MLPOE

MLPOE

One of Greenwork’s construction phase consulting projects is nearing completion 1 month ahead of schedule. An example of what can be accomplished with effective team collaboration.  The project is a port of entry project design by Jones Studio of Phoenix and has tripled the capacity of commercial traffic and quadrupled the private automobile traffic. Hensel Phelps did an excellent job of completing this very complex, multi-phase project without once disrupting port traffic. The project is to receive a LEED Gold rating, and utilizes rainwater collection and storage of 1 million gallons, that irrigate native plantings.

Blackwell School Park

Blackwell School Park

The Blackwell School Park on the south side of Marfa is undergoing some updates. Thanks to locals Peter Stanley and Ann Marie Nafziger in collaboration with Design Build Adventure Camp Jack Sanders for jump starting the next phase of park development.

The park originally funded by Texas Parks and Wildlife had a modest budget. Rather than set the design scope to match the budget, it was decided to develop a grander long term master plan with the vision being, that when additional funding became available the original scope of work could be completed.

The updates include a long community table of steel and concrete under a long shade structure located adjacent to a bandstand. In addition a more permanent addition of  cedar boards have been attached to the underside of steel shade structure. Originally it was thought that native Canyon Grapes with benefit of routine, regular irrigation, would grow over the top of the cattle panel on top of the shade structure forming a grape arbor.

Since the park opening in 2010, several native trees have died that require replacement, otherwise the vegetation has grown well especially the Native Honeysuckle along the perimeter fence. Hopefully the momentum established can continue and additional design features like the rainwater harvesting system and automatic drip irrigation system can be completed.

Lime Plaster Finish

Lime Plaster Finish

Started Lime plastering one my adobe buildings over the earthen/clay plaster a couple days ago. The mix design is 1 part slaked Lime, 1 part clay (fine sieved) and 10 parts fine sand. The base plaster was applied 2 years ago and has become “furry” from wind driven rain, which provides good adhesion for the final finish lime plaster. The mix design for the base plaster is 4 parts water, 1 part prickly pear cactus juice, 1 part “green tea” (fresh horse manure soaked in 5 gal. of water), 4 parts aggregate (3/8″ sieved), 6 parts clay, and 36 parts chopped straw. I swear it does not smell. Some folks hand mix the stuff but I use gas powered mortar mixer.

If shrinkage cracks appear right after you apply it, there is too much clay and not enough sand. Adjust accordingly. Spray or mist with water the lime plaster as it cures the day you apply. Try to avoid application with a wall directly exposed to the sun, particularly to western evening sun.

The clay in a finish lime plaster provides a natural coloring agent. If you have access to natural purple or even green clay then you have a great opportunity to enhance a wall with a unique color.

I can understand how this old world plaster mix has all but disappeared. It is very labor intensive preparing all the ingredients and is physically demanding in it’s application. There are many variations of earthen plaster being used for finishing adobe buildings but the main point is the adhesion from earthen to earthen that cannot be achieved by dissimilar Portland cement based plasters. The dissimilar material cement vs adobe creates a cleaved condition that invites capillary flow of moisture which migrate up and to the side.

The National Parks Service now recommends for adobe buildings using “mud plasters”in lieu of cement plaster. See Preservation Brief 5.

A word of caution: the lime plaster is a very long term curing process so early in the cure it can be vulnerable to impact damage as I experienced with wind driven hail.