“The Whale” Immersion Experience -Emma Foster, Fo’sheimer and Filles Fabrications

The pegboard where Fo'sheimer and Filles Fabrications will put all of their latest project updates!

The pegboard where Fo’sheimer and Filles Fabrications will put all of their latest project updates!

Are you feeling inspired yet? No? Fo’sheimer and Filles Fabrications can fix that! Gus and I (Emma) put up an inspiration peg board (with our own four hands and a drill) to house models, ideas, and inspiration.  It is currently being furnished with all of our fun team photos and airstream sketches, and the photo above shows a sneak peak.

As the class delves into this project, it is important to get a sense of what we’re diving head first into. We did some quick drawings, or studies, of the Whale (the airstream, so-called because of it’s difficult-to-draw curves) to get a better sense of the interior and exterior. Of course, being the teenage girls that we are, everyone was being self-critical of “bad drawings,” but honestly everyone’s was great. I have a feeling we’ll all improve our drawing skills as we do more throughout the year.

Client surveys are pretty fun. I really like all of my teachers anyway, so getting to talk to them about their opinions about design, something else I really like, is neat. I’m getting the sense that teachers are thinking of the airstream common space as a more community/social space than a space to get work done, mostly because they get more work done in their classroom. Everyone likes the idea of a vegetable garden outside, too, which is good because cute little gardens always make me happy.

When we’re not in class, I’m looking at pretty pictures of airstreams. At least this time I’m being productive. I looked at some repurposed airstreams made for things other than mobile homes. One that both Gus and I found interesting was an art studio. The website shows the whole process that the designer went through to create this project, including how insulation was made, wiring and materials. It was originally a beat-up airstream like ours, and its transformation gives me encouragement for Project Ventura. I also love the use of windows and natural light, for example how the tables are by window and the floor plan is more open. We could incorporate that into our design, since the Whale isn’t going to move anywhere.

I was rather struck by this airstream that was repurposed to library. It gave me an idea to use a similar method of storage for a kind of book exchange for the teachers. By putting storage flush against surface of airstream with bungee cords, a lot less space is taken up by storage. I also like the painted sign on the front (see link); maybe we could do something similar on ours.

In order to redesign the airstream, it’s good to know what the original design was. I looked into what the floorplan of the 1977 Sovereign Airstream looked like, and found 3D drawings used to model potential floorplans. They were pretty cool, especially coming from a time without AutoCAD or Google Sketchup. However, I noticed that there was little wiggle room and floor space in the layout, and the windows weren’t taken advantage of for their natural light.  In our design, we probably won’t need a lot of storage, kitchen, bed, or bathroom space. This will free up considerable floor space.

Original floorplan model of the airstream (source: http://www.airstream.com/files/library/86cad40c7613c742.pdf%20)

Original floorplan model of the airstream (source: http://www.airstream.com/files/library/86cad40c7613c742.pdf%20)

While researching the airstream company and how the design came to be, I found some pretty interesting information. Wally Byam went through several iterations of the airstream design, several of which have very strange and experimental shapes, before finding the perfect one. I’m glad that I found this picture, because it reassured me that even the best designs go through several different prototypes before getting to the final. If at first we don’t succeed… let’s hope we don’t have to try again too many times.

Evolution of the airstream (source: http://www.hofarc.com/airstream-information/)

Evolution of the airstream (source: http://www.hofarc.com/airstream-information/)


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