The Oakhurst House: Day 7 Footings Pt II

While these early ‘dirt’ stages of construction are not so glamorous, everyone understands the importance of a well built foundation.  It’s important to realize the speed at which these stages of construction are being carried out.  For instance, the footings being poured in this video required about 30 cubic yards of ready mix concrete. This material was applied in less than two hours.  That’s 120 thousand pounds of concrete — just like that!

To have that volume of concrete mixed and ready to pour all at once so that when the head of the pour comes back around to meet the tail, they’re still able to bond together — that’s just remarkable!  And then there’s the amazing technology of pumping the mix through a far reaching boom that can exact the placement of the material anywhere within a 120 foot radius!  By remote control!  Are you kidding!

Consider the multi-century buildings of Europe in particular.  These primitively built constructions define traditional architecture, yet they were raised entirely by hand and hoof leverage.  How were they able to accomplish so much with so little, while we squander our advancements on profiteering short cuts that undermine our legacy and the very future of coming generations.  Why must waste our resources so inexcusably and console ourselves with misleading euphemisms like ‘renewable.’

It doesn’t have to be just about a pile of cash.  Let’s make a good living and celebrate building while we’re at it. Human beings have never been better out fitted for creating great things.

Let building incite wonder and celebrate possibility — then call it Architecture!




  1. Seems like complete hogwash that the goal is permanence or sustainability. When the project begins with sending a modest home to a landfill, y’all don’t have much credibility in the sustainability or permanence departments.

    1. Lisa, Thank you for your comment. Before getting too involved in a direct response, I would like to ask a simple question: Do you draw any distinction between what we are doing and what other builders are doing in Decatur?

      1. Clay, I’ll take a stab at your question. Your project is undoubtedly better designed and more thoughtful than the McMansions being churned out throughout Oakhurst. So in that respect you are distinct from your competitors.

        That’s where the distinction ends, though. Your project is one of several dozen teardowns and mansionization projects in a neighborhood that is rapidly gentrifying and which longtime residents think is disintegrating. The brick home you are constructing is out of scale and character with the streetscape in which it is being constructed. Not only will it be starkly juxtaposed with the smaller, more modest older homes but it will be distinguished from the McMansions sprouting up all along Maxwell Street. Your project, along with the others contributes to the loss of a sense of place many consider precious.

        You repeatedly use the word “affordable” in your posts. I’ve gotta ask: Will the Maxwell Street home ever house a teacher, firefighter, police officer, or nurse?

        Sustainable? What is sustainable about trucking in dozens of tons of brick, which required energy to mine raw materials, burn, etc.? Your hubris that you are building a 1,000 year home is amazing. The Maxwell Street home will last only as long as tastes and economics allow. None of us will be around in a 1,000 years to see if the home stands the test of time but here’s a question for you: How much energy will be wasted demolishing the Maxwell Street’s substantial brick construction and what will the costs be of hauling all that wasted brick away to a landfill?

        Traditional? There is no basis in local or regional architectural traditions for the home you are building. You draw from a deep well of architectural and construction traditions but there is nothing “traditional” about the Maxwell Street home. Your idea of tradition is on par with the popular definition of “folk art.” Visionary artists like Howard Finster, Simon Rodia, and Edward Leedskalnin frequently are described as “folk” — a term frequently equated with “vernacular” and “traditional” — yet there’s nothing connecting them or their buildings and landscapes to any established tradition.

        So yes, Clay, there are things that distinguish you from other Decatur builders. Unfortunately for the community, you share the many of the characteristics that define them: contagious teardowns (e.g., 247 Maxwell), mansionization, diminishing economic diversity, increased displacement, and, above all, the creation of yet another monument to conspicuous consumption.

        1. Why shouldn’t the wealthy be able to spend their wealth building as they like? What are you some kind of sneaky Socialist?

          At least this monument will outlast the current CO2-AGW mania by decades if not hundreds of years.

          Your silly ideas about styles fail to note that more versions of styles have been created with wealth of Americans than during the entire Renaissance Inside your self loathing is eating away at your self worth, please don’t share your misery.

          MFA needs to realize what kills structures long term is civil collapse leading to residents being unable to protect their property from invaders (like the illegal aliens pouring the basement)and massive taxation(property Taxes) in the pre-collapse phase leading to return barbarism/dark green Age.

          1. Author

            PFF, Interesting take. Strong words: ‘Civil collapse,’ ‘dark green age’ — Not at all without merit. But, IMO, it’s important to communicate in such a way as to encourage dialogue rather than shut it down. This doesn’t sound like a voice willing to hear other voices and it actually reminds me of DR’s ‘last word’ approach to conversation. But I thank you for the support.

  2. I don’t practise ‘Last’ word comments, but refuse to value anyone’s Magical world views as any basis for factual communication.

    I hear the hundreds of millions of fools participating either as huckster leaders(Al Gore etc…) or as mindless minions…
    The old logic filter of “40 million Frenchmen believe…. But refuse to join the mislead herd heading to meat packing plant of another layer of unneeded government and lower incomes and less freedom for billons based on a Mythic world view.

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