Laurentian architecture students ready to show off Aurora Borealis project

A team of Laurentian University architecture students are ready to compete in the Winter Stations design competition.

Team worked tirelessly for 3 weeks to get structure ready for Toronto competition

Laurentian architecture school director Terrance Galvin holds his son, Gabriel, beside students Danielle Kastelein and Matt Hunter in front of their winter installation project. (Samantha Lui/CBC)

A team of Laurentian University architecture students are ready to compete in the Winter Stations design competition.

The school is one of seven participating in Toronto where they'll face off against schools such as Ryerson University and the Ontario College of Art and Design. 

Laurentian is bringing a structure known as Aurora Borealis, which features hanging fabric tubes that heat and cool according to weather conditions. 

Danielle Kastelein is one of six Laurentian students who helped build the project and told CBC News the structure was intended to get people engaged. 

"It's whimsical. It's lots of fun to play with and really, people from all ages will be able to interact with the installation have a good time," she said.

"We've been going around the clock almost the past three weeks trying to get this assembled and now that we've actually put it up and it's all together, we had to take a step back and we were in shock as to the fact that it was all put together."

The team has had to work 14 to 16 hour days in order to sew 150 tubes together.

From left, the Aurora Borealis design team consists of Matthew Hunter, Danielle Kastelein, Andrew Harkness, Trevor D'Orazio, Chris Baziw and seated below is Ra'anaa Brown. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)
"It's an aluminum structure which has a three-tier system. It's a wheel on each layer. The wheel turns by touch so you can grab one of these fabric tubes which hang off these wheels and you can turn the entire structure," the student explained. 

"Once you touch the tubes, what happens is the actual colour of the tubes change according to your touch. It's based on a thermochromic pigment, which we've put into the paint to be applied onto the fabric." 

The project is ready for competition but will have to withstand being displayed outside in the midst of a southern Ontario winter. Each structure will be placed on a beach along Lake Ontario for people to see. 

The exhibition is running from Feb. 15 to March 20 in Toronto's Beach neighbourhood.


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