Three days after the fire, SIC Esperança promised us a new house (see blog Sept. 12th). Now, more than 4 months later, it seems that it will actually come about.
Several architects and technicians came and went. Their opinions on, rebuilding / new construction, walls are good / walls are too damaged, differed widely.
Eventually, new construction was decided. We were offered a standard-design tiny little house with 1 bedroom, a living room with an open kitchen where you had everything at your fingertips without moving a step, and a proper bathroom. Of course, the offer to build for us was heaven-sent, but we rejected the design. A home is not just an emergency shelter to tide one over during the first period after a disaster, it has to be comfortably inhabitable for years of your life. We know someone who had a large house and did accept the standard concrete box offered, and already regrets his choice and is at his wits end.
The equipe that was asigned to our case, agreed with us. It was simply their task to offer the smallest design first.
After a long wait, another architect drew a new design; a standard two bedroom home. We couldn’t see ourselves living in it, but with that design as a starting point we suggested changes and we all agreed that we would make the design in cooperation. The new drawings had to be ready in 10 days. In the meantime, we also agreed that part of the ruin could remain, so we can restore that at a later stage.
After 8 days, the architect’s new design came, which left us two more days for our input. Luckily we had been busy, thought out how almost twice as much of the ruin could be saved and we enlarged the design of the house with 10m², in a layout that is more comfortable for us. And as agreed we stayed within the possibilities and more or less within the available budget. (To be on the save side, we also had a plan B, to keep events moving forward if necessary.)
After yet another week we got an appointment. I was well prepared with our story, including the chronology of events so far. And, almost contrary to our expectation, the design was adopted.
Now we have to wait for the technicians to give their judgment. The outside walls are 10 cm thicker than is standard here, because we want good insulation and the inner walls are thicker (6 cm) to reduce noise from other rooms.
The remaining part of the ruin will provide us with an extra room to the house and a walled herb garden with room for some exotic plants. And we intend to restore the rest to usable space.