October, the structure may potentially be relocated elsewhere on campus and/or disassembled and all material will be donated to CU Denver students.

Delgado, Maria. “CU DENVER TODAY” What do 250 pieces of plywood make? A Mobius Lynx. September 10, 2018.

*More photos can be viewed on the College of Architecture and Planning Flicker account created by Jesse Kuroiwa: Album: Mobius Lynx Undergrad Design Build Summer 2018

Student course feedback:

Student 01: "I can not begin to thank you enough for the opportunity you (teachers) provided by creating and teaching this class. I am extremely grateful for the experience and how much I learned in these short (but amazing!) three weeks. So far in my education at CU, I have not taken a design past the concept stage. Learning what goes into pushing that design further into something viable, will help throughout my academic career and beyond. From material selection and research, to budgeting and ergonomics, it was incredible to learn all the many stages and levels of detail needed to build a physical structure that met the “client’s” demands. Thank you again for all of this valuable knowledge, and for being amazing professors. I look forward to my next classes with you (teachers)."

Student 02: "Thank you so much for teaching this class! It was the perfect experience to close my undergrad. I appreciate you (teachers) so much!!!"

Student 03: "First off I just wanted to thank you (teachers) so much for initiating this class and giving us all the opportunity to see first hand what it is like to design and actually build something. I have learned so much from taking this course. I am incredibly proud to have been part of something like this. I can't even being to tell you how many people I've told to go check out what we've made."

Student 04: "Thank you again for the great instruction and the experience."

PROJECT CREDITS | Project Development (University of Colorado | Denver Students) Mona Al-Alem, Ahmed Alharaz, Waleed Alsulami, Josey Burkett, Trevor Carrasco, Randy Chu, Victoria Dillonaire, Kevin Dubon, Maysam Emdadian, Natalie Espino, Genevieve Hampton, Mohamed Al Moayad Hassan, Noah Hoffman, Ephraim Jaeger, Mariah Lundquist, Kyle Newnam, Flavio Rojas, Xandon Sigafoos, Jane Song, Jesse Terzic, Lily Valentine, Sarah Vanderpool, Justin Watson, Daniel Wolberg, Manal Yassine, Dalal Zuaiter, Course Faculty by Maria Delgado and Jo VandenBurg, Design Fabrication Lab support by Matthew Gines, Paul Stockhoff, Joel Brown, John Bonet, Structural Engineering Consultant EV Studio, Material Sponsor Strait Lumber and Frank Paxton Lumber Company, Photographer Jesse Kuroiwa

Thank you note from students