Barn Door Report – Part 2

Finished Door 2

The barn door likely would never have happened if not for this class.  In our day-to-day lives there are always things vying for our attention – classes, family, homework, housework, and work-work; not to mention all the things we do on the side to have a well-balanced fulfilling life: exercise, reading for fun, time with friends and family, relaxing and enjoying the simple moments.  The impetus to actually find a creative solution to the poor architectural choices that were made when my home was originally built was undoubtedly this course.

Inspiration was also found in the various projects of talented students participating in the class.  Above all, the interesting directions that many people followed provided unspoken, yet unwavering, permission to experiment fearlessly and try something new.  Beyond anything else provided in this course, having a safe, supportive environment to stumble – to try and fail or try and succeed – while developing new critical thinking and problem solving skills was a greatly appreciated creative space.

The first design challenge was to complete an up-cycling project and that inspired me to consider pallet wood as a building material.  It was not difficult to find a local merchant willing to part with a few pallets that I could then take apart and utilize. Materials weren’t really tough to find, though solving the issue of the door’s weight without much architectural support was a challenge.  The solution turned out to be the fun and funky part of the final product.  The roller skates (another re-purposed item) support the weight of the door so large anchors or braces are no longer necessary.  The door simply needs a guide rail at the top to prevent the top from tipping over, otherwise it slides smoothly and is entirely supported by the skates.

The project required that I use (or learn how to use…) a blow torch, chop saw, drill, and other various supplies that regularly reside in my garage.  I had hoped to incorporate some stained glass or ironwork but didn’t have the skill or time to make that a reality.  It may be possible to add one of those elements at a later time.

In the end, I learned a lot about the various aesthetics that have had their place and time.  Reviewing some of the time-period specific aesthetics made me thing of the film “To Sir With Love” (1967). There is a scene when the teacher (Sidney Poitier) points out that the costumes and haircuts that the adolescents had chosen to display their rebellion were really just recycled from a previous era.  (If you haven’t seen it then I highly recommend!)  I’m old enough to have seen things come and go and come back again.  Each iteration is a bit different, and builds on the last; such is the nature of education and design.  We set others up to build on our successes, or our failures, as the case may be.  We learn from each other and do our best to make it better. . . make it ours . . .make it unique.






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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Elizabeth Whitman
    May 1, 2016 2:40 pm

    Laura, I really love how the barn door turned out! Especially the creative use of roller blades. I like the mention of seeing what everyone was able to create with “permission to experiment fearlessly”. The freedom, and openness of this class is often not seen in many college courses. After taking hard technical classes, it is very refreshing to be able to extend and challenge ones self creatively.


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