July 13, 2010

I had to cover my back yard for a big party and rather than renting a boring tent I built an enclosure out of marine fir plywood and translucent plastic. Then I brought all the furniture outside so I could clear my living room and have space to dance.

The challenge was to cover a span of 14 feet with plywood that is only 8 feet long. So I cut strips of plywood 4″ wide¬† and joined them with a small piece of plywood and screws. Then I bent them in an arch shape using a very thin steel cable. The bow shaped arches are very light and yet very strong because they are holding the internal tension produced by the chord.

It took only two days to assemble since all the parts were prefabricated in my wood shop. Six columns support the arches and between the columns I created shelves and a counter top.

The marine plywood is good for outdoors so we didn’t do any finishing. For the stool legs we used cedar which is also good for out doors.

Finally, the furniture that normally resides indoors was brought outside for the weekend. The party was a success and this temporary construction could hold about 50 people under it. Bringing the inside to the outside started as a necessity but turned out to be in my view an amusing scene of deliberate artifice.

Check out how it was featured in Apartment Therapy.

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