Saturday, February 2, 2013

The last day is always hectic

Hey all!

I'm sorry about the more than brief post Thursday evening.

Of course we made a full day out of Thursday, then managed to go to dinner all together...just before the kitchen closed. And what else do you do when you've just finished building a synagogue in Poland, but continue on to a 24 hour bar with 4 zl vodka shots...Really, there was only time to post one picture.
And it took most of the 12 hour train ride to the dutch border to get over the hang. And if, after two hours of sleep, you manage to forget your laptop in the hotel in Warsaw, you have to wait until your mother lets you log into hers...

But I am getting off topic.

 Well, we made an almost full day of punch list work:

Last precisely made trim pieces.


The ceiling rules - so the ribs must conform.


 The traditional throughbolts arrived so we could install even more pieces...

...hanging brackets,
 plugging holes,
 breaking off screw tips,
 sweeping up....
All necessary and valid work but:
Boring stuff!


 So when Robert Supel showed up, this time without a crisis to manage (!) he had time to finally give us a tour of the museum building, at which we had only glimpsed so far:

We got to mill about in and be awed by the grand spaces...

...and clean, timeless modern halls...


...on the bridge above the bridge....


...and in the valley below. 

This will be the 'forested' entrance to the entirely subterranean permanent exhibition.

 Luck had it that we ran into the architect, Rainer Mahlamäki. So of course we asked plenty of questions, undoubtedly adding further to the one and a half year delay to completion.

If you are into custom bronze doorhandles and other beautiful things, he'd be one to call.

It was great to finally be allowed to explore this fantastic home for oursyagogue roof. It is a grand building that I like a lot just for itself, without knowing the many thoughts and ideas that relate it to its surrounding and theme. Like the shape of the door handle that takes inspiration from hebrew letters. Or the flowing concrete walls being inspired by Moses' parting of the Red sea. Or the basic design concept of a rather monolythic building with a lively center piece, that mimicks the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes on the square in front of it.

 I'm sure we only scartched the surface.

After lunch we jumped back into the fray:

. And helped install the trim pieces between the pendentives and the dome curves. Which looks like an easy job once it's done!


This freed up the painters to do a little bit of painting in place



Now you see it...


...first layer- not so much anymore... it all comes together!

At a little after seven pm Laura Brown called the day. We had to dismantle the scaffolding underneath the painters to get them to stop. The film crew wanted to do their final shots of the ceiling, seen as it has been dreamt about by many people, for many years. Of course we all were on edge to see it as well, unobstructed and still within reach.


But Alicia, despite all the craziness, had managed to think ahead to this moment: Rick and Laura were distracted and led down the hall, the halogen lights were pulled out and the flood lights turned off. Replaced by a mere two dozen votive candles. 
At first we thought the effect we'd hoped for would be too dim, but Cary Wolinsky, man of calm and experience way beyond lighting told us to give it a minute. And sure enough. The candles warmed up and our eyes adjusted.

 We fell silent. 

Someone remembered to bring back Rick and Laura, 
and the same calm came over them.

 So we sat there for a while.

 Or laid. 

And let it be over us.

Again Cary found words for the moment. He reminded us about the ritual that takes place during a service and sang the hebrew praises that close it. Thus the tying in of this place with the millenia of similar gatherings in countless spaces grander and more humble had begun.

And that is how I felt. Grand and humble.

Jason, Jason and Matt joined Rick and Laura for a few extra days of paint touch ups, but the rest of us got on our planes and trains. Back to the US, Germany, Denmark and Great Britain. There is still much to do in the weeks to come. Most of this work will be in the hands of Witek Laski, who only has an hour and a half drive home, and will be glad for a slower pace I am sure. He and his crew will install battens and shingles on the lower roof and sheathing on the box frame, as well as do some token shingling on the main roof, leaving most of it open to be viewed from above. More trim boards around the outside of the log walls will tidy things up and make it look like a proper roof.
The final hoisting up to its final position will also be his job, and happen in March or April. Maybe with a little help from Alicia. Then it will be wrapped in attempt to keep some of the construction dust out, and wait for the opening, whenever that may be. Perhaps President Obama will attend, like he said he would two years ago. 

I am sure that I will be back to see it. In fact I can't wait. Poland is great. Full of good people and wonderful places.

Thank you all for coming along on this adventure.

Gerald David

(not sure how long the humble part is going to last)

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