Location: Sacramento, CA, United States
Completion date: 2022
Vicki Scuri SiteWorks
CRAFT | Engineering Studio
Collaboration in Rhino3D between artist, fabricator, and engineer: Envisioning a 34-foot-tall Corten steel plate sculpture with heavily perforated seven-foot wingspans, the design presented unique engineering and fabrication challenges. Vicki Scuri partnered with JunoWorks and CRAFT to achieve her vision. Vicki’s team utilized Rhino 3D modeling software to develop the form, scale, and perforation patterning of the sculptures, CRAFT performed the computational analysis and engineering design in the artist’s Rhino model via Grasshopper scripting and plug-ins, and JunoWorks produced the steel plate cut files and fabrication details using the same Rhino file. With all members working in the same software and native file, our team was able to collaborate rapidly and effectively to evolve the design and resolve challenges together.
In the River District neighborhood of Sacramento, a movement to reimagine the 12th Street corridor with public art is underway. Among the projects in the metamorphosis is Uplift, a pair of weathering steel plate sculptures located at the corner of North 12th Street and Richards Boulevard, framing the gateway into the neighborhood. Created by artist Vicki Scuri, Uplift evokes the spreading of wings to symbolize renewal and spirit for the community.
With all project disciplines working in a shared model, our team was able to review multiple design options for the form and aesthetic, quickly evaluate the structural behavior of each option, and rapid prototype fabrication detailing and sequencing. Apparent lightness was a critical aesthetic expression of the piece. The wings are intended to appear as though they are capable of “fluttering” but must be stiff enough to safely resist wind and earthquake forces. The perforation density and pattern were found to reduce the wing stiffness below acceptable performance levels. Thus, to preserve an airy appearance, force flow studies were generated to understand where and how load travels through the steel plates. Regions of concentrated force flow were identified by computational analysis and used to locate strategic stiffening components for the wings. Several options were proposed and studied by the full team. Some of the options were found to be less effective for increasing stiffness, some were not practical to fabricate, and some were found visually obtrusive. Our team quickly identified the most constructible solution that provided the stiffness needed without compromising the visual aesthetic of the piece.