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Mosaic Heroics

Drawing inspiration from the success of the mosaic compass that was created by the floor team, it was decided that a similar treatment would be utilized on the bathroom walls. Anyone with excess stress, which isn’t an uncommon occurance with time quickly slipping away, could take a little out by busting up some tiles to be used in the mosaic. The design was first laid out using tape, then the tile pieces were placed into the adhesive one by one creating the breathtaking effect you can see above. I have no doubt that this will be a real focal point of the completed building. While we are on the topic of bathrooms, the composting toilets were installed which proved to be a bit of a battle due to the requirements around venting. A lot of working around other’s completed tasks was required by Rob ‘stink pipe’ Hitchcock. This detail will probably be overlooked by the eventual beneficiaries of the pipe, but I’m certain they wouldn’t have been too happy had it not been taken care of properly.

Painting continued at a breakneck pace in the interior of the building. Drywall, trim and drab prefab panels were covered in warm greens and a bright white to ensure that the natural light made possible by the solar design of the building is fully optimized. It is a bit of a challenge to work around the wet paint but to make sure that we finish as much as possible before next week many things have to be going up at the same time.

The hempcrete that was mentioned last week began to find its way around the doors and windows this week. Mixing consistent batches on a smaller scale than we had for the wall in fill was a bit of a challenge but eventually we got it all finished. The nature of the material allows for much creativity in design on top of the insulating function, but we decided to keep it relatively simple. The interior sills and exterior frames will eventually be painted to achieve a nice visual contrast and quite a lot of care was taken to make sure they are nice smooth surfaces.

Hempcrete was also used in the bench that was constructed in the curved south section. Compressed earth blocks were stacked with a clay mortar to produce the structure of the bench while hempcrete with mixed with portland cement content this time to be used as the top of the bench. The portland was added here because there were concerns that hempcrete alone would not cure in time. I think the small increase in embodied energy is a small price to pay for some great looking seating for our opening ceremony next week. Below you can see the blocks that were sourced from Henry Wiersma and his amazing block compressing machine in Coburg emerging into the lovely bench seating.

One of the few remaining major tasks was the construction and installation of the interior doors. The two for the bathrooms were constructed from left over tongue and groove from the ceiling, and the office door was rescued from an early demise to be put back to work after some refinishing. Using the left over wood from the ceiling was not only a way to use up waste, it also allowed Jamie to take a chance and get creative which was a huge sucess.

We managed to take a half day off on Wednesday this week to participate in our very own career day! Participants of previous years courses along with a variety of other Sustainable Building related professionals were on hand to give us some helpful tips and insight into the next steps that confront us. The possibilities are many, and daunting so it was very reassuring to have this panel to ask questions to and borrow ideas from. Many thanks to all those who showed up to lend us their support.