What are you doing in there?

Every day at the Green Garage we eat lunch outside, which allows us to wave and say hello to passers-by. Inevitably, one of them will ask us what in the heck we’re doing inside the building. Admittedly, the building looks just like it did a year ago when we purchased it, and from the outside any evidence of the activity inside is nil.

Rest assured, patient neighbors, we are busier than ever this summer. And – the best news – we are on track to begin construction next month and finish the following May. We have laid out a schedule that details when we’ll be doing deconstruction, the roof, walls, windows, mechanical systems (heating, ventilating, AC), electrical, plumbing, floors, and finally finish and site work. So, according to the schedule, we should be doing deconstruction work right now, and ……check! We are doing it. Here are the front rooms as of Friday.


If you’re interested in what we’re covering on a weekly basis, we list our weekly schedule on the main page of our site.

These meetings, however, are just a part of what is happening. For example, this past week reclaimed bricks were delivered for the alley from Detroit Historical Brick Company (about 1,000).


We saw that many of the bricks read: Speedway Alliance Block. (By the way, these bricks will be cleaned – they are actually brick-colored).


We did a little research on these pavers and learned that they were made in the early 1900’s in Aliiance, Ohio, and were named after the pavers that originally lined the entire Indianapolis Speedway (now just the start and finish lines are lined in brick). Remember that when, one day, you’re walking down the alley and want to impress somebody with the vast stores of your knowledge.

More on the work this past week: Kirsten did a percolation test to check the drainage in the alley to see how much water the ground can absorb. Since we are planning on returning all of the water on our property back to the water table and not the storm sewers, we need to know how fast it will be absorbed. Initial findings show that it doesn’t absorb fast at all, which means we’ll need to investigate why (aka: What’s under there?).


This week we’re also finishing the design of the entranceway, and focused on accessibility issues. We found that the inside flooring will be a full 2 feet above the level of the sidewalk (Kirsten is doing the measuring below), which could be a problem. But when we met with Woody Melcher, who is helping with design-related issues, he developed a way to build a ramp up to the doorway at an acceptable slope.


Kevin Gardner, one of our summer interns, has developed a great plan for a rooftop garden/patio area. Here he is with his Powerpoint, showing the raised tiles he recommends for the flooring. His design is quite creative, incorporating barrel planters, one-foot gardens, rain barrels, tables and chairs, tarps for shade, and even a Zen garden, complete with rake. We love it. He worked with Ike Sheppard, structural engineer, to make sure the roof could withstand the weight (and it can).


Finally, Don Carter and Mike McCarty have been working on a model of the building. Models provide a simple way to determine how natural lighting will work. We’re testing it out with a flashlight here. When the model is completed (with a roof), we’ll take it outdoors for the real test.


So that’s a sampling of this week’s happenings at the GG.  More to come next week.

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