Sunday, May 31, 2009

North Dakota - Mobile Chaplet

It is not too often that North Dakota architecture gets the nod from Some recent coverage from Bustler featured one of the 2009 AIA Small Projects Awards for the 'Mobile Chaplet' by Moorhead & Moorhead.

:: image via Bustler

"Mobile Chaplet is one of six portable spaces for reflection commissioned to travel to rural communities around the state of North Dakota as part of the Roberts Street Chaplet Project. The conceptual starting points for Mobile Chaplet were the covered wagons that transported settlers to the Midwest. The final pattern consists of two vaulted forms, one nested inside the other. Constructed on a trailer bed, the vaulted canopy is composed of over 200 thirty-foot long thermoplastic composite rods. A bench floats above the trailer bed supported by the rods, which also act as a backrest for the bench."

The idea of a form on the flat prairie is very apt for North Dakota, where the grandness of forms can be more restrained - a subtlety that is very appropriate to context. Also, the concept of a chaplet has an interesting dual meaning (and I could make a case that this weaves into both sides)... particularly in the idea of prayer beads which "....are considered "personal devotionals," and there is no set form and therefore they vary considerably. While the usual five decade rosary may be referred to as a chaplet, often chaplets have fewer beads than a traditional rosary and a different set of prayer" juxtaposed with the idea of a metal support "...used in casting to support the core of a mold. A chaplet is incorporated with the part being cast and so is generally made of materials that has higher melting point than the liquidified casting metal."

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