Monday, March 16, 2009

A mosquito pond in the making?

from dugout to roof pool 
A year ago the view from my desk looked like this. Time passed, construction happened. Our balcony, unused, gathered dust through the summer as the contractors next door built a parking garage. A month ago, the construction stopped, and the work appeared done - nearly.

We're not sure why, but the builders have left a pond on the roof next door, complete with an archipelago of dirt islands. The water is at least an inch deep and when it rains we watch the waves ripple across the roof, and I wonder just how many gallons of water it might take to bring that ceiling down.

9 comments:

countrypeapie said...

Oh, my. I vote for a rooftop garden! In the meantime, can you throw pennies that far?

Ellen said...

I so agree (on the dismay and on the rooftop garden.)

Julia said...

I think pennies might not go that far, but I was thinking about trying to skip a rock!

Do rooftop gardens need drainage?

Barrett Bonden said...

An opportunity to exercise our mensural skills. Front to back 16 m, left to right 24 m (can't see it all), depth of water 10 cm = present volume of 38.4 cu m. Weight (dead easy this one) 38.4 tonnes.

Car capacity (at 2 m x 4.5 m per car) 42 cars (less actually since this leaves no space between vehicles). If depth of water reaches 50 cm listen carefully for sounds of creaking. Check underneath to see whether roof is supported by columns. This is likely. If not hang on until the next rain storm and keep your camera handy. Since the weight of water is evenly distributed failure will be localised at weakest point, difficult to predict.

But you knew all this, didn't you?

Julia said...

I don't have enough practice measuring from a distance - definitely something to try! My guess is that there are columns but I'm not sure how they are distributed. I'd also guess that there is a car elevator system to lower cars into a deep pit on the far left, so they can stack three rows on top of each other. (Car elevators are pretty common in central Prague, where parking spaces are valued nearly as dearly as flats). No cars have entered yet though, so the theoretical tenants remain safe!

Barrett Bonden said...

Pondering my above comment during lunch, it occurred to me that that the stuff about cars was superfluous. If cars are to occupy this incipient swimming pool the water will escape via the same way the cars gain entry (most typically via a ramp). But as usual you're ahead of me. Car elevators, indeed!

Prague must be short of space; I assume this is the result of having a largish, central old town. Tokyo can beat this. There you can't buy a car unless you have proof that you have somewhere to park it. Not that this has reduced the traffic. During a press trip visit there I spent hours in a virtually stationary bus a mere couple of miles away from the hotel. This enforced idleness was made to seem much longer by middle managers with the host company engaging in karaoke.

Ellen said...

Though I'm sure it was painful while it lasted - the end story of karaoke in stuck bus is incredibly worthwhile...

Julia said...

Prague is short on space and perhaps unusual for a city, most people think it is vital to have a car. Our neighborhood is filled with apartment buildings so the car density is high here and garages are at a premium - hence the elevators.

My one fancy trade conference years ago at Cannes found me stuck on a boat in a storm with a group of middle managers from Sony singing karaoke and practically flinging themselves at an Elvis impersonator. Luckily the beer kicked in and they retired to the (other) side of the boat, but I vowed never ever to leave the dock at a conference again.

Did you ask to get out and walk? A bus is even worse than a boat - the echoes!

Barrett Bonden said...

A stream of reminiscences about press trips we have loathed may alienate the rest of your readers but I was very careful not to accept those that took place on boats. There is no back door you can sneak out of. Plutarch and I discovered this on a press do which went up and down the Thames for hours in a modern-day version of The Flying Dutchman. The booze was limited to ersatz Spanish champagne called Freixenet. We sipped this to begin with, rejected it for quality, then, gloomily as the hours slipped by, turned to it for solace.