For all of us as architecture students, during our internships, visiting sites has been something that we really look forward to. For me, this time came sooner as compared to most of my seniors who get this chance when they are working as interns right before their graduation. I, being a one month trainee, got to visit my first right after i completed my second year in college.
This was a residential site and one of the really important projects that our firm was handling at that time. So, i was supervised by my senior.
The first thing that I remember being moved by was not the architecture but how the labor was living there. When we were drenching in our own sweat, these people had their kids comfortably sleeping in that temperature just in a cloth tied between two wooden logs placed to support the scaffolding overhead.
Well, this is where I was diverted towards asking my senior the first question about the site. It was about the scaffolding on the roof and I was told about how it was done. I was then directed to look at small rectangular niches in the wall and how they used to hold the scaffolding after which I started observing the walls carefully.
As i moved around the room trying to imagine what it would actually look like after it was complete, I observed how one side of the wall was relatively smoother as compared to the other. It felt like I was Alice and this site was like my wonderland. As my eyes traced to the bottom of the wall, I noticed how the columns were marked on the site. I observed how we join bricks together to join the base of two columns and was told that they would be removed when the floor would be laid.
We went forward to access the higher floors of this residence where my senior pointed towards a reinforcement and asked about its diameter and how and where we use reinforcements of different sizes within the building. I was full of questions and running after my senior to have them all answered as if I would never visit a site ever again but all my questions were patiently dealt with.
Since we had to wait for a very long time for our electrician to arrive, I was asked to sit in the basement where it was relatively cooler. I observed how we managed to ventilate that area and how without ventilation there would be sufficient stagnant air to make that area suffocating for anybody. After a short meeting with the electrician we were supposed to visit the client to discuss some elevations.
That particular day, friends, I fell in love with my work even harder. I always had a realization about what responsibility I had on my shoulders but on that particular day, I realized its weight over me. Us as architects, get to design people's dreams. With the way our client was describing about what he expected out of his house, I was more determined towards delivering him the same things he was so passionate about.
The day came to an end with a lot of knowledge. But, also the day left me a little hollow with thoughts about how I wanted to so passionately meet my client's expectations but somehow I was so handicapped of not being able to do so for those laborers who were actually helping me execute my passion into existence.
That day I realized I had miles to walk before I sleep.