Omi Pavilion Construction

As I may have mentioned, I may have ended up being more busy, or at least running around more, than when I was fully employed. Shortly after getting the news, I met up with my friend and old MSU classmate, Brian. He also lives in the city and on top of teaching at Columbia, he creates some pretty sweet architecture, typically in the form of an installation of some sort. As we were talking about what was going on, he told me he had been invited to create a piece for Omi’s sculpture park and he was going to have students and some friends helping construct it. At that point in time, I didn’t have anything else going on, so I said I would be willing to help out too.

Views from the Train

Views from the Train

The Fields Sculpture Park is just outside of Hudson, New York which you can get to on Amtrak, or drive. You can get your ticket right before you leave Penn Station. It’s typically $35, although some times it jumps up to $50 each way, so if you know when you are going for sure, get your tickets a bit a head of time. The ride up is beautiful. For the most part, you ride along the river. Hudson is adorable. It has a quaint downtown that runs forever down the Main Street and just has that very sleeply little town feel. The park is about 20 minutes away in Omi, which is more of an area than a town. The park is huge. They have different areas for different types of art. They also have housing for their visiting artists and artists there for workshops. They have three old houses on the top of a hill with an amazing view to the Catskills. Down the hill is a large red barn that has been converted into artist studios. Behind that is another, slightly less attractive open barn that is also studio space and a wood shop. This is where we spent a lot of our time working if we were not in the field.

Omi-parkWhen I first arrived, Brian had been there for a week. The foundation set and the platform almost finished. There were only a few edge pieces of plywood to go down and be cut to match the profile. A local high school kid, Ben, was also helping out. By the end of my first day, he finished his major task of cutting all the 2 x 4’s that would create the panels for the shell. The custom cut steel pieces that would be used to attach the 2 x 4 to each other and the platform arrived that day as well. Most of our afternoon was spent finishing the platform, which took much longer than anyone wants because the batteries for the saw drained insanely fast. We had three but we had to run back to the visitors center each time to charge them. In any case, the platform was finished and we were ready to start putting panels together the next day. And I got to finish the day with an old guilty pleasure, a Dairy Queen Blizzard.
The following morning, Brian needed to work out the slats that would cover the panels so he could place the wood order. I spent the morning enjoying the coffee, sunshine, and dealing with my own work. Once Ben showed up, we headed down to the studio to sort out all the steel and wood for the panels. While waiting for the new wood order with the bolts, nuts, and washer to show up and headed into town to pick up some extra tools so that when more people showed up, there would be enough. Things need to keep moving. When we got back we found out that the delivery would show up until the next day. So after a brief debate about what to do and a much needed nap, we went to Lowe’s and picked up a box of bolts, nuts, washers. We went back and put together two of the smaller panels in about two hours. That was about how long Brian was hoping it would take and we found a few operational points that would need to be resolved to make it easier for new people to come in and put them together without constant supervision so Brian could be on site put the panels on the platform base.
The next morning, I needed to head back to the city to catch a flight to Bozeman and Brian needed to come in for meetings and to pick up his students. It was up early and back on the train. I came back out a few days later on Saturday evening and Brian with a crew of six had already been working hard for two days. I hit the ground running again Sunday morning. While I was away, most of the panels had been assembled. There were only a few very large ones left to do and we decided we should put them together on site or we would never get them up. For all the large installations this place has, they only have some awful old vans for getting stuff around. This is were a pick-up would be very handy. Just saying. One van and one pick-up might be a better system instead of a van that doesn’t have working seat belts and makes a lot of clanking noise after it rains…
The rest of the week was spent between sun and rain (horrible drizzling rain for two days on and off), putting the panels on the platform. I was sad to leave on Tuesday, but half the panels were up when I did, which was super exciting. I even delayed my departure until Wednesday morning so I could finish helping Tuesday. Ben begged me to stay, so I decided I couldn’t leave, just meant one more night in a bed much better than mine and more travel stuffed into on day.  The other fun thing I spent time doing was making dinners and desserts. I do love cooking and baking, as you know, so getting to use that huge kitchen was definitely something I was up for, I can feed five to seven people, no problem. Plus Alessia was happy to make some amazing Italian dishes too. We were set.
Omi-constructBut there was one problem. Cooper Union brought up a group of freshman to work on a project and they basically took over the kitchen like it was theirs. They were not very nice about sharing, in general they were not a very nice or talkative bunch. They kinda looked like zombies. Anyway,at least my rhubarb pie made them jealous and maybe a bit nicer to me. I made these kabobs for our main meal that night with some white rice. The Stubb’s marinade is the shit. Seriously adding it to the things that constantly need to be in my “pantry.” We will ignore the fact that the grill sucked that night. The next night I made this quick baked lemon chicken with grilled veggies and potatoes.  Dessert was this yummy berry cobbler that I will share with you later on and we made some s’mores in the fireplace. We were trying to warm up and dry our shoes after working in the rain all day. I think the s’mores made a huge difference.
After all my running around, which was just going to continue, I was exhausted when I got back on the train Sunday morning. I slept most of the way back to New York and on my flight to Minneapolis that afternoon. More on that later. The rest of the team stayed up there until Sunday and finished installing all the panels. The slats are not on it yet, but it was complete enough for the opening and looked pretty bad ass. Double bonus for not needed any columns! Brian was worried. Now you just need to go check it out and so do I before I leave the east coast!
The Completed Pavilion via Brian

The Completed Pavilion via Brian