Well, today was a tiny Victory for Studio V (did you see what I did with the V there?). We have been fully immersed in a flurry of red sawdust and concrete crumbs since last Monday, working to erect a full-scale section of the wall to be built in Corrine Jones Park, and today our deadline was met. With wall segments, bench slats, trusses, and louvers in place, multiple visitors came to critique our ideas now given tangible form.
Among the guests were John Moore, a structural engineer who has aided us in making our structure safe and sound, Dustin Clemens, a landscape architect from the Charleston Dept. of Parks who has overseen our project from the beginning, and Jim Martin, the director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy who has also guided our design from the beginning. Along with a few others, our “Big 3,” as I like to call them, pointed out some of their concerns and shared some ideas in how to straighten some of the kinks we found in the mini-construction phase of our mock-up.
The main issues that were noted concerned the concrete pours. One was the problem of our formwork bowing as the weight of the concrete in each wall segment pressed out, and another was the consistency of the finish and hard edges along the segment faces. After some discussion, however, it was decided that the combination of a more dependable concrete source (i.e. a concrete truck mixed by professionals rather than hand-mixed concrete done by Studio V), a better method of vibrating the mix into the corners of our boxes, and a sturdier construction of formwork would do the trick. Basically, consistency + compaction + durability = success for the wall segments.
After the guests went home and the final critiques were slowly making their way into our brains, there was an excitement in the air as we all started realizing this truth: we finally have the green light to begin final construction! At this point there are no more major changes, no more question marks, and no turning back. The rest of our studio time was spent looking at the calendar in order to set deadlines that we need to meet in order to make the final deadline of Monday, November 21. On that day there will be great cheers to be heard resounding throughout the streets of Wagener Terrace, not only from the residents of the neighborhood who will be able to enjoy this masterpiece, but also from the members of Studio V who, with turkey and dressing on the brain and satisfaction in our hearts, will finally take a deep breath and a break. Until then, the deadlines are approaching, but the end is in sight.
[bandaged] Thumbs up!