Hoop House

Fall 2016  |  2 Month Long Project  |  Completed in a group of 6

Our task for this assignment was to design and construct a small portable greenhouse that could fit over a 10'x3' concrete planting box. We were supplied with metal conduit and heat-shrink plastic, and using these materials, along with basic hardware, such as screws, bolts, and washers, we successfully built our prototype and installed it on the roof of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh.

My team's greenhouse featured a double layer design. This allowed for heat to get trapped between the two layers causing condensation to form on the interior. It also gives the plants more protection from snow that could pile up on the outer layer. The convention center sits right on the Allegheny River, so the roof gets a lot of wind. We gave our hoop house a very rounded design, in order for it to be more aerodynamic. This also allows for rainwater to run off the greenhouse more easily.

 
A final look at our hoop house after installation. The roof of the convention center offered spectacular views of the city!

A final look at our hoop house after installation. The roof of the convention center offered spectacular views of the city!

Before getting approval for final construction, our team had to create a series of shop drawings. A selection of them are featured here.

Before getting approval for final construction, our team had to create a series of shop drawings. A selection of them are featured here.

We designed a handle that could slide back to lock the inner layer in the upright position.

We designed a handle that could slide back to lock the inner layer in the upright position.

This drawing shows the geometry of both layers, as well as how the inner layer pivots for access.

This drawing shows the geometry of both layers, as well as how the inner layer pivots for access.

These diagrams show how the elements interact with the hoop house.

These diagrams show how the elements interact with the hoop house.

Because these greenhouses are not going to be used for the whole year, they had to be easily storable. This drawing shows how the four segments of our house can come apart and stack together for easy storage.

Because these greenhouses are not going to be used for the whole year, they had to be easily storable. This drawing shows how the four segments of our house can come apart and stack together for easy storage.

We also had to make sure ahead of time that our design would fit in the truck that we'd be taking it to the convention center in. Luckily the materials were very light-weight, so it was easily transportable.

We also had to make sure ahead of time that our design would fit in the truck that we'd be taking it to the convention center in. Luckily the materials were very light-weight, so it was easily transportable.

Before we completed our final construction, we also had to construct a model at 1'=2" scale.

Before we completed our final construction, we also had to construct a model at 1'=2" scale.

A time-lapse of our team constructing the final hoop house

With the sun shining though our hoop house, you can really see the double layer design.

With the sun shining though our hoop house, you can really see the double layer design.

A plant's-eye view of the inside of the hoop house.

A plant's-eye view of the inside of the hoop house.

Our fantastic team, smiling because installation is done!

Our fantastic team, smiling because installation is done!