//* {Van Interior} ::
{2006.04.01 ~ Extracurricular, Professor Jeremy Ficca}

Materials :: 1 Ford E-250 cargo van, 3 sheets of Spanish Birch Ply, Approx. 125 board feet of Poplar, PVC, Copper Pipe and Silver Solder, Steel for Swivel Base, Piano Hinges and One Old Window Unit Air Conditioner.

Program: Accommodate one full-time resident. A double berth, easily cleaned and safe culinary facilities. Air conditioning, screening and cross ventilation. An open gathering space near starboard doors. A swiveling passenger seat. House lighting and AC power, showering facilities and sink. All storage on the interior to avoid roof racks (therefore achieving better gas mileage). Storage to include space for two bicycles and five surfboards. All construction shall be lightweight (again to save gas mileage), and all storage compartments must be breathable to hinder odor accumulation.

Time Frame: Approximately four weeks, nights/weekends.

A week was spent on the computer designing the construction system and plan arrangement. The design was based primarily on the ergonomic considerations of living in an extremely small space with complex programmatic requirements. After generating the tool-paths , the structural frames were cut on the school’s CNC machine. Their installation was guided by one computer splied and two pre-measured battens fixed to the steel shell of the van. Each frame is a laminate of two 3/4” birch plywood pieces laid 1’- 0” on center at each station point in the van, equating to 10.5” spans for the poplar- a reasonable distance to keep the strips small and lightweight. A window unit air conditioner was dismantled and suspended within the skeleton of the insertion, with the condenser outside underneath the van and the evaporator inside to cool the van during stationary use. An auxiliary DC house-battery bank and inverted AC receptacles was also installed.

After all the mechanical and electrical work was finished, the skin was laid. Consisting of poplar strips 3/8” x 5/8” in section, it is held in place by approx. 10 lbs. of fasteners. The fasteners are countersunk to accommodate plugs at a later date. The strips have had no problems resisting point loads. The poplar will remain untreated and un-surfaced so as to darken with age and wear. The water system functions independently. The stoves were concieved as pods built in the same language and materials as the sink, housed under the skin of the main insertion. The swivel base allows the passenger seat to rotate, capturing the space while providing a comfortable chair to sit in. Water is stored in a series of standard 4” PVC pipes connected to make a container. Pipe connections are achieved with miscellaneous “Y” and “U” section fittings to allow for smooth water transition in the gravity fed system. The container is easily filled with a standard garden hose and can hold 22.5 gallons of water. One showers outside through an attachable fitting either behind or beside the van. The system vent is directed to the sink, which drains overboard, allowing it to double as the plumbing system overflow.

The skin lifts on a piano hinge against the portside wall, exposing the electrical and mechanical infrastructure (batteries and air conditioner) for easy service. Primary storage space is found aft. The skin also opens at intervals for faster access. Future clothes storage to be constructed in the port wall will create 6” of insulation. The roof is left bare to later accommodate sky lighting and additional ventilation. The overhead storage arms change in height along the length of the van to accommodate the camber of a longboard so as to minimize the spatial impact below. The rack comfortably holds three longboards in its arms, and an additional three shortboards can be strapped to the starboard wall forward of the berth.