From concept to realization the 2012 project dubbed “Crash” is a one-of-a-kind complex creation.

The project was intended to simulate a crashed sci-fi rocket ship as can be seen in the original concept sketch.
Crash concept diagram

The concept was developed by weighing numerous variables but mostly with the aesthetics of the site and the interaction potential with numerous other site features in the vicinity. Crash was to be located at the Midlothian Castle alongside numerous “screaming heads” and other large scale concrete installations as well as the previous Pyramid project and a variety of other elements which lead to the feel of a collection artifacts from bygone civilizations. The potential for adding to this canvas and creating the largest surreal new development for this growing mythical storyline provided the drive to push this concept forward to completion.

Crash rendering
Above is a functional rendering of the project. Check out the 3D model (If you have difficulty help is here.) Below is the actual installation ready for sound, lighting, and special effects installation.

Crash with spaceship cover
Crash is now a large scale, roughly 4,000 ft^2, functional, art installation standing nearly 40′ tall. Crash was unveiled in September 2012. Following is a bit more about the project development.

During the conceptual development phase of the Crash project, in 2011, site requirements were identified and site selection began. After weighing concept, possible scale, aesthetic impact, and feasibility a location and orientation were selected.

Here’s the chosen Crash site location
Grassy field site

After pulling the topsoil away and shaving down the sub surface an excavator and transom were used to establish elevations for the Crash pad.
Excavator leveling side

Working with the material on site the excavator establishes the Crash pad with stockpiles of the removed topsoil  waiting for redistribution.
Excavator in dirt

Site work is almost finished and the topsoil is redistributed to blend the pad back into the surrounding topology. Note the scale of the site with the excavator in the background.

The finished site work on the Crash pad, measuring 60+ feet wide and over 100 ft long, this will be the home for the Crash projects roughly 4,000 ft^2 footprint on the ground.

Ground cover was then seeded and the site allowed to settle and regenerate over the winter in preparation for the Crash superstructure assembly scheduled for the spring of 2012.

Simultaneously Crash development was put into full swing and taken from concept to specific plans. 3D models of the project were developed and materials requirements for the superstructure were finalized and ordered. By early 2012 10,000 linear feet of 1 1/4″ steel tubing was ordered and delivered to the fabrication site at 91B.
Tiger lying on tubing

The fabrication process was developed based on the process developed for the preceding Pyramid Project, new tools were developed for the added needs of manufacturing more specialized structural members, The production lines were stet up, detailed manufacturing instructions were developed, and packing and shipping lists were generated. Once the fabricators were trained, the superstructure component fabrication began. Within 1 week the Crash superstructure was not only fabricated but shipped and stowed on site in preparation for assembly.

In addition to the superstructure the Crash project has a membrane component. While waiting for just the right moment to assemble the superstructure membrane design, materials selection, and materials sourcing began. After some diligent design and review sessions in parallel with manufacturer/distributors a membrane design was finalized. The installation membrane required some 20,500 ft^2 of technical material to be ordered to accommodate the membrane design and membrane fabrication was scheduled to take place after the superstructure assembly.

Crash frame assembly
The superstructure assembly for Crash was a challenging endeavour. Due to scheduling and environmental constraints, as well as the sheer scale of the project, the assembly was broken apart into a few different assembly sessions. Start to finish assembly time was roughly a full week of long days with the help of a 20 ton crane, a scissor lift, and numerous dedicated construction crew members.

Crash tail section
Once the superstructure was assembled cover fabrication again became a top priority for further Crash development.

Crash template
Careful planning and detailed patterning, on clear heavy gauge plastic sheeting, allowed the dedicated cover fabrication crew to manufacture the cover in just one full week. This was a challenging task given the size of the cover in relation to the manufacturing floor. The main fabrication floor was a mere 60′ long while the main cover sections for crash were some 90′ long.

Crash cover section

Just one ‘finger’, the part that covers between 2 fins on the structure, of the main Crash cover consumes nearly the entire fabrication floor.

Main cover

Once the cover was fabricated and on site it was unpacked and prepared next to the Crash structure.

Covering Crash

The main cover, weighing roughly 600 pounds, was lifted into place with an articulating boom. Once in place finer adjustments were made from below with a scissor lift as the cover was rolled into place.

Adding fin covers to Crash

With the main cover roughly aligned the fin cover sections were put into place and the entire cover was laced together and tied down with 1.5Km of high tensile cord allowing the cover to ‘float’ over the structure while maintaining it’s shape. Expansion joints were finally cinched down to minimize billowing and the process gave way to sound, light, and effects installation.

Tail effects at Crash
The tail of Crash was fitted with 3 large light cannons and a fog generator which can be seen poking out from the centre of the fin array in the photo above.

Inside Crash

Photo of interior by Robert Babicz

The interior was then fitted with a variety of lighting effects in preparation for a grand celebration.

Dancers in Crash celebrating
On September 15 2012 Crash made its debut. International DJ’s played to a continuously packed dance floor housing many hundreds of participants at a time.

Crash at dawn
As night gave way to day the surreal presence of Crash dominated the immediate landscape. Real and artificial fog swirled in fading red light as participants continued to come and go from the dance floor. Many thanks to all those who came and gave such a warm welcome to the arrival of Crash.

Today Crash is used without the cover as the event has scaled down.
Crash shell in red fog

Crash shell in streamers lit red at night
Harvest festival Crash page