Sculptural Bike Racks Designed by Industrial Design Students and Faculty Installed at JCSM Museum

“Three sculptural bicycle racks were installed at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art during May’s National Bike Month, giving museum visitors a place to park their rides.

The museum’s assistant director, Andy Tennant, said the museum needed an innovative place for students and visitors to secure their bicycles. The museum collaborated with Auburn industrial and graphic design students and faculty to design a bicycle rack that maintains the artistic integrity of a museum, but also incorporates the necessary functions of a bicycle rack.

“Museum goers will have an experience with art from the moment they arrive when viewing ‘Cyclers,’” Tennant said.

Jerrod Windham, an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Graphic Design, supervised and worked with students to execute the project. In the beginning stages, the team drew inspiration from everyday objects like a slinky and a picture frame, before deciding on the final shape of a racing cyclist in profile. When a visitor’s bicycle is locked on the form, it becomes part of the sculpture.

Students did research on many existing bike racks and the varying shapes of bicycles before developing the initial concepts,” Windham said. “Ultimately, the main functional requirement of a bike rack is a closed shape allowing for a secure lock. That’s pretty simple. The client wanted something sculptural and unique, so form was equally as important as function.”

Windham said that the design and implementation process was typical of what students might experience in their professional careers.

“I have rarely worked on a project that went perfectly, and this was no exception,” Windham said. “The first prototype had too much spring due to a cantilevered design. Real world constraints forced us to make changes. Dealing with unforeseen issues and working directly with a client and budget is an extremely valuable experience.”

Dylan Piper-Kaiser designed and built the initial wood prototype, which was then passed on to Sakthi Kandaswaamy of Focus Engineering, LLC to help with the fabrication of the final units.

Windham said he hopes that the bicycle racks’ playful design will encourage more people to ride to school and work.

“In addition, the racks are made of steel, one of the most recycled materials on the planet,” he said. “The excess material left over from the fabrication can be utilized on other projects by the fabricator.”

The museum is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Admission is free courtesy of the museum’s business partners.

Click here for more information about the museum.

(Contributed by Charlotte Hendrix.)

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Jerrod Windham