The moment you take control of your project…

There comes a point on a self-build that you feel in control, assertive, this is the way I want this bit done.

Even as an architect it’s easy to lose control and feel as if things aren’t getting done the way you want or like them.

This is such a defining moment where I said “This is the way that this should be done.” I’ll admit I was nervous as the concrete contractor had a tough disposition and didn’t like to be told how to do things; he’d almost completed the formwork the way he thought it should look and had to undo some of the work. But hey, you are entitled to get the job done correctly.

It was a tricky junction, where the grass roof sails over the front of the house, is held back by the concrete roof and upstand and then turns to meet an angled retaining wall.

The detail section is shown below, even seeing this it’s tricky to work out how this turns to meet the wall. Compounded by a lot of stuff happening at this junction (layer upon layer of material, drainage, dummy steel beam, brise soleil etc…), the only way to work it out was through sketches and actually placing the formwork in place to show how the detail will work.

Section detail

Section detail at roof junction (drawn with Vectorworks)

What’s tricky in this situation (and with all concrete pours) is that you’re not working out what you will see, instead you are resolving effectively the opposite of what you will see; in effect you are creating the jelly mold for how the resulting jelly will look.

Anyways, it turned out the way I wanted and from that moment on I felt in control of the project – that’s not to say that I didn’t make mistakes along the way. What you as a client are now getting are the benefits of the mistakes that I made. Being an architect that knows how to build and has built is a great benefit.

Concrete roof & beam detail

Detail showing grass on concrete roof, dummy steel beam, Red cedar brise soleil and drainage.

If you saw yesterdays post on The Bits of the House that Never Got Done the drainage hole is another instance of this, but watch this space, 6 years later something may be happening…

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