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  • The University of Utah

    College of Architecture + Planning

    375 S. 1530 E., Rm. 332 Arch

    SLC, UT 84112

  • (801) 585-5354

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    Pleased as Punch

    We came in full force to site today, armed and dangerous (leaving only Adam and Christie at home to cook). Thanks to Katja’s impeccable organization efforts as we push toward completion of the house, we posted our first draft punch list today.  It seemed a monumental thing, taping that paper to the wall and beginning to check items off the list.  Could we really be here?  Close enough to see, almost taste, completion?  We still have some major items holding us back from gliding uninterrupted to the finish line, but as students had some free moments here or there, they made sure to check an item or two off the list.  Some of the “big ticket items” accomplished today were the second of three concrete countertops being flipped, the final few walls being plastered, and the northwest alcove rafters going up.


    Our clients pose for a photo in front of their home

    The first item of business was flipping the north countertop in the kitchen.  Weighing at least a couple hundred pounds, it was a massive effort by the majority of our group to get it prepped (formwork removed, etc), flipped and in place (some lifting from the sides, others pushing and stabilizing, and others underneath pushing from below).  Due to a little pep talk and some good coordination it was a smoother process than any of us expected.  Two down, one to go!

    It was a plaster party today as lime plaster went up in the kitchen around the built-ins, tadelakt and lime went up in the bathroom, and clay went up on one final wall in one of the bedrooms.  Thanks to Herculean efforts by Hiroko, Julia, Eric, and others who helped here and there in this long process, all walls are finally done, save for touch-ups.  I was able to try my hand at plastering for the first time today, thanks to encouragement from Hiroko.  She stressed the point that, for lots of us, this may be the only chance we get to plaster . . . ever.  Hiroko made it look so easy – when I gave it a try, thinking I was mimicking her arm movements perfectly, I felt pretty silly when the first big glob of clay fell straight off my trowel to the plastic below!  Still, I enjoyed it very much.  As Mojdeh, Diego, Jaebom and I completed that wall we had a chance to get a little nostalgic, realizing that in just a little over a week, we won’t be seeing each other every day as we have the past 4 months.  It’s a weird thought.  We will soon be parting to go our separate ways for the summer – for employment opportunities, travel, conferences, and even a wedding.  It makes these final days that much more important and makes me want to savor every one!


    Julia, Eric and Drew painstakingly plaster around the built-ins on the wall in the kitchen

    After Fausto’s amazing tile work in the shower, it’s hard to believe it could get any sleeker, but the application of the final layer of charcoal Tadelakt (finished with soapy water and smooth stones…and lots of elbow grease by Julia and Fausto!) was the perfect complement to the light tiles.  Sneak preview below, the full unveiling to come!


    Super-woman Hiroko and her plastering apprentice-in-training, Konny

    Katja and Fausto began laying the tiles for the wood stove in preparation for the final layers of the earthen floor to be installed.  The tiles will not only help support the weight of the stove, but will also help disperse the heat throughout the home. Katja made some nice diagrams that looked like artwork, and even found some little sprouts growing in our floor.  That’s a multi-purpose use for the space I don’t think ANY of us anticipated!


    Katja filling in the area marked out for the wood stove base with mortar

    Scott led the charge on the rafter installation.  Although the typical hiccups slowed the process at the beginning of the day, the roof team made quick work of getting the remainder of the rafters up over the northwest alcove in the afternoon.  No longer do we rely on renderings to visualize what these alcoves will look like – we now have the real deal!  It is so satisfying to look back at the drawing set we had at the beginning of the process and know what the spaces feel like now in person and in full scale.  This house was mere thoughts and ideas not terribly long ago, and now it is a real entity which has had an immeasurable impact on individuals and communities near and far.  THAT is what I love about architecture.


    Multiple teams of busy students accomplishing various tasks around the house


    When all was said and done, we left the site feeling proud of what we accomplished today.  Now, for a revised punch list and back at it tomorrow!