07 September 2009


Under reconstruction

School construction 3 at Flickr.comLike other children across the continent, my daughters return to school tomorrow. I'm hoping the school is ready for them.

All during the 2008–2009 school year, construction crews performed a seismic upgrade to the building. The school district set up some portable classrooms on the upper field, and the kids rotated through using them while different classrooms in the structure were rebuilt. By June, the crews seemed to be finishing up, reaching the last class.

But then, over the summer, the building was further gutted, and even this past week there were still heaps of construction materials fenced off in the schoolyard. Old light fixtures littered the grounds and interior, the gym was filled with workers and dust and mess, and there were ominous pits dug here and there.

The men have been working furiously, including Saturdays, to get the school ready for tomorrow's onslaught. I'm sure there was a lot of overtime paid this Labour Day weekend. Yet I'll be interested to find out what state the school is in tomorrow. Maybe they worked some miracles.

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29 May 2007


Building a fortress with medieval techniques

Jean-Hugues pointed me to this fascinating project in France, which he describes as...

...the incredible building site of the castle of Guédelon, in Burgundy. A non-profit organization is building a 13th century fortress, using only middle age technology. They started in 1997 and they hope the work will be finished by 2025. Around the building site, there is a little medieval village with the workshops of the craftworkers: carpenters, metal workers, rope makers, potters, and even a farm, with authentic middle-age pigs. Amazing!

The thought of taking nearly 30 years to construct a building is so antithetical to modern life—even the Empire State Building went up in little more than a year—that we forget that all sorts of big structures used to take that long.

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