EVstudio’s Canstruction – Doctors Assure Me the Can Dreams WILL Stop

by Matt Svoboda on April 29, 2012

EVstudio’s entry in Canstruction Colorado 2012 is a never-ending staircase meant to pay tribute to the never-ending effort by the staff and volunteers at Hunger Free Colorado.  Built with over 3,500 cans our greatest challenge was how do you create something that is by definition impossible?  We looked to the work of illustrator M.C.Escher whose geometrically derived art often makes the impossible seem possible.  His “Ascending and Descending” staircase (which itself is an embellishment of the Penrose Stair) is a classic example of what we were trying to achieve and served as our launching point.  From there it was a series of mock-ups of increasing scale starting at my kitchen table with cardboard tiles, then our office floor using stacks of magazines, then 3-ring binders with actual cans balanced precariously on top and ultimately a fully rendered model in Revit where each can was modeled and placed individually.  (As a fun bonus – we painted the base so that it would reinforce the illusion by “popping up” off the ground when viewed at the right spot!) Here’s a photo-chronology of our process from inspiration to model to build-day.

Ascending and Descending - Escher, 1960

Plan view of cardboard tile test.

Cardboard tile test - it works!

Revit model - isometric view.

Revit model - perspective from the "sweet spot"

Build-day canstruction from "sweet spot"

Build-day canstruction - the illusion is revealed.


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