Thursday, February 14, 2008
Monday morning Vodka
The Mongolian Year of the mouse began last week, and the college has been fairly quiet and 'studentless' during the transition period. The main social activity for this season is visiting family, and preparing buuz (mutton dumplings - often hundreds) for visiting family members, but this means a relaxed schedule for foreigners. While some Mongolians visit tens of households, we visited three, well spaced over the New Year between Thursday and Monday. The first working day of the New Year on Monday morning at the college involved traditional armhold-greetings and reciprocal sniffing with the salutation 'Amaran uu' and rounds of Mongolian vodka.
While browsing one weekend in a bookshop at the 'State Department Store' - the UB equivalent of Moscow's GUM - I was surprised to discover a new architecture textbook, in Mongolian (A. Bat-Od, OPX 2007) which my mentor, who is credited in the preface, has never mentioned. Saves having to write one. It incorporates standards, useful example buildings, and excerpts from recent editions of Neufert and AGS. Nobody knows why the 2005 book, now in its second edition, was never known to the college or in the Library, but when I brought a copy to the college it was agreed to use it.
The World Vision project for a model energy efficient house has moved on slowly, despite the efforts of our consultant social worker, who prepared quite an impressive community consultation strategy. However, I caught a glimpse of a powerpoint presentation being prepared and lo, a client meeting was suddely held late yesterday. The discussion was mainly confined to contractual arrangements. Meanwhile I prepared a chart to try to discuss design principles to follow;
1. Barilgiin Talbei - Site and Orientation
2. Torkh Gadarguu - Envelope elements
3. Cistem - Building Systems
4. Narnii Gerel - Daylighting
5. Agaarjulaalt - Ventilation
6. Tekhnologuud - (Active) Technologies
7. Khemjilt - Evaluation
I was asked if I had ideas on a preferred facade design, and as a site has not yet been decided with the community, I referred to working with the above. Now I can hear noises in an adjacent room where an agreement is to be signed.