The main issue we needed to determine was how we would wrap the rope around the steel frame so that each loop would stay in the correct position along the length of the steel frame. The tendency is for the loop to slide along the steel frame since there is no friction to prevent it from doing otherwise. Our solution on the physical model was to "pre-wrap" each steel frame with rope, meaning we loop the rope around the entire length of the steel section. This is an extremely time-consuming process, so we were hoping to avoid it in the actual installation; however, after many tests, we realized that pre-wrapping was still the best solution because it was the cleanest way to create a gripping surface that matches the rope, and it also helps with the spacing of the ropes. Without the pre-wrap, we would have to add extra loops between each section of rope to space them out properly. We were certain that this way would create much more inconsistencies and is actually much more time consuming. Since every steel section is a different length, the number of "spacer" loops would be different in every section.
This brings us to the spacing issue. We needed to find the right number of ropes in one vertical bay that will fit in the shorter steel sections but still look "full" in the longer steel sections. We tried various numbers, from fifteen pieces up to twenty-five pieces of rope per section. At the end, we went with twenty-five pieces of rope because it gave us the most "planar" look at the longer lengths while still fitting into the shorter
While we are happy with how we have resolved the details (especially in the detail of how we ended the rope at the bottom of the bay), we are now very worried about the schedule. Based on our initial tests, it will take us at least two months just to finish the roping process…and we have three weeks!
Next week, we hope to get more volunteers, streamline the process, and hopefully get the schedule back on track!
Jenny Wu is a partner at the Los Angeles based design firm Oyler Wu Collaborative, which she started in 2004 with Dwayne Oyler. The office has been published globally and is recognized for its experimentation in design, material research, and fabrication. Their work straddles between two scales: small scale experimental installations as well as large scale building projects. Their recent projects include "reALIze," an art installation based on the face of Muhammad Ali (designed in collaboration with Michael Kalish), "Anemone," an architectural installation made with 60,000 rubber tubing in Taipei, Netscape, a temporary pavilion made of nine miles of knitted rope for Sci-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) graduation, and a 16 story residential tower in Taipei, Taiwan. She is a design faculty at Sci-Arc and received her BA from Columbia University and MArch from Harvard University.