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Installed Photographs | Photo by Abigail Whalen

Abigail Whalen constructed the Modular Seating Units for Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries (CALM). She focused on joints that accomodate multiple functions and accept salvaged materials. These Units can act as both seating and shelving (when stacked).

Michael of Gaston and Wyatt Demonstrating Ripping rough lumber | photo by Sophia Lee

Rip Cuts at Gaston and Wyatt | Photo by Kelly Reed
An example of the lamination process from the Convivial Bench

Material –  “Rip Cuts” are pieces of wood cut from rough lumber to establish a 90 degree flat edge. These are usually chipped into sawdust which is sent to a local farm for animal bedding. Gaston and Wyatt provided the Rip Cuts.  These were laminated to form new material for the Modular Seating Units.  Abigail Whalen’s salvage network included the “give away” box at the School of Architecture, where she found end cuts to use for the seat panels.

Stacked Configuration | Abigail Whalen
Bench Configuration | Abigail Whalen

Color – Different wood types were carefully chosen to create beautiful color compositions

Joint – The feet of the Modular Seating Units have grooves carefully cut with a dado blade to enable stable stacking. These grip one side of the seat panels. The strips perpendicular to the feet stabilize the legs and also slide into the seat panels. Thus, the joint restricts lateral movement in both X and Y axes (but not the Z axis).

Detail – The Rip Cuts are planed flat on the exterior, but not in the interior. The stepped surface tells a story of composition, lamination, and process.

Full Scale Mock-Ups

Various sizes and materials were tested through full scale mock-ups. One material tested was a solid core door.

Precedents | Abigail Whalen
Precedents | Abigail Whalen

Precedents – Abigail gathered many precedents to study potential joint configurations, materials, and compositions.Process Sketches | Abigail Whalen

Perspective Rendering | Abigail Whalen

Installed | Photo by Abigail Whalen
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