My incident with a Carpenter

The Architect by nature is supposed to be creative, dramatic and sometimes even hardly understood.

Just like people, the character and complexity of architecture differs from communities, this I learnt the hard way.

When our locals are so used to a situation it becomes impossible for them to accept change even when it becomes clear that the change is a progressive one. Unless and of course they widen their horizons and that becomes where architecture pitches in.

The incident so happened that at first I was very upset but later it didn’t seize to keep amusing me. A 4 bedroom duplex design was awarded to me. The client wanted it simply done. ‘It should be typical’ he said. I followed these orders diligently because the client always remains the master and we his humble abide.

A typical 4 bedroom duplex was designed, with an appealing approach. The entrance porch was angled and the master bedroom was above it. The master bedroom was cantilevered over the entrance porch by a meter, meaning that it extended beyond the entrance porch. This, I called typical as my client had requested but carpenter Isa saw this and called it madness with a capital M. At first I couldn’t understand why Isa was so furious. So I explained the concept of a cantilevering and how its construction will take place.

‘This has never been done before!’ I heard him exclaim

‘And that doesn’t mean it can’t be done’ I replied

Carpenter Isa’s superior was called upon to explain the situation to him. Taking my time again I explain to the superior all I had already explained before. He quietly looked at the design and carefully listened in such a manner that one might wonder if I was trying to tell him a secret never to be mentioned again. Assuming that he understood everything after such rapt attention but the next thing I heard him say was ‘foolish’.

‘You designers are so full of your selves and you try to bring up the non-sense ‘boko’ theories instilled on you’ he said

At this point I was in rage and immediately left the site. My client followed up after he had been informed of the day’s happenings. I explained to him again, this being about the sixth time that day. I also made reference to ABU Zaria’s bookshop entrance, where a cantilever of three meters had been achieved also in Burj Al-Arab Dubai, a whole restaurant of 27 metres is cantilevered, and this made it to be described as ‘dining in the skies’. My client apologised whole heartedly and requested that I go back to site and give direct instructions which nobody shall argue with.

The frustrations were over and I went back to site, this time carpenter Isa co-operated and resumed work although in his eyes 1 metre kept appearing like 100 meters. But when the job was done he realized it wasn’t such a big deal and we all had a good laugh.