The Campanile at the University of California, Berkeley, will be turning 100 years old next year -for those that do not already know. To celebrate this special centennial occasion the school is planning several events around summertime culminating in the 2015 Homecoming celebration (LaDawn Duvall, Campus Executive Director of Visitor and Parent Services). This is not only a landmark opportunity but there is also rumored to be a commencement address by the President himself. To celebrate this momentous occasion my business took inspiration from several Campanile-related events (including but not limited to: Media buzz at the Campanile, Michael Lin’s Lego Campanile project, etc.) and launched a mini-Campanile Tent Project called Snube Cube© (a birthday present for the Campanile). I believe this occasion to be a great opportunity to showcase this deployable tent structure as a special icon and symbol of locational expression that defines the campanile.
To give some of us a little history of the Campanile (bell/clock tower) at the campus it was created in 1914 (around 46 years after the Berkeley Campus started) and stands at around 307 feet tall (the third tallest clock tower in the world, as of 2014). Funded by Jane Sather this tower structure – in keeping with the Beaux Arts Campus Plan – was designed by Architect John Galen Howard. The tower beautifully blends in with the other buildings on campus. It signifies not only a symbol of strength but also of permanence and expression. The Campanile establishes an intimate dialogue with those that experience the campus. It reflects one of the many Beaux Arts ideals of contextual expression, but, also has the quality of a spectacle. Of seeing and being seen. Of standing out while making a statement. So in this way the clock tower is very formal, but it is also functional and thousands of students, faculty, visitors, and professors depend on it every day to tell time. Some others, like Paul Debevec, have used the Campanile masterfully in virtual 3D projects to extend the envelope of computer graphics (with visual effects benefits as seen in the 1999 The Matrix© Movie, for example). Here, my deployable invention only seeks to highlight the social and temporal qualities of this beloved bell and clock tower in order to help preserve this very important landmark and to help others access some of its many qualities.
The Snube Cube© was derived from the form of a Snub Cube or Snub Cuboctahedron containing 38 faces/sides and is quite provocative in its geometric expression of squares and triangles. The significance behind the number 38, which is the ultimate reason for creating the Snube Cube© in the first place, was taken from the current condition of the clock tower. The observation platform is currently inaccessible to those on wheelchairs (per the school’s website) because of 38 stairs they have to climb to reach this platform from the elevator. As a former lecturer and teacher at the school (through the DeCal Program and Professor Penny Dhaemers), I believe that at heart of what the school stands for is social justice, among other things, and the need for fairness and equality. So, I would like to raise awareness (in all fairness to the school, as well) of this issue and to challenge the Architecture students and Alumni to develop an inventive and original solution to this accessibility issue. For example, issues that take into account the complex nature of the access problem at the observation tower (a historical landmark, adaptive reuse issues, budget constraints, structural retrofit requirements, etc.). My business, Hanwa Innovation Solutions, LLC (Hainso), started this process by creating the platform – both digital and physical – that uses screens and projectors to help start to solve this access problem. Here, the Snube Cube© represents a series of screens that, when paired with other cubes, begin to generate interesting “streetscapes” that help visitors access and interact with the Campanile locally and globally. In essence, there will be projected images on the cube that serve multiple purposes (to tell time, to connect with sports, and to support students/alumni). As mentioned earlier Hainso provides both physical and virtual representations of the Snube Cube©, so with deployable models on the street (wherever the kit is purchased) and digital models online people can view and experience the Campanile (on http://hainso2015.wix.com/aluminum3d).
The Hainso Snube Cube© is a special part-to-whole concept; a multi-pronged approach to solving an access problem so that the solution (the whole) can be greater than the sum of its parts. If we revisit the Campanile, we observe that this tower is both a sun tower (a building that is itself a sun dial) and a clock tower (a building that displays the time with clocks on four facades and sounds from bells inside the tower); it is about visibility (see and be seen) and expression (the spectator and the spectacle). It can be seen and heard for miles around the campus, and, from its observation tower the City of Berkeley and other Cities (Oakland, San Francisco, etc.) can be viewed and heard as well. The cube is scalable from a small 1 cubic inch Game Ring to a large 512 cubic feet Classic Tent and is made to resemble an accessible Social Platform. Not dissimilar to Laugier’s “Primitive Hut” with a gable roof, the cube has a pyramid hip roof (similar to the Campanile) with a rectilinear cube body and a deployable internal frame structure (like an accordion). Emphasis in design was placed on simplicity of form, efficiency of fabrication, and convenience in storage. So, how does one generate a simple design engine that can transform and reflect some of these qualities of the Campanile (expressing views or sounds)? By turning things up a notch, or taking it to the next level. In this case the epiphany came in power of threes; three by three (grids, matrix, cubes, etc.).
Hainso’s Aluminum 3D© is a platform that uses the ‘cubic power’ to help people access and experience the Campanile in different ways using three areas of focus: Aluminum Brick© (Support Students/Alumni with crowdfunding), Aluminum Watch© (Connect with Alumni/Students from different time zones), and Aluminum Ring© (Download and Print 3D Campanile Rings for School Games). The Aluminum 3D© website also acts as a wall pattern, or screen, for the cubes’ surface and when different cubes are grouped together (“socially”) they start to form interesting “streetscapes.” Streetscapes formed by the blending of physical and virtual cubes…
Hainso Aluminum Brick© helps students with alumni support by providing a space where students can list their projects, their capital goals, and the estimated time to get the funds together. It is a crowdfunding site for supporting on-campus and off-campus projects utilizing Open Source software and other cutting edge resources. So, an architecture student group in Wurster Hall, for example, can setup a project with Aluminum Brick© to buy recycled kegs to make an ingenuous spiral design to help students with disabilities access the Campanile.
Hainso Aluminum Watch© is an essential social space for experiencing live local music events that are otherwise inaccessible to the public from the campus or elsewhere. Aluminum 3D© uses Sketchup, Google Maps, and, GPS to enhance the experience of connecting virtual and physical music lovers, tent communes, local bands, etc. Essentially, users can display their tents online and ping their live music, Campanile bells, or other music to other alumni/student close by or on the other side of the planet. Music students at Morrison Hall can play their symphony at the Campanile and be heard in Italy, for example.
Hainso also developed Aluminum Ring© which is an online gallery for students/alumni to purchase and download 3D rings (to 3D Print) for sports games at the school. Each ring is around 1 cubic inch (around the size of a golf ball) and can be purchased for around $29.99 on the website or by exploring a touch-enabled Snube Cube© on the street. Then using a 3d printer the rings can be printed to size and worn before, during, and after games. Subscribers can view and manipulate the rings onsite/online before they buy (an ‘aluminum’ opportunity for resellers).
Hainso Snube Cube©, the ‘hardware’ for the Aluminum 3D© platform, can help enhance the social experience at the Campanile while reflecting and celebrating our School’s iconic tower. The Snube Cube© is essentially a tube, a plastic cardboard cube (similar to a cardboard box) that displays media/information (websites, videos, texts, etc) in an interactive way. The Snube Cube© is also a symbol of another kind of expression: architectural tradition. For famous architects and designers (Frank Gehry, David Adjaye, Izhar Gafni, Shigeru Ban, etc) using cardboard to create chairs or even houses has been (and still is) a source of excitement and has become a practice seen time after time again in different forms ranging from cardboard beds to cardboard bicycles. Thus, cardboard has been a significant form for expression and is now, with the Snube Cube©, a platform for connection and reflection. It is a contribution to the architecture discipline and a solution to a concrete problem affecting hundreds of students at the UC Berkeley campus. But most of all, the Snube Cube© is a celebration of the endless potential, from some perspective, of the school’s Campanile.
(For more information, to assist in this project, or, to pre-order your tents, send me an email, Hainso2015@gmail.com)
– Daniel Ebuehi
– The Daily Californian: “Campus Starts Plans For Campanile’s Centennial Celebration Next Year.” – Mitchell Handler