Week 83 (Music room masonry complete)

In construction photos by Michael Tiemann

This week saw the completion of another major milestone in the studio construction project: the Music Room masonry is now complete.  The blocks were all in place as of last week, but the major remaining task was the final grouting: 5 yards of concrete for the inner wythe and 5 yards of concrete for the outer wythe.  To put that into perspective, there are 27 ft3 per yard, and since each ft3 of concrete weights 150 lbs, that’s over 10 tons of material for each bond beam.  Moreover, each beam had to be built as a continuous entity, so each beam had to be poured quickly enough so the cement didn’t set and yet not so quickly that we might make a mistake that would mar seven months of work (or worse).

To begin at the beginning of the week, the blocks were all in place, but no so the steel rebar…

We had just run out of 20′ lengths of #5 rebar, as you can see by this empty pile (as compared to these previous piles [1] [2]):


No worries…Kevin calls for the steel:


And we wait:


But the steel is delivered, it’s woven into the matrix, and other site-preparations ensue.  A large portion of gravel pile is spread around the ground to give our big lift some solid footing:


Then the big day arrives, and a brand-new batch of buckets are positioned on a pallet, waiting to be filled:


Then they are filled:


And then up they go!


And then more and more and more and more…

firstbucketsup.jpg firstbucketsup.jpg

Here’s how that went from up top:


More buckets coming up:


Here’s a view of the (still empty) outer wythe bond beam showing how much steel we’ve got woven in:


Two people filling the buckets was not enough to keep up with five people above.  For the outer bond beam they added a third person filling and finished more than an hour sooner.


The grout is rodded by hand to really fill the cells of the wall and disperse any air bubbles.  The rod being used by the mason in the center is over 8′ long, yet it only shows 1′ untouched by ground.  The cell depth is 7’4″ through the window columns into the main body of the wall.


Here’s a corner detail showing the steel beams that encircle the entire wythe:


Anchor bolts for the ceiling framing are driven into the wet cement every 24″:


Thus was completed the inner wythe bond beam.  All we needed was good weather the next day and we’d be done…or so I thought.  We did have good weather the next day, even if it did look a little bit ominous:


And while the weather itself was fine, the problem was that it rained so much overnight that the ground was too soft to support the cement truck.  So instead of a second pour in as many days, the masons started working on the lower walls, in this case the control room.

Happily the weather held the next night and day, and we were able to finished the outer bond beam on Friday morning, and make more progress on the control room by Friday afternoon:


The rear wall is complex (as you can see), but not beyond us, and I think we’ll see some fairly rapid progress over the next few weeks.