Monday 27 August 2012

New Building: Week 24 - Higher and higher

We start with a view of the top floor at the beginning of last week.

By the end of the week, the walls were nearly finished, and the first of the beams to support the roof were in place.

The bricklayers have moved on to what used to be the old staircase of the Parish centre. There were some pictures of this being taken out at the beginning of the building work. Now the outer wall is being rebuilt in a straight line, closer to the fence. The new staircase will end at a new front door, separate from the entrance to the Parish centre, which will give the fathers access to their bedrooms.

The lift shaft continues to grow. Here it is half-way up the first floor.

And to finish, a view of the Radcliffe Observatory from the roof level.

Friday 24 August 2012

Dedicated Gifts - a clarification

The press has been showing interest in the dedicated sponsorship of our new building, but there seems to have been a bit of confusion that needs clearing up.

One astute observer was concerned that our showers were over-priced. (Others have shown concern that our beds will be too cheap!) We would like to take the chance to reassure everyone by explaining that the sponsorship prices are nominal costs. The prices are high because the sponsorship costs cover hidden expenses such as archaeology, planning permission, architect's fees and the large costs of building on a constricted site with difficult access. The new bedrooms for the community are being built to simple, modern standards, without ostentation or luxury. We also took several tenders for the work and have opted for the cheapest one.

For an easy comparison, a nearby Oxford college recently built a new accommodation block for 70 students. It also includes a new library and other common facilities for them to use. It cost £35 million in total. That works out as £500,000 per student.

By contrast, our new building, which also includes a new library and rooms for parishioners, works out at about half as much per room on average. And then we are only asking for £70,000 in sponsorship per room — an absolute bargain!

Please also remember that the new bedrooms are a necessity — we have young men interested in joining our community and nowhere to put them! Without new rooms, we would have to turn away potential vocations for several decades.

New Building: Week 23 - New Doorway

“And the six hundred men stood before the door, appointed with their arms.”

—Judges 18:15–17

Well, not quite six hundred men, but there was some pretty hefty machinery around last week. (Apologies for the noise in church.) This is the new door from the first floor of the Parish centre (soon to be New Library) to the coretto, the old organ loft above the shrine of St Thérèse of Lisieux in church.

The coretto is currently accessed by climbing a spiral staircase in a very confined space — some of you will have noticed the doorway next to St Thérèse. We use the coretto for storage of things like crib figures and the booklets for Mass and Vespers. With a door from the new library, access will be even easier in future, and we will also be able to store larger items there. The spiral staircase, which is a very fine cast-iron piece, will be moved into the new library to give access to the gallery running around the edge of the room. The old door and partition surrounding it in the church can then be taken out, which will give us some space to do nice things to the shrine of St Thérèse.

Here you can see the architect's drawing of the library with the staircase in place.

And here you can see the doorway growing:

“And he brought me in to the door of the court: and I saw, and behold a hole in the wall. And he said to me: Son of man, dig in the wall. And when I had digged in the wall, behold a door.”

—Ezekiel 8:6–9

...and of course, finishing off with this week's view from the top of the building — of Boar's Hill!

Monday 13 August 2012

New Building: Weeks 21 and 22 - On the third floor

Let's go on another tour of the building site. If you can imagine going up the old staircase to the fire escape on the upper floor of the Parish centre, then you would see this view, standing in the doorway:

Going up that temporary staircase made of scaffolding (careful to avoid the big steel girder which by now is holding up some part of the building) we emerge on the newly ceiling-ed second floor. (We've just come out of the dark hole in the wall on the far right. We had to duck.)

So that's where another two bedrooms will soon be. Going up further, we come to the third floor:

That's as high as things got in Week 21. On the other parts of the site, we can see a new steel lintel across the old window (soon to be French windows) of the ground floor going in. The old one wouldn't have been able to take the weight of the library!

Work has also continued on the new lift shaft. This is the ground floor seen from the first floor.

Into Week 22 now, and the outer casing of the lift shaft is halfway up the ground floor:

And to finish off, some views from inside the third floor bedroom:

...and a bonus one from Pierre Victoire on Little Clarendon Street! (Notice how well the new building blends in.)

Wednesday 1 August 2012

New Building: Week 20 - Wood and Concrete

Work on the second floor of the new accommodation block is progressing smoothly, and a concrete foundation for the lift shaft has been made too. That should make getting to the second floor a bit easier!

In brick news, another 1,115 were sponsored last weekend. Thank you!