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- The tank project, located in poly canyon, a canyon belonging to cal poly university in san luis obispo, california, began in 1997 by ian johnson and mathew bittleston as a senior project in architectural engineering. The project advisors were Paul Fratessa and Charlie Coe.
- We wanted to build a senior thesis, instead of just write one.
- The tank project was built to replace an old water tank that provided water for the houses in the canyon. The old tank, made from reinforced precast sections of concrete, had begun to leak very badly. In addition, there was insufficient head from the spring to run the chlorinator reliably.
- The plan was to use pre-fabricated water tanks, and move them down the hill enough to get the chorinator to run properly. At first, the design was to cut into the hillside and build a retaining wall around the back side. This would reduce the profile and visibility of the tanks.
- We were set to go with this idea until the soil engineer pointed out that this is the site of a past landslide, and cutting into it could restart it.
- He suggested we use continuous footings to avoid taking anything out of the hillside.
- The final design has two interlocking rings, a pair in the footings, and a pair at the pad height.
The CMU wall spans vertically between the two rings and contains the gravel under each tank.
When the hillside moves, it will now take the entire structure as a unit, rather than pushing into a retaining wall.
- Construction Documents!
The project was completed with almost no construction documents or other drawings before we started.
- This led to many of the novelties of the project:
the curving columns; the corrugated siding; the catch basin for overflow water on the front.
- Cutting and installing the curving layered panelling.
- Project substantially completed and functional.
Problems with the design have been that we did not finish making gates for the back, the panels were poorly attached to the masonry columns in many places and blew loose, and the chlorine pump was still unreliable (in-line filtration was needed, and maybe ozone or UV sterilization).