Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bricks and Birds

Last week the mason had my brick walls and columns pressure-washed. The brickwork is not complete, but I'd say it's at about 90%; another round of pressure washing will occur later. The difference is striking. All the mortar that got smeared on the bricks as they were laid, making all the surfaces look chalky, is now completely gone, allowing the deep red color of the bricks to fully show. Here are some of my favorite recent shots of the brick walls (the "shell" of the Great Room), paired as "before and after":

A mistake in the pattern is visible here, along the top right half of the screening. The mason knows it. Of course it will be fixed..

Probably the best affirmation so far for me that the brick patterns are as they should be came early one morning. I stopped by the site on the way to work, and as I was photographing the newly cleaned brick walls I noticed that the chorus of birdsong filling my ears seemed to go very well with the brickwork filling my eyes. The music of the birds seemed like the perfect soundtrack for images of the brick. There's a shared orderliness and intricacy - at least. I noticed this while looking at the last view above. And now as I look at this picture I think the brick screening goes quite well with tree leaves too.

A lot is made of "matching" in our houses - matching carpet to walls, curtains to furniture, shutters to siding. But does the siding match the songs of birds? Does the roof go with leaves of trees? I think it can. I think mine does. This makes me very happy. One crucial test of a building is whether or not it sits well in nature.

The brick columns were cleaned too, but some were only half height at the time and have since been completed; hence the half-clean, half-chalky look of some of the columns in the shots below.

The perspective created by these columns is something I'm seeing for the first time - since all my drawings were two-dimensional. Of course I imagined the 3-D view in my head, but that can only go so far. It looks like my intention may actually work: that the perspective of all these columns - so close together, so tall, and all lined up - will have a special visual and experiential power.

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