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Dominican Republic Work Days
The past two days have been focused on pushing the design for the retreat facility into a position to present to the church tonight. The entire project does not have to be completed by tonight. However, all of the major design and church feedback must be completed prior to leaving. In a typical design process all of the major decisions and coordination usually happen between disciplines over the course of weeks and months. Not here. We only have days! During this part of the trip we only stop working for meals, the occasional trip out to gather more information, and to do some devotionals/praise and worship. The team is scattered all over the church trying to find areas with power and a flat surface to work on. Daniel and I are working in the Sunday school classroom for 5- to 6-year-olds with the architectural team. There is one person working at the secretary’s desk. Some are working on their cots which they sleep on (in Sunday school classrooms), while others are in the sanctuary. I have attached a few pictures. Around 9:00pm tonight we will start a presentation to the church members on all of the different aspects of the project. It will be a time to show which parts of their visions we were able to accommodate in the design, and which parts need some decision making. We will look at everything for architectural building design, water lines, power, types of roads, access points, master planning, phasing of construction, costs, etc… Sometimes these meetings can take over three hours depending on how much feedback the church members have for the design team. In terms of the structural section our portion of the presentation, it is typically short. We will highlight the three main design considerations for this project which are a very high seismic region, frequent hurricanes, and a sloped site which has a deep layer of expansive soils. All of these considerations will be incorporated into our final design to provide resilient structures, which will be safe for all who enter and will be as economical as possible based on the site conditions. Most of our structural design will be completed at home after the trip. The reason is that we were not able to move full force into the final construction documents since the church still has to provide feedback on the architectural designs for all of the buildings. In the structures we are designing with nearly every major type of building material. We have timber, confined masonry, steel, and reinforced concrete. Our foundations have to be more robust then I was hoping due to the slope and depth of expansive clay, so we have significant foundation design work in front of us. In the end it is a joy to invest in something like this. We have witnessed first hands the lives that are being changed. From providing cheap water to saving people’s lives from drugs, this church is heavily focused on the poorest and most needy people.
Filed Under: Community, Engineering
Posted by noblestudios on September 30, 2011 1:11 PM
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