Stone studies II

Within this 'Journal' section, I have previously written about a field trip to observe natural schist outcrops above Lake Hawea, as part of research towards formulating a paving scheme for a new project. The idea behind the layout for this paving is driven by the rectilinear form that schist blocks often naturally develop, in contrast with the manner in which it is usually employed within paving.

One of the other sources that fed into our design process was an archaeological study of the old Pitches Store in Ophir; a beautiful small town in one of the coldest parts of the country. The original wash house path (which is pictured above, and in diagram form below, left) was laid using relatively regular stones that are representative of how stone appears when it is simply picked from the ground, rather than being blasted - which results in the shattered, irregular form that is more readily associated with schist paving.

The stone walls on the building display a similar interest in achieving regularity, albeit via a minor deceit. As can be seen in the image above (right), mortar has been applied over the joints, with lines of straight beading worked along the face to lend the stonework the appearance of brickwork or highly finished stonework.

To translate our studies into a scheme that specifically addresses the access required and the context of the site, we made a two-dimensional model of cut cardboard forms over a base of black card, as simply drawing a scheme cannot deliver the flexibility of thought that we felt the design required. One of the most difficult challenges was to formulate a layout based on other studies that we made of roads/paving at the ancient city of Pergamon, in which pairs of stones form an undulating centre line in the section that runs towards the right (on the plan below).

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