Looping Back Build Process

LOOPING BACK’s final design consisted of twenty-one separate units.  Each one having a plywood “substructure” that provided structural integrity.  All of these substructures were “skinned” with poplar bark shingles.  Fourteen units, which were identical in design, made up the smaller sections of the overall structure. Each of the remaining seven units had a unique structural design.  

I initially I developed LOOPING BACK’s using two CAD software applications Solidworks and Rhino. These two applications made it easy for me to fabricate the fourteen identical sections.  However as I went on to construct the remaining sections, which were larger and more complex in design, I could no longer rely on software or even simple measuring devices like rulers.  I had to create each of these sections by hand and eye, relying solely the experience I gained from making the smaller sections.  At this point the only other tools I could use to were a band saw, hand-held electric drill, and an angle-finder.  This process of using simple tools to achieve complex forms is typically employed by boat builders.  I view this type creative process as a form of improvisation.  I gained a certain degree of mastery over the materials and form while making the smaller repeated sections.  Then I was able to abandon the repeated structures in favor of a composition that was varied and more complex.

The installation of LOOPING BACK took longer than I initially anticipated.  I made about 6-8 separate trips to my site instead of the 3-4 that I initially anticipated.  My project required rather precise layout of the anchoring positions.  That step alone required one trip for layout and another trip to coordinate digging of the holes with the assistance of the staff at Randall’s Island.  During this process the park’s staff was extremely helpful and supportive.

I would like to thank Uchenna Itam, Ben Weisgall, Stephan Williams, Stefan Keneas, and DJ Zuko! for their support throughout the entire design and fabrication process.  I definitely could not have pulled this off without them.