Coopus Maximus: 3rd week construction progress

December 19th, 2010

This week, we raised the roof of Coopus Maximus!! It required a lot of muscle, finesse, and geometry, but the roof of Coopus Maximus is now standing, in perfect form.

At the beginning of the week, the group, led by Erick and Kerron, completed the rectangle roof piece and laid it on the ground in the studio space. What is unique about the roof is that it does start as a rectangle, and because of the hinges and geometry, is able to conform and contort into the bending, shape-shifting roof over the chicken run.

This project required so much guess-and-check, as we did not have precise angles, only the scale model to which we were comparing our full-scale coop. This meant that we had to take the rectangle roof piece and literally lift it into place, tweak the angles, and hold it in place using a jig of 2×4′s screwed to both the floor and the wall. We started making this jig by screwing 2×4′s into the wall and floor in the locations we could identify with precise measurements: with one end of the coop at the corner, the other end sat 12 feet away, so we placed a 2×4 in the ground to mark that spot. The same went for a few locations on the wall, where we knew the roof height was 4 or 5 feet, with an angle of 45 degrees, for example. While much of this was still approximate, these initial pieces of bracing would help us tweak the roof once lifted up. Erick and Kerron also learned a helpful trick for “squaring up,” using a 3-4-5 sided triangle (and multiples of those numbers) to measure right triangles and ensure that corners are square.

Once we had screwed in as many jig lines as possible, about 9 students helped to physically lift the massive roof above our heads, and begin to bend it accordingly into place. Once in the air, and because of all its hinge points, the rectangle flopped like a wet noodle, allowing us to push and pull hinges based on the model. This was no easy task and took about 45 minutes to get just right. As we moved pieces and angles into place, we added additional jig pieces to retain the form. We used vertical pieces to hold specific heights, like the 5-foot 2-inch peak. Whew!

Once standing, we stepped back and were thrilled at how closely the full-scale coop mirrored the model. The team could then begin figuring out the compound mitre joints for the steel frame, which will fit just inside the roof on either side (this is the frame to which both the roof and chicken wire siding will attach). Next week, we’ll finalize this frame and hopefully get chicken wire in place (all that will be left is the bedliner spray for the roof!).















Studio H is a public high school "design/build" curriculum that sparks rural community development through real-world, creative projects. By learning through a design sensibility, applied core subjects, and "dirt-under-your-fingernails" construction skills, students develop the creative capital, critical thinking, and citizenship necessary for their own success and for the future of their communities.


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