The past two weeks we have been busy getting the facade sealed up, patio columns in place and preparing the site for the foundations of the next workshops.  All interior finishes are complete and Aaron, Ericka and Falcor are now happily living in Workshop 2 until they can move into Workshop 1.  The solid wall that the glassbricks will sit on has been constructed, and consists of three layers: 1) dirt-stabilized concrete  2) three courses of dirt-filled bottles 3) a thin concrete cap.  Our European interns and Aussie volunteers were very helpful in getting this part done.  Next we will frame out the semi-circular window and start to lay the glassbricks – the design will look similar to this sketch.

Additionally we have constructed the 7 patio columns that will support the patio roof.  After much debate we decided to change the original design of cut tire columns to concrete columns with glassbricks.  We did construct one tire column, and although we were happy with how it turned out we decided that they would be more appropriate in a large space where they aren’t cutting off any of the beautiful view.  Glassbricks made from square, rather than round, bottles were created especially for the square columns, and holes of the corresponding size were cut in the wood form work to allow the bottles to be cast in to the concrete.  The columns are remaining covered while they continue to dry and set.

After only four weeks of dirt removal we are ready to move forward on the excavated area! We have cleared the excess dirt in the way of construction and begun to layout the west side of the vocational workshops – a center bodega, workshop 3+4, and west bodega – 4 rooms in total.  The rooms will be the mirror image of what is built and we will improve upon the building techniques we have already experimented with and build quicker.  We will be digging the foundation this week, and shortly after laying the first course of tires.  We have been transporting hundreds of tires to the site and they are organized and ready to be turned into a building.

Finally, Cindie and I met with the Guatemalan architecture firm of 1/2Ambiente (pronounced medio ambiente, which means environment, www.ambientearquitectura) to discuss ways in which they might be able to support LWH’s work and construction.  Possibilities include design+construction advice, support in gaining government approval, connections to a new Guatemalan green building network and volunteers from Guatemalan architecture schools. We were very excited to meet them and learn about their work.