Calculating what is absolutely necessary to bring on a high altitude expedition is one of the first steps to designing the interior perimeter.

Drawing Source: Andrew McCarthy / Date: 1.25.2012 : 1732 / Location: Ann Arbor, MI

1/2″ = 1′-0″ study model

A study model was created to test the tolerances required for the fabric, and accuracy of the digital modeling software in relationship to capabilities of the fabrication equipment (Zund Knife Cutter).

Photo Source: Andrew McCarthy / Date: 1.24.2012 : 1532 / Location: Ann Arbor, MI

methodology for fabrication

Developing a methodology for design and fabrication is imperative to the process of actualizing. Actualizing for this project is the ability to transform a scalar or digital model into a full scale object or space. At the moment I am using a CNC router and Zund knife cutter to construct models that allow me to test the double curvature and sewing tolerances required for the main body of the tent. The next step will be a full scale prototype before moving into final production.

Photo Source: Andrew McCarthy / Date: 1.23.2012 : 1532 / Location: Ann Arbor, MI

locating a site

Where a project is cited no longer relies on an exploration of the landscape, or an attempt to redefine the coordinates of the places we deem hospitable. Architecture exists in a world dominated by the definitive mapping of site. We rely on buildings to house our lifestyles, and construct ubiquitous environments for people to live in.

Architecture did not always exist in this way. A portion of mankind once relied on non-permanent buildings, caves, windscreens, huts, tents, bivouacs, yurts, and igloos, coupled with a design strategy that was derived from portability, lightness, and flexibility; defining the essence of shelter. Perhaps this is the barest form in which architecture can exist.

The Andes are considered the longest mountain range on earth, and they have the ability to consistently produce extreme and erratic climate conditions. Aconcagua sits 22,841 ft. (6,962 m) above sea level, making it the highest mountain in the Andes and Western Hemisphere; determining it a pinnacle site to work with extreme climates. In five weeks, I am traveling to Aconcagua to live in these conditions, and use the tent that I have built as my shelter and means of survival. For me this is a practice that demands the architect’s inhabitation and design accountability, in an attempt to formulate a relationship with the spaces we create and places we declare sited.

Photo Source: Robert Castillo / Date: 1.6.2012 : 1802 / Location: Mt Aconcagua

mapping population density

Mapping generated from GIS software that shows population density using 2007 census. It is interesting to note the proximity of population density to the worlds mountain ranges. Specific analysis is most clearly shown across central Asia.

Drawing Source: Andrew McCarthy (GIS Software) / Date: 1.6.2012 : 1342 / Location: Ann Arbor, MI

mapping mountains

Mapping the worlds mountains was generated using GIS software. Point source information can be speculated with extreme climates being drawn using the color ‘grey’.

Drawing Source: Andrew McCarthy (GIS Software) / Date: 1.6.2012 : 1542 / Location: Ann Arbor, MI

unpacking a case study

The North Face VE-25 has been trusted in all extreme weather conditions. This exercise was to unpack, assemble, and study some of the key characteristics on the construction and fabrication of this iconic tent.

Photo Source: Andrew McCarthy / Date: 1.8.2012 : 1622 / Location: Ann Arbor, MI