Biblio (38) The angled deck


I am really interested in many things, but specially on those that are not a part of my daily work, but show an interesting way to reach an idea ; a bit what some call the sciences of design, but also a bit of the joy of changing the view looking at things as seriously as the boy who plays.

An angled deck is an aircraft carrier deck with two axis forming an angle, so its use is more efficient for a series of take-offs and landings. It appears after the end of WWII, and in an interesting way, nearly as much as the ideas developed in parallel but finally not adopted. On one side, jets are heavier and operate at higher speeds than previous navy planes, so some even propose flexible decks so planes could land without landing gears, so reducing their weight; on the other side there is a clear problem of space on such reduced decks, so airplane circulation has to be regulated as to ensure an adequate reaction speed. The angled deck allows to have two runways whose effective length is more than the addition of their individual lengths.

An interesting evolution of what in the end is a design problem base on which are the limits to how compact can a system used by different kinds of objects be, from the original idea of aircraft carrier, apparently first formulated by Clement Ader

The story, told by Hone, Friedman and Mandeles, deserves to be read, as it is an example of how to get to a simple concept through complex ways.

What to do on an acre (3)

The Dockwise Swan: a ship with an almost 1 acre platform to transport other ships. Dockwise image

This is a post with two parts, and the first belongs to the realm of the sheer joy of finding, as a boy, that you have your big toy truck, that can carry all your toys, and is hughe in size. Dockwise is a Dutch company that specialises in “creating superior value by realizing the inconceivable” in the heavy lift industry (most of the time for the oil industry). They do a thing that, having lived by a busy seaport for most of my life, I have seen sometimes: moving enormous objects from continent to continent. The Swan has a length of 180,96 meters and a deck space of 126,6×31,66 meters (almost an acre).

But lets recognise it, I’m a metric man, so I prefer the Blue Marlin, whose deck space is 178,20×63 meters (1,1 hectares). Or why not the Vanguard, with even more space (just see this video to feel how some 3.000 tons barges can be stacked as tetra bricks).

The Blue Marlin underway. Dockwise image

There are many things here that go beyond the sheer child joy, to enter the realm of the architecture and engineering. The first thing is how ingenuous the whole idea of these ships is: no crane would lift such heavy lifts, so instead the ship inmerses partially as to get under the load, and then rises to take it aboard. The second one is the relevance of the scale among elements in a composition as to transmit different ideas. Take, for instance, a US supercarrier: they are longer and wider than most of these ships, and they also have on board big heavy objects, but the airplanes seem, by comparaison, like small toy cars on your toy truck. These ships seem much bigger due to the size of the loads. They are definitely italian baroque…

I wonder what Aldo Rossi would have done with that instead of his Teatro del Mondo…but I would perharps prefer to see Archigram.

Anyway, you can also load you own aircraft carrier on top of the Blue Marlin (here loading the new HMAS Canberra for a Spain- Australia route)… Image taken from Juan Carlos Díaz Lorenzo’s Blog 

Towers 2- Santa Ana

Le Corbusier often mentioned ships as inspirational elements for his architecture. When I go through the Plaza de Santa Ana, I often think of ships, but with different references; the Me Hotel Madrid tower, dating from the begining of the XXth century and refurbished in 2006, makes me think of the new approach to antenna mast design in military ships, and specifically of the british Type 45 destroyer…

A British Type 45 destroyer