10 August 2007

email: mission accomplished?

Hi Tom--

Nadeem and I just had a great meeting with Shamiel Jacobs and Denzel Fortuin, the registered architect with whom Shamiel has worked for many years. I brought a full set of drawings and some of the images of the building, all of which Denzel now has taken with him to go over more closely so that he can make the necessary adjustments (particularly in the foundation and structural framing drawings) before he submits them for approval with the municipality. Essentially, Denzel is ready to jump in as architect of record by overseeing the process of submitting the drawings for approval and getting any departures we may need. He seemed like a great guy, soft spoken but friendly and obviously experienced, and I feel extremely positive about he and Nadeem working together in the pre-tender process.

Shamiel also made it to the meeting, and while he won't be very involved until after the approval phase, he certainly had input toward some of the issues Denzel brought up while looking through the drawings and again was able to give us a good sense of what it will take to get the building started.

In terms of a timeline then, both stressed the fact that timing is highly dependent upon the municipality. Very generally speaking, they will take about a month to approve a new building/set of drawings, regardless of size, if there are no departures. If there are certain departures necessary ( i.e. building out to the lot line on all sides) we're looking at something closer to two months. Shamiel still holds that the building should take about three months in construction--barring any major holdups--and so the building could in theory be completed by the end of the year. Given that obstacles inevitably pop up, March still sounds like a good goal.

In terms of design issues, Denzel was most curious about the use of the one container. He wants to make sure that it (and the other instances of corrugated metal) are being used in a way that progresses concepts about where and how people live in the townships, rather than simply corroborating existing shack/container culture. We assured him that with an edible roof garden, new use of the corrugation's pattern in creating openings, and well-painted murals, it will.

Overall it was a productive meeting, and particularly satisfying for me as it now feels like we have completed another stage of the building, and capable hands will be taking it into the next. I will forward you the drawing set shortly, and updated images and brochure will be soon to follow (Denzel was quite interested in the images as a strong selling point to the municipality, hopefully enticing them to pass approval more quickly). I won't be able to update the 3d model until I am back in Cambridge with the right software, but I can definitely photoshop a bit this afternoon and tomorrow.

Cheers
--Ashley

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