Week 53 (From down to up)

Pat Metheny - The Way Up Though it was only scheduled to take six months, the digging, building, filling, and finishing the foundation took pretty much the whole of 2008.  That’s a long time to spend on the down part of the project.  For 2009, we’ll be doing the up part of the project: cutting and stacking blocks to make the walls, building a roof, laying in doors and windows, and, if all goes well, moving in some serious acoustic materials and audio equipment.  I can’t wait!

(The image to the left is not a construction photo.  It’s a whimsical reference to Pat Metheny’s album The Way Up, which I happen to like very much, and which, having selected the theme of this blog posting, makes a great musical background track.  And if you like it, check out the NPR interviews of March 7 2005 and March 29 2005.)

To prepare for this change of direction, from digging down to building up, the site itself must be reconfigured.  The first order of business is to lay in power for the temporary workshop we’ll be building next to the studio.  And of course the tool of choice for trenching in a new power line is the Ditch Witch:

ditchwitch.jpg

When we start laying up the blocks, were going to need something to tie them to.  So we have another ton of rebar to install, much thicker than what we used to reinforce the slab:

thickrebar.jpg

The same steel from a different perspective:

longrebar.jpg

I’m so glad that steel prices are down so much since last summer!

Here’s the new staging area for the blocks:

workshop1.jpg

The first nine cubes of blocks are air-drying, and as we use up each cube we’ll put in another cube to begin drying.  These blocks will be ready for cutting on Monday.  In the rear left corner of the workshop you can see what looks like a hose.  It’s actually a heavy-duty power cable that will power the cement saw we’ll use to mitre the blocks.  The first order of business is to build the Music Room.

Here’s another view of the workshop area showing how rich the blocks look when the sun decides to shine:

workshop2.jpg

Now, if you’ve been following the construction, you know that there’s an all-important grid that defines pretty much where everything goes.  Before we poured the slab you could see the grid expressed in the rebar pattern.  Now that the slab is smooth concrete we need to re-establish our grid lines.  That’s what’s going on here:

grid1.jpg  Grid Cut–Corner  grid33.jpg

Finally, here’s an overview of how the work will flow from the block library through the workshop and ultimately into place:

workshop3.jpg

If the weather holds, we’ll be cutting block and building up the first parts of the first walls on Monday.

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