i’m giving this whole “blog” thing a try. Amy has put me to shame. Hopefully i’ll be posting more frequently… and definitely not about work.
I’ve thrown a few photos into this post to help illustrate my ramblings. The first photo was the end of May 2007, the 2nd photo was from spring 2008, and the final photo taken on a few weeks ago…
I just finished up a construction project that kept me busy for the past 22 months. My main task was managing the structural rebar and post-tension cabling in a 4,600 car underground concrete parking garage. (if you’re curious and have a little time on you hands… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prestressed_concrete can fill you in on PT concrete)
Today, the whole garage sits buried underneath a sports field and Common buildings with food vendors and conference rooms (which I also worked on)
YouTube has a pretty cool video about the project, along with some techo music.… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb8cgDsAn9s
and the SeattleTime had a recent article about the Commons. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoft/2009086103_microsoftcampus20.html
So, I’ve started a new project, but I have been thinking a lot about what I just finished up.
A garage isn’t particularly glamorous, and it doesn’t really get more glamorous when it gets bigger. It is still just a parking garage and feels very much like an afterthought to everyone who will work on that campus. I have come to realize that most people never look up at the ceiling of the home, office, church, museums, and certainly not a parking garage. Most of those who do look up have worked in construction.
It is finished now, and it is with some strange emotions that I move on. I suspect that this will be true with all of the projects that I work on. I feel proud, and relieved, and decidedly ready to work on something (anything) else. It is strange to pass off ownership of a building to a client and walk away. I think all of us become a little possessive of the projects we work on. I feel a little jealous when I see employee’s parking in their own garage, and I don’t think I am the only one.
I reviewed, ordered, and checked every piece of rebar and cable that was placed in this garage. There are 13 million pounds of rebar and almost 400 miles of PT cable and I walked every foot of it, over and over and over again. When I walk through the garage today I see a structure of rebar and tendons instead of the white paint and parking stalls… I am cursed with a x-ray vision for what is below the surface. I don’t walk through the garage and see a final product. I see a collection of problems, steps towards solutions, frustrations, arguments, daily grind, long hours, and massive human effort. I guess I feel like I’m missing the forest for the trees. I don’t know if I will ever see it as a finished product. I hope that my work isn’t always like that…
I’m off to a new project, helping to building Amazon.com’s corporate headquarters. I’m looking forward to something new…. I will check back in with everyone in 2011 and let you know how it went.