Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hitech Wooden Surfboards

Peter Walker with his wooden surfboard
Peter Walker, was showing his wooden surfboards at the Canberra Biennial today. He is an Associate Professor at Rhode Island School of Design and a Visiting Artist at the Jam Factory in Melbourne.

 wooden surfboard by Peter Walker at the Jam FactoryThe surfboards are made from a plywood framework with holes drilled to make it light. The result looks like the wing of an old biplane. The framework is then covered with thin lightweight wood. The final result looks like a piece of Scandinavian furniture, or part of a traditional Australian surf boat. The board has two bungs to allow the pressure to be equalized on hot days.

The framework of the surfboards reminded me of the work I saw at the UTas Academy of The Arts which architect Helen Norrie gave me a guided tour of in September. It happens Peter has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Design in Wood program at the Tasmanian School of Art in 1986 and a Master of Fine Art from the Centre for Furniture Design, University of Tasmania.

As I mentioned at the end of my talk to the ACS Tasmanian Branch, wood could be used for hi tech education buildings. As an example aComputer Numerical Control router like that used by the students at the University of Tasmania Architecture school, could be used to shape desks for a flexible learning centre. The desks could have cutouts designed to take Chip PC Inc's PC built into a wall socket. This would remove most of the clutter usual in a computerized classroom. Low voltage LCD displays could be used, eliminating the need for mains power on the desktop, lowering power use and increasing safety.

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