OCAD’s Steam Canoe was inspired by the canoe; The vessel that symbolizes the rich history of the indigenous first nations and early exploration of North America. The shoreline shelter was built to cut through the harsh wind of the cold winter shoreline, reflecting the interior space created by overturned water vessels. Solar hydronic components were installed within the structure, reflecting the underlying theme of freeze-thaw. Evacuated solar tubes heated a capture pan at the rear of the interior, melting snow and generating warm water, creating a fog halo that emerged from within the structure.
The Steam Canoe structure was achieved with a combination of computer assisted parametric geometry, manual cutting of the computer generated forms and innovative experimental production combining the traditional process of rolling Press Laminated Timber Panels with a new mechanical fastening technology called GRIP Metal, a type of “metal velcro,” applied in the form of continuous thin-gauge sheet metal layers, with grip hooks on both faces of the sheet.
GRIP Metal simplified the process of sandwiching two layers of 1/8 “Oak and one layer of 3/4″ Spruce, eliminating the adhesives typically used for laminate panels. This continuous steel sheet is pressed into the veneer and core lumber in this simple press rolling method. The results are strong and lightweight panels allowing an assembly into a pavilion without need for substructure, the external skin is the structure.
Different radii are made possible by adjusting the feeding angle of the assembled panels carefully into the roll press. The panels have a stronger bond than traditional chemical adhesive methods; the components can be separated at the end of their lifetime into pure material origins of wood and metal, making this a perfect innovation in material, process, application, product and sustainability.
Photography by Mark Tholen, Khristel Stecher, Curtis Ho, Shengjie Qiu