Related to this quest for the small built things in our lives, we are renovating our home. It is also a small built thing, an extension to a larger house. It's an idea of how we live made manifest. A collection of small built spaces which force coexistence upon the inhabitants, stimulating interaction and manipulating the movement of life across the house. Rooms become corridors, and corridor becomes a library. A roof becomes a backyard, and a backyard is enclosed like a courtyard. In an time of threshold free entries, a step becomes a deliberate doorway into another era. And all of it sustainable, recycled, and low energy.
I have taken taken 3 months away from my normal employment to assist the build and do the easy things we can't afford to pay someone else to do. I intend to crack wise, get in the way, carry bricks, sand weatherboards, sweep floors, and fetch coffees. It's a time for me to recondition myself emotionally. 3 months away from a charged office environment, to be immersed in a physically charged building site. Rather than watching people work through lunch, I am already watching them have determined scheduled smokos.
This - I have told myself - is what I need. I have spent 7 years looking at masterplans, long term strategies and the effect of my work on the political priorities of a large organisation. The program of my design and management output is tied up with a project's relationship to the requirements of a large, diverse group of stakeholders, an organisation's political needs and a maintenance regime. Sometimes we scored goals, and it is always wonderful, but the associated midfield arm-wrestle is depressing.
After seeing the big picture for some time now, it's a chance to see the beauty in the small built things.