Get our free book (in Spanish or English) on rainwater now - To Catch the Rain.

Flock House Skin for the Win

From Appropedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Flock House - Engr215 Student Projects
EcoDermis - Skin for the Win - Poly Pod - Geared-Up From the Feet-Up - Biopod - Hyper Visible Power Meter - Handcar Generator -


Aluminum Awareness

Through Engineering 215 Intro to Design at Humboldt State University, Team Skin for the Win was created to address a problem involving a client of Professor Lonny Graffman. This client is the Flock House founded by Mary Mattingly, who is a well known and respected artist in New York City. She is the founder of many projects other than the Flock House Project including the Waterpod Project [1] for which a previous Engineering 215 Intro to Design class were also participants.

  1. Project Formulation
  2. Problem Analysis and Literature Review
  3. Alternative Solutions
  4. Decision Process
  5. Specification of Final Solution


Problem Analysis and Criteria

Criteria Weight Description
Safety 10 Protects inhabitants from natural elements
Inspiration 9 Reuses commonly wasted materials
Aesthetics 8 Visually appealing
Cost 8 Less than $375
Durability 7 Should withstand New York weather conditions

Description of final project

  • Photos and descriptions

Design Cost

Design cost is measured in hours. The total hours spent on the creation of the Aluminum Awareness are 428 with the total being broken into respective segments as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Pie chart of design hours spent on each design section.

Implementation Cost

Implementation cost is measured in dollars. The total dollars spent on the creation of the Aluminum Awareness are $153.84 with the total being broken into required materials in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Table of design dollars spent on each design section.

Testing Results

To test the durability of some selected materials, our group exposed them to the outside weather for three days, sprayed them with water at a high pressure for a minute, put them in the oven at a temperature of 110˚F for thirty minutes, and scratched them with a wire brush 100 times. The results of these tests helped to determine which materials were to be used as our primary building materials. Further testing was implemented upon the completion of the project, where the structure was lightly sprayed with a garden hose for 2 minutes to simulate rain. Upon completing this test there was little to no leakage on all of the constructed outer shells.

How to build

In order to reconstruct Aluminum Awareness one must have access to several woodworking power tools including a bandsaw, chop saw, and a jig saw. Although Aluminum Awareness can be built using simple hand woodworking tools, having these power tools make the process much easier. One must also have plywood, roofing paper, aluminum cans, 2-liter bottles, a staple gun, a nail gun, as well as some type of wood to make the framing. On our scale model pine was used for the framing, however any other type of softwood such as fir or cedar would be equally sufficient. The dimensions of these woods and the amount of materials is dependent upon the scale at which Aluminum Awareness is desired to be reproduced. In order to construct the aluminum can shingle crimper the materials needed are: enough hardwood to make two 4"x6"x2" boards as well as two 3/8"x6"x3/8" slats, two pin hinges, 1" wood screws, and a table with dado blades. Step by step instructions to reproduce Aluminum Awareness can be found here: Aluminum Awareness Instructions

Discussion and next steps


Cognard, P. (2006). Adhesives and Sealants: General Knowledge, Application Techniques, New Curing Techniques, 1st Ed., Versailles, France.

(2004). “Duct Tape.” MSDS, <> (Sept. 25, 2011).

(2004). “Plexiglass.” MSDS, <>(Sep. 25, 2011)

Academic Search Elite, Advanced Materials & Processes volume 169 issue 7, page 10. Article, 2011.

Bos, A. (1979). “Paper and Related Materials.” ICCM Bulletin.

Beach, D L, and Kissin, Y V. (1986). “High Density Polyethylene.” Wiley-Interscience, Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering. Vol. 6., pp. 454-490.

“Plastic properties of High Density HDPE.” <> (Sep 25,2011). 

Manisha. (2009). “Difference Between Water Proof and Water Resistant.” < > (Sep. 25, 2011).

“Plexiglas Physical Properties” <> (Sep. 24, 2011).

“History of Vinyl.” (Sep. 26, 2004).

Ross, Douglas P. (Jun 24, 2005). “Climatography of the United States, Station: New York City Central Pk, NY.” National Climatic Data Center, <http://hurricane.> (Sept 21, 2011).

Roth, K., Dieckmann, J., and Brodrick, J. (2006). “Natural and Hybrid Ventilation.” ASHRAE Journal, 48(6), 37-39.

Turiel, Isaac. (1985). Indoor Air Quality and Human Health, Stanford Press, Stanford, California. (Introduction 1-14).

Knauer, G. (1992). “The return of the geodesic dome.” J. Futurist., 26(1): 29.

Shackelford, R., and Fitzgerald, M. (2007). "Dome Sweet Dome." J. Tech Directions., 67.2 (1), 13.

Hunt, H. (2009). “TIPIS AND YURTS.” J. Mother Earth News. 76-79.

Figure 2-11

Figure 2-11

Figure 2-8

Figure 2-7 ; Kite Made from Tyvek Housewrap

Figure 2-5

Figure 2-1

Figure 2-12

Figure 2-10

Team Skin for the Win