Conversation Plinth in Columbus, IN, USA
|Design | Engineering||IKD, USA
|Engineering | Build||Bensonwood, USA
Dimensions: Length: ~ 22.5 m | Width: ~ 13.0 m | Height: ~ 4.50 m
Number of Nodes: 943 | Members: 274 | Materials: 4 | Cross-Sections: 2
A unique installation, Conversation Plinth is a collaboration between IKD, a Boston-based architectural design firm, Bensonwood, SMARTLAM, the first CLT manufacturer in the US, and Clemson University’s Wood Utilization and Design Institute.
One of five Exhibit Columbus winners of the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller prize, Conversation Plinth is designed to generate conversation around the use of hardwood CLTs in US construction. While softwood CLTs have been used in North America in the construction of mid-to-high-rise buildings, the hardwood variety has only been available in Europe.
The design for Conversation Plinth takes inspiration from the conversation pit in the Miller House and the plinths that elevate the landmarks immediately surrounding the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library.
Large shifting timber discs compose a series of plinths that rise upward towards the west and encourage dynamic circulation around the sculpture, allowing the plaza to be experienced in new ways — even by night, thanks to dramatic lighting.
The structure was analyzed and designed in RFEM utilizing the RF-LAMINATE module. RF-LAMINATE allowed for custom and unique CLT layers to be defined apart from the widely used APA PRG 320 material.
These custom compositions were further assigned to 84 curved surfaces connected vertically with smaller segment dimension lumber members. A stress analysis was carried out for the CLT panels as well as focus on the deflection and punching shear results.
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Programs Used for Structural Analysis
Structural engineering software for finite element analysis (FEA) of planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, members (beams), solids and contact elements
Deflection analysis and stress design of laminate and sandwich surfaces