Mothers and fathers shared a workshop today, and their main task was to build a model of the Study Center in three mixed groups.
As a warm-up we started with a game of ‘trust me’ between husband and wife. The game is similar to ‘pin the tail on the donkey’: the mothers wear a blind fold and try to find something on the donkey, or in this case their husband.The fathers threaded safety pins onto their tops and the mothers raced to be the first one to remove all the safety pins by feeling their way around their husband’s body. This proved great entertainment for participants and spectators alike.
Game over, we asked the mothers and fathers to explain their work from previous workshops to one another. The fathers brought their windows and doors to the mock-up and demonstrated how these will work in relations to the concrete volume. At first the fathers seemed reluctant (perhaps too shy) to talk about their doors to the mothers, but eventually we had the mothers heckling the fathers from their shady vantage point up on a grassy mound. There was some debate between the mothers as to which door variation they preferred – some preferred the more recognisable, traditional bamboo clad option, whilst others preferred the novelty of the lumber slatted door. A debate to be resolved another time. A few of the mothers then explained the final, final, final Study Center plan to the fathers, which we had printed out large on tarpaulin.
Prior to the workshop we had asked a few of the fathers to make basic 1:20 models of the heavy, concrete volumes from plywood. These were fixed in place on a 3/4” plywood base representing the plinth. We then gave the mothers and fathers a load of popsicle sticks and some glue guns and asked them to complete the models. This was a good way for them to get to understand the building in 3D and to visualise how it might look externally. We purposely didn’t provide much guidance on the how they should make the model, other than sticking the heavy volumes in correct places on a plywood base and hammering nails into the base as column footings.
Different groups had different dynamics, some with mothers and fathers collaborating together whilst others had more of a gender divide (at least to begin with). It was also interesting to see how different team members focused on different aspects of the design. Some were more concerned with the external appearance and structure, with some of the fathers getting really into modelling different roof truss options. Others thought more about the internal arrangement, building furniture to animate the different activities within the Study Center. One group made a delightfully multicoloured series of tables and chairs for the study/dining area. One of the fathers even modelled an incredibly detailed table tennis set complete with players, ball and bats!
The mothers and fathers got really involved with their models and were disappointed, even after several hours of modelling, when the popsicle sticks had all run out! Reassuringly they were keen to continue to finish their models the following week rather than leave them half-done.
Jago spotted some structural issues with one group – who had started building the roof at different heights and different ends of the building. Struggling to link the two roof heights they decided to leave a open corridor between two parts of the building, not great for the rain!
We ended the workshop with a discussion about the differences between the three models. The most significant being the variations of the roof arrangements over the dirty kitchen. One group had created a lower, lean-to cover at a lower level to the rest of the roof. Another group had ended with a simple gable-end and the other with what they call here a ‘quatro aguas’ roof – with 4 pitches or in this case just 3 pitches and one gable end. Finally Zoe distributed her pasalubon of Quality Street (a returning gifts from England) which were eagerly received by the community.