March 19th, 2012
I just completed the final permit drawings for the wall and as you can see the design has changed from the initial concept of having a single, monolithic wall with bottles stacked on top of each other to a more modular wall with square segments. As our deadline approached, we were able to calculate the total number of bottles likely to be in the wall. With 12,000 bottles, I went to a single layer layout with each segment in a frame to allow individual unique designs. This allows us to vary the density of the bottles used to accommodate more or less bottles. The design also gives structural support and stability to the bottles for handling and the final installation.
We are also using a low-voltage lighting system with 20 or 50 watt lights mounted at the base of each panel. This should alleviate the problems of getting a separate electrical permit, although the lights may not be as bright. We are doing some testing now on the lights to make sure we can get the effect we need at night.
Overall I am pleased with the way the design evolved. Outdoor installations are inherently problematic because of the weather (rain, wind, sun, heat) but with the challenge comes the opportunity to build something significant. I’ll be trying to maintain a schedule of 1 panel per day so that we can finish in time for a May 2 opening. More construction details are forthcoming, so if this kind of stuff interests you, stay tuned!