Having the opportunity to be involved in the day-to-day construction process of a building is similar to giving birth. Okay, okay… that might be a bit of an overstatement. But anyone who sits near me in the office can attest to the grunting, fist-pounding, and whimpers coming from my cube. It is an amazing feeling to witness the evolution of a building – from a pencil sketch to something you can touch, use, and experience. But the path from ground-breaking to ribbon-cutting has many ups and downs.
Two years ago, I began designing Richardson Fire Station #4 with a pencil and a series of small chipboard models, and now it is scheduled to open in the next month. For the past year, I have been visiting the construction site regularly, so I see the building differently than others who will walk through it for the first time after its completion. You know that wall that you just walked past without giving a second thought? I remember it as a near-disaster that took weeks of effort between the Contractor and me to resolve. You may have noticed how the sprinkler pipes are nicely centered between the exposed beams, but did you notice that they also align with the window mullions… how about the fact that one of the pipe elbows is on the left side while the others are on the right? Unfortunately for me, I know all the things that didn’t quite turn out perfectly. But I also know many of the beautiful “secrets” about the building – like how at just the right time of day, the sun grazes the stone wall in a very special way or the perfect spot to sit in the courtyard in the summer and not get too hot.
Though there will be mistakes and temper tantrums along the way, it is very rewarding to see your project “grow up”. It is bittersweet to say goodbye to a building as it gets built and the owners move in… but at least there are no more diapers to change.
POSTED BY: CHRIS SANO