Engineering the arts: Lafayette students work to improve arts trail

Some may say that engineering and the arts don’t go together. A group of Lafayette students are showing that’s not the case.

This semester’s Engineering Studies 480 class is coordinating with the Karl Stirner Arts Trail Board of Governance and the city of Easton to create a musical fence, and prepare the site at the Karl Stirner Arts Trail by the end of the next year. EGRS 480 is a sustainable solutions interdisciplinary course that brings a group of people from different backgrounds to form a dynamic team.  

Johnny Gossick ‘18, who is in charge of creating the music for the fence, said that the fence consists of steel rods that form a half oval shape. According to Gossick, both sides will play “Fur Elise” by Beethoven when struck. There will also be a straight line of steel rods with random notes so playground visitors can create their own tunes, he said.

A member of EGRS 480, Gossick said that the musical fence project is the beginning of what will eventually become a musical playground.

“The class itself is designing the beginnings of a musical playground,” he said. “What we are mainly concerned with this semester is building a musical fence for the musical playground. Ultimately, the purpose is to design a civic space where people can come and create music and enjoy the arts trail.”

“The goal with the arts trail in general is to put Easton on the map,” he added.

Manager of the group project Tien Tran ’16 said that the project will provide an educational experience while being sustainable and cost-effective.

The playground will be made with “local, durable, and ecofriendly materials,” according to the musical playground’s website.

“Construction will happen over the summer and the fall and it should be finished by the spring of next year,” he added.

Tran said there is a “digital prototype for the musical fence.”

Tien Tran said that the city of Easton granted them the budget of $38,000 to accomplish EGRS 480’s goals for the musical playground.

“The playground was originally going to have a bench and physical equipment like a seesaw that would play music as it went up and down, Tran said. “We have a donation from a friend of the arts trail that brings us to be able to work with $70-80,000.”

He said that the team is currently testing out the materials they would prefer to use for the fence.

“We decided on stainless steel as opposed to aluminum,” Tran said. “Stainless steel would last better than aluminum.”

 

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