Post by Brian Hedberg, BA 2011, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Friday, March 16th, 2012
Day 6. The last "official day. With an impending deadline and a project that looked far from finished, we decided to get up early Friday morning to get a jump on the day. We still needed to lay the third floor and assemble about three quarters of the outer layer (the skin). The third floor was scary work. Because of the building's angle, I needed to lean out over the 20 ft precipice to hold 2x4s in place for Paul to anchor in place. For Paul, this either meant stretching and contorting his body on top of the existing third floor truss supports, or doing the same while scaling a scaling a monstrous ladder. Meanwhile, Adam, Charley, Cyrus, Omar, and Eddie were wailing on the skin, and Sam, a RAW student from a previous year led a team of Oaxacanos to remove the wood arch support from the tunnel that had been made the previous day.
At the end of the day I was exhausted and a little bit disappointed that we didn't finish, but also relieved that the end was in sight– that we wouldn't be leaving the kids of San Pablo with an unfinished leaning tower of death. This may sound like a joke, but as the project pushed higher and higher into the sky without any railings or siding, there was a general sense that we were building a terrifying (or terrifyingly fun) playground. This sentiment died a little bit as the skin went up, but I still have my suspicions that building would pass through all the red tape in the US.
Near sundown, we rushed from the sight to a pizza party at the funky, modern home of U of Minnesota Architecture professor Lance Lavine in downtown Oaxaca. The U of M students had gathered to see a presention on our project. It was a hilarious impromptu presentation that featured about as many pictures of Omar's hair or me making weird faces as it did shots of our project. It was nonetheless gratifying to the fruits of our week's labor examined and presented to other architecture students, many of whom seemed jealous that we were able to build something real, instead of studio models. Or perhaps they envied our mustaches, which were clearly bushier and more numerous than theirs. Either way, it was a good night, with surprisingly good pizza, guac, salad, and cervezas for all.