Archer’s Pavilion – Part 3

Even though the Archers Pavilion was made to look like a tent it was never intended to be a shelter. Rain would be allowed to pass straight through the joints between its roof stones. I approached the project as a sculpture, that is, a non-functional object. All the same, it was imperative it should be structurally sound. The form I wanted to make had to be more than just a pile of stones in the shape of a tent, its strength to stand, and endure, must be realized as an expression of its method of construction.

In woodworking, finger joints are used to interlock two pieces of lumber lengthwise. You can see how this principle works by sliding the fingers of one hand into the space between the fingers of the other. The further they go in the tighter they get because the additional surface contact increases friction. Technically speaking, the Archers Pavilion is a towering collection of finger joints. Each stone was slid down into the space between its neighbors. As a course of vertical stones was set, the strength of the preceding course was strengthened. Every “finger” added friction.

The “saw tooth” technique was further employed on the horizontal axis of the construction. The depth that stones were set into the heart of the wall alternated, creating a second matrix of friction surfaces between exterior and interior wall stones.

The creative concept behind Archers Pavilion has proved viable. Ten years after its execution, the piece still stands as it was built. If I was to do something differently building it a second time it would be to have the footing hole dug by machine. I dug it by hand the first time because I was anxious to get started and couldn’t wait for an excavator. But it meant I didn’t go very deep (I hate shoveling). With an excavator or backhoe to do the digging I would put a 4’ deep crushed stone footing under the construction. The Archers Pavilion sits on an 18” deep pad of crushed stone, not really enough to ensure a frost-free base. 

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