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Shanghai – Week 13

Hello everyone,

I wasn`t planning on having a blog entry this week but something happened a few days ago that sparked a burning desire to write.

But firstly I have to give a few details about how my division works:
– we get new projects monthly;
– if it`s big, we brainstorm (the 7 of us)
– if it`s small, the project manager will just appoint someone to take care of it.
– when I got here, I took over 2 projects. Recreation buildings – 400-1000mp. Now I have a chapel and a residential P+6
– there are weekly deadlines to show the progress to our project managers.
– there are bimonthly deadlines to show the progress to the clients.

So when I got here my PM (project manager) asked me to take on a project. At the same time he wanted to make sure he has at least one usable solution in case I fail miserably so he appointed another colleague to do the same thing.

My project got the vote to go on to the next stage, and with that I got a second site on which I had to propose something similar. Given that the sites are almost connected, the buildings had to have at least the same concept. So the second idea was to use a different material for the facade.

Fast forward 2 months and allot of meetings later and I now have a finished version of what they are going to build there. What`s left now is to make the landscape architects understand what I intended to do there, and stop them from messing up everything I`ve done. (to give you an idea: i`ve invested 1 week of my time into planning every detail so that they don`t have to, everyone in the office was really happy with the outcome, and the landscape company probably gave the project to the to a newbie; “here … have a go at it, maybe you can have a career boost”. It was so bad, one face-palm was not enough)

Even at the time I`m writing this entry, we still have to make them reuse key elements of my design. I`m not going to point the mistakes out in the text but my architect friends will spot them fairly easily.

The first project`s dominant material is the wood, and with it I had to come up with a recreational space for eight P+18 residential buildings. In less than 500m2 I had to fit a billiards room, table tennis, mahjong and ample reading space.

The outside was designed to accommodate the same functions and then some. Given the fact that this whole area is being developed as we speak, there were allot of changes involving main access roads and the position of the access gates so I`m really happy we managed to control the major direction of the landscape design, so far.

For the second project I had to make use of local brick (and patterns) to shape a 750m2 building with almost the same specifications as the previous one. The same activities but with allot more space available for the outside play and recreational area.

For both buildings the concept was the TANGRAM. (the square divided so that the resulting pieces can form a variety of shapes). This concept was selected by the client and I had to run with it. The second thing I had to take into consideration was that these two sites needed to be functional parks but with a twist: people should be able to walk on the building. This was harder to achieve due to the residential parking level that stretched just about everywhere.

I playing with various heights, ramps and stairs I managed to obtain children-friendly protected area around the building. This went on to become a major selling point in our design. The kids were safe to run around and do what they do best, without the fear of cars or motorcycles getting in their way.

At this point we are still negotiating with the landscape company so there will be changes, but overall I`m satisfied with the outcome.

And to get to the spark that generated this entry:

While in the conference room with all the people that will handle my project form now on, we went through landscape design proposals, facade reviews, overall costs and in the end they showed us the structural calculations for the more challenging building.

I think childbirth is the only feeling that can come close to what I felt that moment. A 5 seconds burst of joy. It`s the moment you know it`s getting real. They are building my ideas!

It`s like Davis says in the 1st season of Treme: “Shit be mine!”

And to add a cherry on top of that, the proposal for a modern chapel just got approved by the client so things are looking pretty good!

By the time October comes I`ll be “full steam ahead” with a lust for bigger projects and more teamwork.

And on this bombshell I wish all of you an outrageous summer! It`s going to be a blast!

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