Every now and then we see a dramatic change in the appearance of the house. Long periods pass when little shows on the outside, and than, Whammo! something big happens.
Last week the buttresses that will support the greenhouse wall ( or roof, maybe? I’m not sure how you know where a slanted wall becomes a roof…) came in. This was a very big day! Here is the first one getting a lift from the crane.
The steel buttresses weigh 2400 pounds, are 12 inches in depth, and nearly 48 feet long. It’s dangerous work, this matter of placing big pieces of steel exactly where they need to go. The general contractor moved his crew out of the way and left the job to the steel workers. It’s amazing how these men can take an enormous machine and perform delicate little adjustments with it.
Here, below, the buttresses are settled into place.
This is what they rest on:
The bolts are 1 inch in diameter. Note the adjustable bracket to create the proper angle with the roof (the real roof above the greenhouse), seen here:
Here is the view from the southwest, showing the four big buttresses in place:
It gives the house its final line — we can see the shape it will actually take. We knew this from the model we made, but it’s different to see it in actual stone and steel. It changes the proportion of things altogether. Shrinks the house to normal size, I think.
Meanwhile, around the north side, we can take a look at the back door.
This is kind of a ratty picture because of the work going on and the angle of the sun this time of year, but it will give you an idea of what we’re trying to do. The wooden forms are for the switch-back ramp that will provide no-stairs access to the attic. The bulky space beneath the ramp will be earth-filled, extending the earth-sheltering of the north side to include the second floor. Meanwhile, we’ve echoed the arch of the studio workshop in the arch of the attic entry. Trying to decide what to call this, I just looked up “portico” to see whether that word can apply to an entry without the colonnade I associate with Greek architecture. And I came up with this delightful noun, courtesy of Merrian-Webster: ambulatory: a sheltered place (as in a cloister or church) for walking. This is surely the ambulatory to the attic. It will have a little bench where a person can sit and take off the muddy boots, set the trash about to go into the recycle bin, or rest the load of provisions coming in. The door under the arch will be sheltered from wind and rain. It is, in all, a lovely ambulatory. And, yes, I think a portico can do without the colonnade.