Open Collections

UBC Undergraduate Research

The hourglass new SUB interactive installation proposal Kaya, Amandine; Nield, Mike; Tam, Samson; Wong, Annie 2012-12-03

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Notice for Google Chrome users:
If you are having trouble viewing or searching the PDF with Google Chrome, please download it here instead.

Item Metadata


18861-Kaya_A_et_al_SEEDS_2012_pdf. [ 753.13kB ]
JSON: 18861-1.0108529.json
JSON-LD: 18861-1.0108529-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 18861-1.0108529-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 18861-1.0108529-rdf.json
Turtle: 18861-1.0108529-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 18861-1.0108529-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 18861-1.0108529-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Student Report       THE HOURGLASS NEW SUB INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION PROPOSAL Amandine Kaya, Mike Nield, Samson Tam, Annie Wong  University of British Columbia VOL 400 December 3, 2012           Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”.  THE HOURGLASSNEW SUB INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION PROPOSALAmandine Kaya, Mike Nield, Samson Tam, Annie WongWhile fresh water scarcity is a global concern of increasing magnitude, it is often brushed aside as we do not encounter its implications directly. The goal of this project is to engage students on a daily basis and to point to this international issue. When faced with an overwhelming global crisis such as growing fresh water scarcity, what power do we hold as individuals and tas communities? Do we have the poten-tial to lend a hand and help improve the situation? The proposed installation is an exploration of these questions. We wished to capture the notion that fresh water is running out, and hence the element of time became an important component of the project. We sought to provide a means for students to replenish this depleting supply. The imagery of an hourglass filled with water drove the early conceptualizations of the project. We imagined the visual power that a leaky container filled with water would have in the new SUB atri-um.  We then set out to design a kinetic system through which students could refill this container. As the diagram above describes,  the original mechanical system used the same principles as our current one, but consisted of a series of steps instead of ramps.set of nine steps linked to the pumping systemlounge areasmall hole punched on thetop of the platform that linksto the bottom water reservoirsteps leading o the platformwater pumpedUP to the top reservoir of  the hourglasseach step is on a set of springs such that it returns to its originalposition once one steps o itloading beamwater pipebottom water reservoirpulley and locking crank system stepping down on astep causes a displacementof the loading beam heavy weightBottom of the steps leading up the platform3’3’12’15’24’5’7’PLAN & ELEVATIONSIMPLIFIED DIAGRAM OF THE MECHANISMWe shifted from using steps to using ramps to simplify the mechanical system and make it easier to maintain in the long run. Moreover, we departed from the generic, rigid form of an hourglass and pushed to integrate the installation into the new SUB.  We looked to activate the atrium and enhance its lighting, not impede it.CONCEPT, PROJECT PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVESSUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED INSTALLATIONThe proposed installation consists of two parts, a system of three ramps embedded into the am-phitheater like steps of the new SUB atrium, and a sculpture that is suspended from the ceiling. As participants walk up the ramps, a plunger mechanism pumps water through a pipe into the sculp-ture. The sculpture expands and contracts as water flows through it and serves as a visual marker of student participation.  Once the water has gone through the sculpture, it drips into a metal receptacle located on one of the steps and is channeled back into the water reservoir located by the ramp system. The sound of the dripping is amplified by the metal receptacle and creates a meditative atmosphere in the area directly surrounding it. When student participation is interrupted, the dynamic components of the installation slowly come to a halt as water fully empties from the suspended sculpture. original conceptramp systemsuspended sculpture22TO SUSPENDED SCULPTURE1331Lever Under RampAction PointFulcrumRamp compresses 1.5” with actionpiont 4” away from fulcrumThis equals 12” of rise 36” awayfrom fulcrum. 12” of rise on lever equals12” of cart pull up the track1.5”12”PlungerWeightWater Reservoir213 Viewing Window for Plunger Mechanism4” Piping tapering to 1”The increase in force to move the lever can be countered by increasing the weight of the ramps, and in turn the spring strength that returns the ramps to their original position would also be increased.Each ramp has a lever connected by a cable that grabs and pulls the cart up the track.  Increasing the distance the cart travels up the track for further plunger drop can be adjusted by increasing the length of the lever away from action point. For example, if we increase the length away from the fulcrum to 48” with the action point still at 4”, the rise would then be 16” for each ramp and 48” for the three ramps.a. Increase the plunger weight.b. Increase plunger drop by lengthening    the cart track.c. Gain distance on track by changing     the lever point.CART AND TRACKVARIABLES TO INCREASE THE HEIGHT OF THE PUMPED WATER :Prototype achieved 5’ of water height from only 6” of plunger drop using a 23lb plunger. Full scale project will achieve 17’ of water height by using 66lb plunger with 36” of plunger drop and adjusting lever point. DESCRIPTION OF MECHANISMS : The Ramp SystemThe hanging sculpture consists of four polyhedral armatures. A grid hung from the ceiling provides anchor points from which to suspend the sculpture. Inside the suspended structure, three recepta-cles are linked by clear tubing. Each receptacle is connected to a spring, which is in turn suspend-ed from the grid. Note: This system is closed and the only opening  is at the bottom extremity, where the water drips into the metal receptacle below.  See Appendice A1  for materials.Finally, water is dripped from the third receptacle into a last receptacle at the bottom of the armature structure which leads back to the reservoir hidden inside the ramp system.The water is drained from the first into the sec-ond and then the third receptacle, and the pro-cess repeats. However, because each receptacle is attached to the sculpture fragments at different points, three distinct sets of motion ensue. Each receptacle is attached to the sculpture fragments at different points. As the first receptacle gets full, the weight of the water causes it to descend. As this receptacle sinks down, it moves the armature attached to it. As the first receptacle drains water into the subsequent receptacle, it rises back up, triggering a second set of movement. DESCRIPTION OF MECHANISMS : The Sculpturedistort fold X   4Pythagorean CupThe water does not drip from the prism until it reaches the top of the inner tube.Water drips entirely once it begins to drain.This mechanism ensures that the prism is fully loaded before it empties.the displacement of the prism activatesthe fragments that are linked to ita grid is suspended from the ceilingthe weight of the water stretches the springdistort fold X   4Pythagorean CupThe water does not drip from the prism until it reaches the top of the inner tube.Water drips entirely once it begins to drain.This mechanism ensures that the prism is fully loaded before it empties.the displacement of the prism activatesthe fragments that are linked to ita grid is suspended from the ceilingthe weight of the water stretches the springdistort fold X   4Pythagorean CupThe water does not drip from the prism until it reaches the top of the inner tube.Water drips entirely once it begins to drain.This mechanism ensures that the prism is fully loaded before it empties.the displacement of the prism activatesthe fragments that are linked to ita grid is suspended from the ceilingthe weight of the water stretches the springQUESTIONS RAISED DURING THE SHOWCASE  :  A Dialogue"HOw MUCH wATER gETS PUMPED UP? DOES IT TRAVEL ALL THE wAY TO THE SCULPTURE AFTER EACH STUDENT?" The water needs to travel about 15 feet from the bottom reservoir to the top suspended sculpture. A set of one way valves will be installed inside the tube leading to the sculpture. As described in the mechanism description section, the amount of water pumped up depends on ( ). In the scaled-up project, it may take several participants to "pump" the water all the way to the sculpture. The required collaborative effort would in that case add a fitting attribute to the installation. "HOw MIgHT THE RAMPS BE MISUSED?  wHAT IF STUDENTS HANg OUT ON THE RAMPS?"  "ARE THE RAMPS ACCESSIBLE? IF NOT, COULD THEY BE MODIFIED TO BECOME ACCESSIBLE?"The current angles and length of the ramps are 11 degrees and 2.6 m for the first, and 15.8 degrees  and 1.8 m for the second and third. According to the BC Accessibility Handbook, for a ramp of up to 6m long, the maximum gradient is 1 in 10, or 5.7 de-grees. The ramps would need to be redesigned to be 5.1 meters long in order to be accessible.  "HOw IS THE wATER CHANNELED BACk INTO THE RESERVOIR BY THE RAMP SYSTEM?""wHAT IF STUDENTS DROP ITEMS INTO THE BOTTOM RECEPTACLE?""THE SUSPENDED SCULPTURE LOOkS  qUITE SMALL IN THE RENDERINg.  COULD IT BE BIggER?"Yes. We placed the sculpture between the glazing and the nested lounge, to highlight the spacial compres-sion of that area. However, even in that location, the size of the sculpture could be adjusted. Alternatively, the sculpture could be pulled further away from the nest lounge and blown up more considerably.One could easily imagine that some students may collect the water as it drips from the sculpture into the metal receptacle set on one of the atrium steps. Some may even drop items into it. One approach is to place a "do not drop items in this water" sign. However,  placing a griddle over the metal receptacle,  a filter in the small pipe channeling water back to the reservoir, and adding chlorine to the water so that it does not become contaminated may be sufficient. A small flattened tube will be placed in the rise of one of the steps. This tube will need a slight slope so that the water can flow back into the reservoir. The tube will need to be fastened at regular inter-vals to ensure the safety of pedestrians. It would be difficult to misuse the ramp system, as all of the exposed edges will be capped with stain-less steel edges only removed from the under side of the ramps. The pipe that delivers water to the up-per part of the sculpture can be stainless steel up to a safe height such that people cannot tamper with it. Tread strips could be added to the platform for enhanced traction and skateboarding prevention.The system is triggered when the top ramp is stepped on.  The person standing on the top ramp, does not have to get off the ramp for it to trigger.  The cart that plunges the weight is automatically released as soon as the last ramp is compressed.  With the current design, the water will plunge only once even if multiple people stay on the ramps. Consequently, if everyone were to stay on the ramps for an extended amounted of time, the mechanism would not reload until the first ramp is free from loading.  The system reloads when the first ramp decompresses for any period of time.  Therefore, as long as at some point there is no one on the first ramp for a brief moment, the system will reload.  This mechanism could be altered by linking the first ramp to the cart in the same way that the second and third ramps are connected to it. Currently, the mechanism that links the first ramp to the plunger system is slightly different from that which is used for the second and third ramp.SELECTION CRITERIA : A ResponseINTEgRATION INTO THE NEw SUB ATRIUMCREATIVE, ARTISTIC AND AESTHETIC CONTRIBUTIONREDUCTION OF ECOLOgICAL FOOTPRINTSTUDENT ENgAgEMENT, EDUCATION AND OUTREACHSAFETY, LONgEVITY AND FEASIBILITYThe installation is designed to be low maintenance. With the eventual evaporation of water in the instal-lation, we would seek to involve the UBC Campus Sustainability Office to harvest 50L of rainwater for the sculpture once every year and add chlorine to the water. Another potential collaboration is one with UBC Custodial Services Office.  Potential debris in the metal receptacle with collects the dripping water would need to be removed so that they do not accumulate. An important aspect of our installation is the participation of the student body and public in order to fully utilize the human body to move the mechanics of the sculpture. The participation of individuals as they physically walk on the installation enables the kinetic motion of the sculpture.  If there are no partic-ipants, the water supply powering the installation becomes exhausted and the hourglass runs out” of wa-ter. The immediate consequences, the wilting of the hovering polyhedral, is visually displayed as a result. The urgent sense of time and action suggested by the immediate effects of the installation encourages students and the general public to engage in the dialogue of environmental concerns revolving around water consumption - a growing global concern.This installation means to reframe definitions of sustainability and power. It does not necessitate any sources of electrical power but utilizes the kinetic power of participants instead. Most materials used for the prototypes were recycled. For the scaled-up version, we would push to use  local and sustainably sourced materials.Aesthetically, we considered how the project would integrate into the new SUB atrium. With the existing de-sign of the Atrium being a high traffic congested space, we looked into designing an installation that could levitate above the ground while allowing itself to be complementary, and non-intrusive to the other archi-tectural elements found in the Atrium, such as the Nest Lounge. Moreover, on the steps located beyond the ramps, we project that students might gather upon going up the ramps. This space has the potential of becoming a forum for discussion around water consumption and sustainability.  In the event that this project is taken forward, we will outreach to sustainabiliy student orga-nization accross campus and seek collaboaration:  one or several group could for instance use the space for fundraising activities.With these considerations in mind, the ramp system is designed to be embedded into the curvilinear steps of the SUB Atrium. The translucent materiality of the suspended polyhedral structure allows for various patterns of shadow to be cast into the atrium but does not impede the lighting of the space. The replacement of mechanical parts will be minimal as there are no wear gears, only springs, pulleys, and a cable. The custom manufactured springs that sit under the ramps are guaranteed for life and will sit in stainless steel housing.  The mechanical and ramp system is designed so that all cables and springs are easily replaced by simply unhooking them or by unscrewing a couple of nuts.  Parts are also com-mon enough and can be easily found”¬ the ones used in the prototypes were all purchased in hardware stores. There will be a side locked door access to all parts that would need to be replaced.APPENDICE A1 : Materials and Budget for Scaled Up InstallationMaterial and Cost Description at  Full Scale   Material   Size and Number of Items  Price             Material Use  Stainless Sheet 2- sheets 16guage 5x10’   $600.00            water reservoir,  stainless                   framing to cap ramps, cart track  Stainless Pipe  1 -1” stainless pipe  20’  $200.00            Pipe that carries water  Spruce Plywood     14- ¾” sheets 4x8’   $447.30            ramps and exterior sheathing one side nice finish  Pine   10- 2x6” studs 16’   $77.50             ramp and platform  framing Pine   24- 2x4” studs 8’   $68.16            ramp and platform framing  Pulleys    10    $200.00          aircraft cable guides Aircraft cable   1 roll  1/8”    $10.00           pulling system  Custom springs   3 manufactured springs  $100.00          ramp return system  Cable connectors  8 connectors    $5.00              cable ties Plexi glass  1 - 1/16” sheet 1x2 ’  $10.00          plexi glass prisms Rubber matting   27’x3’ of rubber matting  $300.00         applied on ramps for traction  Wood or steel   31.5 ’ of railing wood                      $1000.00       railing     or steel     $2000.00       railing Carbon Fiber  48’ of 1/8 carbon rod   $100.00          framing for suspended sculpture  Mesh   roll of nylon meshing   $20.00          envelope material for sculpture  Metal Shop Time  estimated 100hrs $30 per/hr      $3000.00        access to full metal fabrication                shop, fabrication of new pully and            cart system  Total        $6537.96       if steel railing is used         $5537.96      if wood railing is used   Total1st Prototype : Step SystemShowcase PresentationAPPENDICE B1 : Process Pictures2nd Prototype : Ramp SystemAPPENDICE B2 : Process PicturesThe Suspended Sculpture : BrainstormingOne fragment of the sculpture : the plexiglass prism is pulled down to represent the weight of water pumped into the sculpture. Four such polyhedral fragments make up the whole sculpture. Model Making


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items