The last two weeks of the build have seen a lot of progress. The majority of the demolition is now completed. We have been able to recycle most of the old building. A certain amount has been taken by various people to be reused elsewhere and the rest has been crushed and will form the landfill for the parking areas, walkways and decking.
The first floor which was primarily timber frame in construction was dismantled by hand but for the ground floor the bulldozers moved in and it was both exciting and slightly concerning to see how easily the walls came tumbling down. We discovered that there were no ties in the main structure which means our decision not to use what was there already was the right one as the building was fundamentally unstable. It also had no insulation in the walls which explains why it was so very cold in the winter.
On Wednesday I went to meet the planning officer to pass over the samples of the external cladding for the building. This will be a combination of Larch (untreated and stained) and Render. Thursday morning we received the planning approval for the complete demolition of the building so can now remove the remaining walls.
Meanwhile the timber for the timber frame was delivered on Monday and at the time of writing four of the external ground floor walls have already been erected by Phil and his brilliant team.https://www.hmconstructionuk.co.uk
What has been interesting about the last week is how space perspectives change as the building changes. When the upstairs section was being stripped out so we could finally see into the eaves of the A Frame the space looked huge. However once we were down to the ground floor slab the space suddenly looked very small indeed. We were warned by our designer Tony that this would occur but it was quite unnerving when it happened. Yesterday I was looking at the space for the tower and said to Leigh – “there hardly seems space for a stair case in here” he laughed uproariously and said – “never fear, there is plenty”.
I did some research on this and found this is a common concern when foundations are laid.
It appears our sense of space depends on colour, perspective and material. So when you only have the foundations of a room you have very few reference points within the space. There will be reference points outside of the room but these tend to make the room feel smaller to the observer. Apparently once the room is constructed, the reference points get restricted to within the room and so the space starts to appear larger. In addition to this, the colour on the walls, height of the ceiling, and presence of windows and doors also affect the sense of scale.
So over the next few months we will experience changing dimensions a bit like Alice Through the Looking Glass – and I expect we will have some fun tea parties with the building team along the way.