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Project Journal: Pier And Dance Hall Final Hand In
I have progressed significantly since the last project journal, with my final hand in in the form of a pin-up taking place on 20th May. This post is long overdue because of revision and packing up my things to travel back home for the summer. Although my design was almost complete by the last journal, I made some minor changes and additions after feedback from my tutor.
The main alteration was thickening the walls and floor on the basement level. As this space sat below the high tide line it would be frequently buffeted by powerful waves that form at the mouth of the Mersey. As a result, my tutor recommended I increase the thickness from 300mm to 500mm, to show that I’d considered durability against the elements. Thickening of the roof was also essential so the beams would be thick enough to span the large distances over the dance floor. I also changed the route that the stairs followed when moving from the backstage on level 1 to the dance floor. Previously, they were slanted, and would’ve been difficult to walk down. Therefore I made them run parallel to the level 1 balcony, before meeting at a small stage that could be used for individual couple performances as well as presentations. A wide staircase then ran from the small stage to the dance floor. This configuration still allowed performers to enter from both level one and zero, whilst creating a focal point on the dance floor.

As these changes were suggested after I’d finished my final drawings, I had to erase parts of the drawings, leaving smudge marks where I’d drawn in thick lines. I worked so hard to keep my final drawings clean that when my tutor told me to rub some of them out my face immediately dropped. Most of my work is messy, so I am incredibly pleased with myself when my drawings are neat and perfect. Eventually through reassurance that messy drawings with appropriate changes are better than neat drawings that could be improved, I was persuaded to take the plunge and erase some of the lines.
A large portion of my time since the last project journal was dedicated to creating my final models. I made a large scale model that sat on a site model. The pier deck was made of plywood, with metal axels for the towers and piers, and thread representing the tension cables in the cable stay system. This part of the model was relatively easy to create, although threading the tension cables was quite time consuming. The most difficult part of the model was to make the dance hall itself, which slotted into the hole in the middle of the pier. I decided to create it separately so the tutors could remove it and view the whole model close up. It consisted of a wooden block that shared to form of the dance hall, clad in metal and perspex. Some of the metal cladding pieces were very small, however in general the cladding was accurate. The biggest challenge was to get the model to smoothly slot into the hole in the middle of the pier, however through considerable sanding I managed to achieve this. My second final model was a small scale plan of level zero. I used it to show how each different user group would interact with the building, hopefully displaying the thought I’d applied to space planning. I used mainly thin white card for this model to represent the smooth white plastered interior walls, along with perspex for the glazing. Before this model I had never used thin white card, and I was thoroughly impressed. It is very easy to cut however it remains rigid in model. The white also makes the model stand out against greyboard context and/or ground.
One additional page I created was a small scale cross section through the whole pier and dance hall to show joining details. These included foundation joining details, the pier structure, and glazing to wall joinery in the dance hall, among others. I am very proud of this page since I had to look through tens of books to find appropriate solutions that matched the conditions of my design. The page is very precise and it seems to me as though most of the joining details would work, whether my tutors agree is another story. I know in the future I will have to create drawings of this detail so it is useful to get a head start on them and make mistakes in an environment where they don’t really matter.

After making these changes and additions I was ready to pin up. I had planned my wall although unfortunately the space I was assigned was too short to display my work as I’d wanted to. Therefore I had to do some resizing, however in the end it worked out quite well as I was able to use the wall around the corner of my space, giving me a larger wall area to pin up on. Overall I am satisfied with the project, I have worked as hard as I could’ve done and the whole design progressed fairly smoothly. My work has been selected for moderation, whether that’s a good or bad thing I’m not sure, so I’m not really thinking about it. All I have to do now is wait to receive my marks for this project and my exams.