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Competition-winning pavilion designed with Orange Coast College using prefabricated light gauge steel.

What began as a design-build competition in the hills behind Cal Poly San Luis Obispo culminated in a truly unique collaboration with Orange Coast College and resulted in a memorable competition win. The theme of the competition was “Eternal” giving students an open-ended project brief to design a structure that could not only be transported manually up a one-mile hiking trail but must be constructed and inhabited in Poly Canyon for the weekend. Inspired by the way various civilizations have viewed the afterlife and eternity, the team, advised by Professor Joseph Sarafian explored the geometry of a truncated tetrahedron (a pyramid with its corners removed) naming their project “Three-Fold”. Thanks to the support of Professor Rose Anne Kings (Architectural Technology), the group was able to harness the prefabrication functionality of the FrameCAD Machine to print the light gauge steel studs needed to frame the pavilion.

This allowed a complex shape to be rapidly fabricated and assembled using a simple set of assembly instructions. OCC is the only educational institution in the world to boast a FrameCAD machine, which is a “mini-factory in a box” for cold-formed steel studs (CFS). Thanks to the lightness of the 20-gauge steel and the Nylon fabric in which it was clad, each 12’ tall wall panel only weighed 68 lbs. Max Pena (Construction Technology) also advised in constructability with students in his framing class. John Maxwell from OCC’s welding department fabricated 9 steel brackets that connected the walls to the base. Carbon fiber-infused Nylon brackets were 3D printed to connect the top of each wall panel, forming a triangular oculus in the roof. Three-Fold took home the top award, “Best in Theme” and celebrated by projecting a movie screening on its façade on the last night of the event. The student team consisted of Nick Barajas, Emily Ord, Luis Zamora, Tuyen Phan, and Max Masoud.

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