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Friday, November 17, 2006

Physician Heal Thyself

che door

I work in a building that is owned by Architects, and inhabited by Architects.
One would imagine that members of a profession dedicated to quality building would take care of the buildings they own.

Have I mentioned that our building is a shambles?

Visitors are greeted at the street by a battered wooden door with a stencil of Che Guevara painted on it, among other things. While it might be argued that there is a certain shabby chic to this, things go downhill from here.

Up the faded eggplant colored stairwell, a motley assembly of signs announce the businesses at each floor. A third of the letters are missing from our firm's sign. Other offices just tape a piece of paper to the wall. One handmade foam-core sign falls to the floor regularly, and I pick it up on occasion and stick it back on the wall. Once, for kicks, I put it on upside down; it stayed that way for a week or so until it fell off again on its own.

No insulation, no heat or ac besides portables, windows and walls leak, and electrical conduits run randomly exposed on walls and ceilings. When it rains the roof jets water off the roof to the sidewalk - the water that isn't trickling down the stairs.

And don't get me started on the toilets [shudder]. I once saw a guy standing in there barefoot on the slimy floor, and I literally started gagging.

But the star of this show is the brickwork. The crumbling, cracked and sagging brickwork. The structurally deficient brickwork.

This week we got a visit from the City Council to announce that bricks were actively falling off our building. Strong winds were causing a tree branch to brush against the building, and taking bricks with it.

The next day they were back to say that more bricks had fallen, and had destroyed the neighbor's patio furniture. (Furniture that hadn't been there the day before...the neighbor apparently seizing the opportunity to have some old rotten teak furniture replaced.)

Here is a copy of the "Emergency Order" letter that was issued, demanding immediate action.

They got their immediate action: my boss went straight up onto the roof and with his bare hands took down the brick parapet that was in reach of the tree.


(note the missing corner, and also check that nice big diagonal crack beside the window. The tree branch has apparently gotten a rough trim.)

Pray that Sydney never gets even the slightest of earthquakes.


Blogger Jege (Jen) said...

Wow. That building even makes our current digs look good.

3:30 AM  

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