Construction General

Crane City

Solar Decathlon Village as seen across Tidal Basin at dusk

Here, I navigate by cranes.

Finding one’s way in New York’s grid is simple, but in DC, I am off-kilter in this maze of monuments, pedestrian footpaths, man-made/natural waterways and streets. So, I follow the cranes, the towering makeshift monuments, to the Solar Decathlon Village.

Models that we have seen over the course of the competition are now full scale, renderings are real. After nearly two years of planning, drawing, changing our minds, drawing again and building, finally being on the Mall at the Solar Decathlon is an almost unreal experience filled with excitement, anticipation and a little bit of fear.

Although a few of the houses arrived almost fully finished, many teams are hustling to finalize their homes. Whereas the first few days were filled with big moves made by large cranes (not us! we relied on a lull.

to move parts of our house), now everyone is focused on the details. Last night, Appalachian State was moving hay bales, Team New Zealand was busy with interior work. Over at Empowerhouse, last night’s crew was devoted to the completion of most of the painting and casework installation.

Every afternoon I arrive onsite, I cannot help but think how lucky I am and how exciting this is; competing in the Solar Decathlon is an invaluable experience, one so few architecture students receive. The opportunity to see our design, as well as those of our competitors, at full-scale, teaches us so much, highlights where we went right, and where, alas, we did not. Building, deconstructing and re-assembling the house on a tight schedule has shown us not only how things are made but also about phasing and fast decision-making.

Although seeing those huge arms in action is riveting, a dwindling number of cranes onsite means the competition is edging ever-nearer, and that, is even more exciting. There is much work left to do until the start, so crane-watching is out, detailing is in; I’m going to keep my head down.

This entry was posted in Construction, General and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.