Thursday, January 31, 2013

Using Rhino to recycle history

Last December Seattle's Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) moved to a new location in a former Naval Reserve Armory built out over a lake. Part of the new historical displays is the Wawona sculpture by artist John Grade.

Using salvaged planks from Wawona, a dismantled 1897 schooner, the sculpture's form appropriately evokes the shape of a ship's hull. It is constructed of the douglas fir salvaged from the Wawona, who sat nearby in its last years in a failed attempt to raise funds for restoration.

Structural engineering for the sculpture was provided by Arup. The structural engineer, Hans-Erik Blomgren, used Rhino for the concept design. That's what happens when someone takes a Rhino class.

Arup's engineers partnered with John Grade from the beginning to make sure the assembled parts, suspended vertically from the building's roof, for the 56-foot tall kinetic sculpture to retain its structural integrity under both earthquake and human-induced loads. The design uses 130 cubic feet of computer-cut and hand carved, old-growth douglas fir and water-jet steel ribs.

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