As has been noticed, two domes made out of PVC pipes seem to have mysteriously popped up onto campus out of nowhere.
With one dome in front of the library and one in the Academic Quad in front of the Academy Center, The Process of Creativity cluster, a cluster of three science classes (all containing the same people), is responsible for the creation of both. This cluster is made up of three classes: Visual Thinking, The Creativity Experience, and Architecture (all taught by professors straight from Stanford University). We met with Brittany Hallawell, a graduate student and professor from Stanford University, to ask her for further information about the domes.
“We separated the students into red, yellow, and blue teams,” Ms. Hallawell said. “Each team cut pipes in a different length and then placed a tape of their color on the pipes. They then placed them on round zip ties and built it into the shape of a dome. They students had to read the instruction booklet on their own, they completely built it themselves. I just supervised to ensure safety; the students built these domes strictly on their own. It’s a really big project and there’s a lot to do. As the dome starts to go up it starts to curve, so we have to have two different ladders and someone has to hold the ladder while someone passes up material.”
As precise and beautiful as the domes are, building them is no piece of cake. A lot of difficulties and responsibilities have to be surmounted to successfully create such masterpieces.
“The worst thing that can go wrong—besides someone falling off the ladder—is that the pipes are not cut at an exact precise length,” she explained. “What happened last year was that one team cut their PBC pipes too short, so they didn’t fit into the structure of the dome, and so they had to order more pipes and go back and remake some of them. Imperfect tolerances—which are basically failure of precision in the geometry of the dome—can stack up and be the biggest thing that can go wrong. Obviously, there are safety precautions and risks that can go wrong too, but that’s what Mrs. Larimer and I are here for.”
Aside from both safety and technical precautions, simply getting started with the dome was no walk in the park for the Process of Creativity students. Dome construction has a pre-game all on its own, and so the students spent the entire second week of the session gathering the materials to begin the project.
“We started with about 200 ten-foot long pipes of PBC and so the students had to cut those down to size, and then we used 300 zip ties to connect them, which were fabricated by another company,” Ms. Hallawell said. “The estimated cost for both domes has been about $1,200, and then the materials were about $300 for each dome. Eight hours of assembly time was used for each class, but the fabricating before that took about 6 hours and then with about 11 people per section, so multiply 11 times 14 and you’ll find the total number of hours spent on one single dome.”
However, if you did not spend 154 long hard hours in the heat putting together PBC pipes, do not be bummed out, because fortunately, you can still join in on the fun!
“Other students who are not in The Process of Creativity cluster are welcome to come inside the domes but the biggest thing we ask not for them to do is climb the domes, other than that they are welcome to hang out in here and just experience it,” she explained.
So you might be wondering, what does any of this have to do with creativity? Well think about what definition of creativity you are using, because according to Ms. Hallawell, it can be defined in many ways.
“Creativity can be defined in a lot of different ways, and that’s what we have been talking about throughout the Creativity Experience course,” she explained. “I think the true definition of creativity is the ability to work well with others and that’s what we’re really doing here. While it does have a prescribed process, they have to think outside the box to figure out how they are going to work together. The best part of creativity is the sense of accomplishment you get when you finally finish that big project you were working on for weeks.”