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The Oval Office - page four
Cultural & Ecological designing
ferrocement garage - front view ferrocement garage - rear quarter view

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[Compost chamber door in place on East Wing] The door in place on the East Wing chamber opening. Doors were made of salvaged metal roofing, with a screened vent opening created near the bottom edge of the door. The lower edge of the door is held in place by pins placed in the concrete door threshold. The upper edge is held in place by a guava stick placed between metal angle brackets on either side of the door. A piece of foam corrugated to match the roofing seals the top edge of the door against the ferrocement wall.
A close-up of the West Wing door showing additional details of door construction and attachment. The gray and blue ends of the corrugated foam sealing the top edge of the door are visible here. The metal brackets are attached using 1/4" galvanized bolts, similar to the floor joist brackets and wooden floor support blocks described earlier. [Close-up view of West Wing compost chamber door]
[Roof catchment water feeds hand-washing water barrel and sink] Water falling on the roof of the Oval Office is stored in a catchment barrel and supplies water for hand washing. The top of the barrel is screened, primarily to keep out mosquitoes. In the shade around to the right of the structure, the vent pipe for the West Wing chamber can be seen coming out at an angle to a 45-degree elbow and then rising straight up above the roof.
Here it is - the Oval Office, ready for inaguration. The East Wing vent pipe can be seen coming out of the chamber and rising up above the roof. The roof catchment water barrel and wash basin is visible through the trees at the right edge of the picture. I doubt there's any need for me to translate "kukai" from Hawaiian to English... [Front view of completed Oval Office]

End Notes

For the composting chamber portion of the structure, materials costs were extremely low. All the rock was gathered from Malu 'Aina's land. Most of the materials for the ferrocement portion of the chambers were left-overs from my ferrocement garage project, and I donated them to this project.

A few bags of portland cement, one 3'x25' roll of one-inch galvanized mesh, one hatchback-load of mortar sand and a few other small odds and ends were purchased to complete the chambers. The total for those items was probably not more than $50. Malu 'Aina had all the gravel and some of the #4 rock used already on site. The wood for the floor joists and the flooring was also already on site.

I am inquiring after an estimated materials cost for the upper half of the structure and will add whatever information I receive to these notes.

Building the lower portion of the Oval Office, including completing the wooden floor and the stone and gravel steps, took about ten weeks of part-time work. That time includes all work involved - locating and clearing the site, gathering rock, moving materials and so on. I typically worked about 4-5 hours a day, usually five days a week. There were a some days I didn't work on it at all, and some days I worked a full day or more. I had help from my partner Ayars in clearing the site, doing some of the rock wall lay-up and other odds and ends where two people made the job much easier. I also sometimes had help from her, and one or two interns, when gathering rocks.

Building up the rock walls on this small a structure can only be done so much at a time. That is, on any given day I could only add at most one full layer to the top of the wall. Then I needed to wait overnight for the concrete to set up. I could usually do a full layer in a good morning's work, leaving the rest of the day free for other activities (such as going swimming at one of the ocean parks somewhere along four-mile...)

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