Construction Site Diary # 5 – First Month of Work

One night those resting in Kiev, Irpin, and Mariupol woke up to the roar of bombs and the sound of sirens; Hundreds of kilometers away, in the most exclusive hotels in the Engandine Valley, POS rejected the credit cards of Russian billionaires who were mad to see their pride hurt; A little further south I lay in bed for fear of the Italian government’s response to the international crisis: sending arms and increasing military spending to 40 billion a year means cutting other promises, which one? The fear of seeing one’s own city bombed is nothing compared to the fear of not being able to finish the house we have been working on for a year is enough to wake us up.

I haven’t been so exposed to the butterfly effect that we know theoretically and instead this year our lives have been invested by a chain of dark and entropic contributing factors. Let’s face it: Mario Draghi is my enemy. As well as i Commodity prices skyrocket. China, the world’s largest steel producer, which has begun to decline due to closed districts due to the covid-zero policy, then affects transportation costs steel, which is affected by rising energy prices and the closure of the Suez Canal. There was never a shortage of timber in Italy but after the Vaya Storm, which uprooted timber in Veneto and Trentino, due to the impossibility of collecting trees spread on the ground, the regions sold them to Austria: today we are unable to cut others. Forced to import an asset that we sold the day before yesterday. And do you know where the best white clay comes from, used by Sassuolo Ceramic District to produce tiles? From Donbass.

What has happened at the construction site since November? A series of things that can only happen there, details that create compositions on the floor, peeling off walls and breaking screeds. The first discovery follows a cut: the house has a sloping roof but the roof on the upper floor is flat, there will probably not be an original attic but there must be at least one attic. By making a hole like this we discover that there is actually an attic, it is quite large and even has a skylight! And even if it’s not really livable – even if you can actually stand in the middle – it’s a very useful place as a warehouse, but above all it gives us potential. Place the insulator under the roof: Attaching these to the ceiling of the upper floor would create a big problem of height, the real problem since we have to respect a strict parameter: it could not be less than 270 centimeters and we took the risk of not being there. Who knows why the old owners decided to brick this attic, what a waste.

Just outside the house, in the back garden, the pipes came out of the old drainage system – we have to do it again, a century ago the farmhouse was split in two but only if the old system was completely exploited. Another property is probably the size of both household wastewater disposal. We come in contact with the owners of the house next door, which, despite being very well kept, seems uninhabited – something like this will happen in the Stephen King story. Unfortunately it turns out that no, or rather yes: they were the pipes of the old sewer system but that system has been broken, now every house has to have its own and so the possibility of escaping with the speed at which this work was done disappears. Presented ..

Because of bureaucratic reprimands, we discover that by making the kitchen a little smaller than we thought it would be, we can dismiss it as a “kitchen”, meaning that by classifying the environment in this way, we can avoid lowering the floor. These rules are imposed to reach the minimum height of the floor of the house. These are understandable parameters for the values ​​of new buildings that, in contrast, become obsolete when they are forced to deform buildings built centuries ago according to their instructions. Either way, not digging saves us time and money, the bathroom and laundry room will be a little bigger, the kitchen a little smaller: so be it.

But especially in this first month, once the screeds on the upper floor have been eliminated, need Strengthen the floor, A job we didn’t expect to do. The attics of our house are supported by vaults which are called “voltaranies” in Tuscany, that is, they are supported by metal beams connected by terracotta vaults (which we will restore, they are beautiful). The engineering mechanism sometimes achieves stability as much as it is loaded, and by accurately releasing it from the weight of the screed and the old floor part we realize the fragility of the floors. Upstairs in the house you have a bit of the feeling of being on a ship. Our vault, once free of all weight, shows a certain fragility. The Floor reinforcement This is a long and expensive intervention but it also has an anti-earthquake value. To do this, an electro-welded metal mesh is spread on the ground, attached to the so-called “dovetail”, a metal y that penetrates the perimeter walls, thus anchoring the floor surfaces with load-bearing. Once the walls are in place of the iron, everything is flooded with concrete. The feeling of being shipwrecked while walking on the steep floor is gone. From an anti-seismic point of view, the argument is to conduct an intervention that allows the floors of the house, or perhaps more accurately I should say, to treat the rooms as if they behaved like boxes, i.e. moving together, now the walls and the floor are connected together. Every intervention law that has anti-seismic standards in Italy should contact the region where it occurs, we do this and take a control: the works go beyond it, the structure is improved from the point of view of anti-seismic seals – we hope Never think about it again.

Since this is a public diary, I will take a few lines to reflect on some of the responses that aroused the first episodes, as they were quite varied. My wife was surprised to see the anxiety that reigned in the first episodes, but the idea in this column was to tell everything that happened during the Reformation and some of the circumstances that put us in the right place. Give. Others didn’t believe it was a real account: a journalist friend who knew the story and the editorial dynamics also told me that the unity lies in the fact that I tell them for real, as it happens – for as much as I can and in the space given to me. “But no one will believe the story is live,” he commented. And yet it is, but the sensation it gives me is interesting: the account of building a house is considered bogus because it usually involves commercial activity to promote exhibitions and furniture elements – not at this time. A certain wait is filtered through the editorial staff to see “how much I’ll hurry In the Bank article “- I, as a reader, admit that I am sharing this attitude: the fact that I do not know how this misfortune is going to end is, in my opinion, the most interesting narrative Phil Rouge. Then there is the architect who, in turn – expressed the idea that the diary was nothing more than an operation to advertise a house for sale. The image attached to the story of a construction process in such a magazine leads to such last skepticism even among the people in the sector. The concept of architecture and its story is now on the market – and finally the architect’s concept may be a good idea: who knows, the fact that it describes its origins is not really a legitimate advertisement for a sale. Farm house but it is not in our case.

The last reaction I reported was to an intellectual who made an observation on which, as a writer this time, I have been thinking since the first article was published: There is something obscene, he told me. That’s true, and it’s true on the one hand because this kind of news is extremely unusual, and on the other hand precisely because it would really be my home, that’s how it was photographed in a magazine. What’s more: The pregnancy is over, as if a gynecologist is spreading an ultrasound scan of the fetus in her womb. The sensation of observing something personal may be detached, but I think it is inevitable to go through it if the idea is Describe all the stages of a restructuring processAnd I believe that Elle Decor’s choice to support this gimmick is valuable: after all, as some commentators’ incredibility shows, we are showing ourselves an unprecedented cross-section, as much as it is real.

The first part of the work, the structural one, is about to endAnd. Now let’s go Plant stage And thatThermal insulation. I started contacting professionals with a new series: Plumbers, Electricians, Window Frames. I need to bring a sample of wood for the next window, I don’t have time to go to the construction site tomorrow and so I get in my car in the evening, just over an hour from Lido de Camio. Arrived, now dark, I leave the piece of wood what will be the cupboard. The house was plunged into darkness, I turned on the light with my cell phone and looked at the recent works, there was a need to raise a few architectures, to reinforce an angle with concrete, to make a plant hole for pipes. When I go to the garden at night, I hear a sound from a hedge, it is a strange call. Could it be a fox? I approached and saw the big red cat of the neighbors watching me carefully. Wisteria is full of buds, this is the first time I’ve been here. The sky is full of stars.


Diario di Cantiere is an original production by Elle Decor Italia in collaboration with Cantiere Galli Design.

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