My client, Steve, is an oarsman, for whom the shape of the shells he rows has deep significance. He asked us to design a canopy for the rear of his house where he and his wife and daughter could eat outdoors in the summer. In our first meeting, we proposed a curved steel plate structure that would bring to mind the boats he loves. Our thought was that the translucent acrylic panels would overlap one another the way ripples overlap on the water.


Then we designed a travertine deck with built-in water supply stations that will allow the owners to plug in their wheeled dining table/bar at different locations around the site depending on their mood and the weather.


My skilled 2011 CMU intern, Jordan Parsons, introduced us to the “Rhino” plug-in, “Grasshopper. Then my team of 2012 CMU interns, led by Mike Jeffers, developed and tested Jordan’s preliminary model. Our software has permitted us to unfold the curved pieces, so creating templates for the metal fabricators has been relatively simple.