Almost a year and a half after the project began, we finally got this damned thing together. About a third of it, anyway, two of the six arches we’d planned. Time will tell if we finish it. It’s big as it is, spanning about fifteen feet from base to base. Not very mobile. The pharmacy school that shares our floor has an event slated for this weekend, and they’ve already asked us if we might be able mask it behind a large black drapery they’re planning to bring in.

I don’t mind saying it was a pain to put together, and it took a team of several of us, typically at least three working at once, about three and a half hours to assemble the portion we finished. By way of comparison, the designer’s website brags that one person (the designer himself, no doubt) was able to assemble their prototype in seven hours, without propping.

We needed propping.

We also conjecture that he may have been using better materials and more slickly produced plates (made, no doubt, with a nice CNC router).

In any case, it stands, and it looks pretty nice, if you look past the mangling of the cardboard flaps that stick out every foot or so.

As scheduled, UNC President Margaret Spellings came by about halfway through our construction, flanked by our chancellor, a small security detail, and a dozen or so camerapersons. We chatted briefly about the project, and she got to meet a couple of the students helping with the construction, including Nehemiah. Our short conversation was tightly scripted, and I had no chance to say anything about HB2, the recently removed Board of Governors meeting that’ll take place over the next two days in Chapel Hill, or anything else controversial.

Many thanks to Nehemiah, Bert, and all of the other students who helped make this project a reality, and to Joe Gattas, the original Plate House designer. Your work was inspiring.

P.S.: President Spellings visited one of our spacious and clean all-gender bathrooms immediately before our meeting. No report on how it was received.


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