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A day In The [YEA] Life Series - #1

I am EXHAUSTED...Note to self - make 'postponed due to monsoon' a real thing.

Have you ever been curious about how 'cool' an architect's work day is? Get ready to turn green with envy as I slowly deconstruct why this week's post is late and I am completely and utterly exhausted. *apologies for those of you who have actually enjoyed my weekly content so far*

Without too much variation *other than for the insane amount of site visits* every single day this week was as exhausting as the one painstakingly detailed below. *enjoy*

5.00 am - Wake up.

It's the middle of monsoon season and I usually LOVE gloomy, moody weather *What up my fellow pluviophiles* , but today was different... Thanks to the horrible state of the local economy, and the rising cost of fuel and travel, we made a decision at the studio to limit site visits to one day a week *preferably two days a month*. This means we sometimes pack in up-to four sites at a time, in one day. Lo and behold today was that day. I love the rain, yes, but visiting construction sites in this weather is absolute shit. Oh architect's gotta do what an architect's gotta do right? *instant regret*

5.00 am to 7.30 am - Usual productive morning stuff.

I managed to get through my usual morning routine *this routine varies depending on the day and would make a good post for another day* despite the impending doom of a day that could easily go sour. I am not gonna lie, 30 mins was spent on thinking of scenarios to postpone all the tasks planned for today *till the end of the monsoon season* *hopeful*. I have a constant notion that runs through my head that a direct sign of how disconnected the human race is from mother nature is clearly reflected in how we have to 'work' despite the weather or seasons. How is this not a thing?!?!? *I know, I know, I just want to stay in today* *side eyes*

7.30 am to 7.40 am - Short morning walk.

I usually walk with my wife to the top of the lane and see her off to work. This walk definitely improved my mood. The weather was lovely for a walk. The cool morning breeze mixed with the light rain spray and the fresh aroma of baked bread from our local baker's shop down the street... maybe today's not gonna be so bad eh ?

7.40 am to 8.15 am - Freshen up and kit up for my work commute. 15 km in the rain *fantastic*.

8.15 am to 8.30 am - Check my bike , gear and then head out.

A dedicated post about Zangetsu is in the works *yes I named my bike* *and yes that's an anime reference*. For now this image I took at the studio a while back will have to do *look at that beauty*. Yes, I do live | work | cycle in Chuck Taylor's and you won't change my mind.

AirOn bike black daily commute by Your Everyday Architect
Zangetsu - [YEA] on wheels

8.30 am to 9.15 am - Reach the studio and warm down.

The ride was relatively nice and uneventful thanks to the weather. *The usual idiots on the road who hate to see cyclists and actually shouldn't have licenses since they really don't know how to drive were still around* *is it a cyclist's fault that you needed to compensate with a huge vehicle and are now stuck in traffic?...yah nah chief* nothing new really, same old things, just wet weather.

9.15 am to 9.30 am - Take a shower freshen up for work.

A shower at the studio, a quick coffee and I am ready for the day.

9.30 am to 10.00 am - Set up my space, quick morning emails and pack my site visit kit.

This kit usually includes the following which I carry in my NIID x Urban Nature Radiant sling *awesome Kickstarter investment* :

  • Field notes book + Lamy pico (for quick notes and to-do's)

  • Ipad pro 11 inch ( for quick reference of the drawing set if needed)

  • 4Planet water bottle

  • Tape measure

  • Wallet + Keys + Phone

*Hit the closing notes if you want to check out this awesome sling bag*

10.00 am to 10.30 am - Commute to my first site visit.

I bailed on the bike and hailed a Tuk Tuk *shame on me* but the weather was steadily worsening by this time and I can't look too shabby at a site visit *can I?*

10.30 am to 12.30 pm - The Bamboo Grove Twin House

This project is a for a brother and sister who are building two houses on their parents property in the city. This is one of my favourite projects for the simple reason that these are genuinely great clients and good people who actually listen to the architect's advice.

The project however, is being built by a contractor who's spirit animal is without a doubt the slipperiest of eels *shudder*. That makes my site visit all the more complex as it requires me to navigate a long drawn out conversation to get an answer to the simplest of questions. *The mental exhaustion of dealing with these types of people is real*

Chandelier Staircase in construction designed by Island Studio Your Everyday Architect
Chandelier Staircase

I was only able to snap a few images of the site due to most of it being drenched and messy. We inspected the custom steel staircase *which I honestly thought was never going to be completed as a result of 'Mr. Eel's' elaborate conspiracy stories about the fabricator's sudden disappearance. This floating staircase was designed as a chandelier that would feel as if it were hung from the sky itself, within this entry courtyard of the brother's house. It was great to finally see it coming to fruition in proof that our staircase designs are not *held up by God himself* as Archt. Anjalendren would put it. *nostalgic distant gaze*

Polished concrete staircase in construction Island Studio Your Everyday Architect
Polished Concrete Staircase

A juxtaposed feeling is archived through the main staircase in the sister's house. This is a solid, rugged minimalist staircase *it's beauty is tarnished by my not-so-photogenic foot. My apologies*. The finish *as is the same for all the floors* is polished raw concrete. Seen here before it's final waxed glory. I will post an update on this in a future post *yes the pic won't feature my flip-floppy feet*

After 2 hours of painstaking checking and re-checking, answering and re-stating we finally completed this site visit. On to the next *yey* *Weeps*

12.30 am to 1.00 pm - Commute to the next site visit

The rain has seized at this point and the sun is now scorching my face off *welcome to the tropics* as I walk down the lane to the next site. We are scheduled to meet up with the contractor, the client and the engineer for this project. It's been a while since we visited and I find myself looking forward to seeing the progress.

1.00 pm to 2.00 pm - The Screened Renovation

This is a renovation project for a dear friend of mine who has been supportive of my drive to become an architect right from my days at the university. He wanted to renovate his house and we tried to get it started as early as 2013. Finally, after many years the project commenced early this year. The brief was simple - renovate the existing 3 bedroom house while adding an extra floor to the structure. The original design was quite poorly planned with many of the bedrooms and common spaces lacking natural light and ventilation. The design for the renovation was inspired by a contemporary tropical design language with an emphasis on privacy from the dense residential neighborhood.

Two story badly planned house which Island studio is renovating to a contemporary design
The Screened Renovation - Before Renovations

This is what the house looked liked before our intervention *resists urge to write a 1000 words on all that is wrong about this existing design*

The video snippet below better illustrates the progression from the above image to what's on site now.

The addition of a floor meant a complex *almost surgical* structural solution which we worked out with our engineer - the new columns would be placed on the outer edge of the structure where possible while a few columns would be introduced strategically in the interiors while minimizing demolition.

The site visit today was to check on certain column positions, excavations and approve these to commence casting the concrete. We would also check on the progress of the front end of the house which would be almost 90% newly constructed.

This is what the house will look like once we are done renovating it. The video snippet is from the exact spot the photograph above has been taken. I am hopeful that we will be able to complete this project within the stipulated budget *hopeful* *economy burns in the background*

2.00 pm to 2.30 pm - A quick lunch | coffee

Island Yaka Roasters *this place is gold*

Career advice - if it's a shit day, take a coffee break. If you work for a firm - take the break on your employer's time *not on your lunch break* . You will thank me later.

Cafe BomBon coffee break during a site visit by Your Everyday Architect
Cafe Bombon - Island Yaka Roasters

This is a great local coffee spot. Locally sourced & roasted coffee. We tried the Cafe Bombon - which is actually of Spanish origin, but I cant help but get a nostalgic kick that takes me straight back to Vietnam - my hands down winner of contemporary localized coffee culture. *You've never tried coffee till you try Vietnamese robusta*

2.30 pm to 3.00 pm - Commute to the final site visit for the day *dark clouds closing in again*

I feel energized. I like to think that this feeling is because the project we are headed to is probably the coolest | weirdest one yet *but it definitely could be the copious amounts of coffee running through my veins right now*. *I know what you are thinking - but unlike some parents who lie to themselves and their kids, it's totally acceptable for an architect to have a favourite child | project* *side eyes*

We reach the site and are ushered in by a steady medium strength drizzle. Nothing an Islander can't handle.

3.00 pm to 4.00 pm - The Oasis

This project is many things. What it's not is...ordinary. The client for this project is as unique as the project itself. This is quite a repetitive theme that I have casually mentioned a few times now - great projects need great clients.

The Oasis is exactly as it's name suggests an oasis, a watering hole at the center of a industrial office complex. This site was basically a cluster of large trees with a large water tank structure located at one boundary. We were asked to design a gathering space for the staff of the corporate offices around to take a break from their monotonous work day.

We designed a structure which can only be described as 'organic'. It has no definite form that can be understood. The structural support grid is random and mimics a cluster of tree trunks. *No trees were harmed in the execution of this organic shelter*.

The space is a series of floor planes and roof planes that float at different levels creating some shelter in and around the shade of the trees.

Remember how I told you the client was unique? yeah... he's more or less a collector of random materials, scraps and found objects. All the materials used in this project are salvaged and reused. I will go into detail on the Oasis on a separate post *it really does deserve its own post*, but for now here are some teasers from the site under construction.

The Oasis project by Island Studio Your Everyday Architect timber framed grid structure
The Oasis - Framed Nature

The sky is framed through the structure. The finished product will have the same quality of space as we have detailed the roofing material with transparent roofing sheets. To all the maintenance hotheads who will say 'there will be so many leaves on the roof' - that's part of building in the tropics * with it*. Jokes aside, It's very simple, tropical architecture will weather and age and some elements of it need to be constantly maintained for functionality.

The video snippet below shows a small walk through of The Oasis as it stands today. 2 of the 5 roof planes have been completed. Work is progressing slowly as this project is epitome of 'bespoke' and requires a lot of our on-site-input.

4.00 pm to 5.30 pm - Head home *The sky finally breaks*

I made a smart decision *few and far between these* to leave my bike at the studio and hail a taxi back home. Thank God I did! *man the rain was intense*.

I reach home and look at my workspace which I set up planing to complete Friday's blog post and send it out as usual... But I just crashed... took a wash and called it a day. I know you guys will understand. *More career advice - Even if you are your own boss - take a break on your employer's time* * I just realized I skipped lunch*

Thinking back I must say I absolutely enjoyed that rainy cab ride home listening to some Of Monsters and Men* *cue mountain sound* - Check out my pluviophile playlist on Spotify - Postponed Due To Monsoon *chill vibes*

Also 'Postponed Due To Monsoon' could this be the name of my new punk rock band?

Cheers my friend !

Your Everyday Architect sign off hand written


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Rabindranath Refuge
Rabindranath Refuge
Jun 07, 2022

Lovely post! Keep it going Roven. Oh, and l like the bike, and the fact that you have made cycling a part of your daily life :).

Roven Rebeira
Roven Rebeira
Jun 07, 2022
Replying to

Thanks Ref! Tough to be consistent with the weather right now. It's actually surprising that Sri Lanka being an asian country with monsoons still doesn't have innovative products or infrastructure to allow people to move about and get about their day despite the weather. Here the only answer to 'how do you travel in the rain?' Or many other things in life is 'buy a car'. We don't even have those funky raincoats that japan or vietnam does.


Adeesha Ekanayake
Adeesha Ekanayake
Jun 06, 2022

Loved reading this! Thank you and keep writing :)

Roven Rebeira
Roven Rebeira
Jun 07, 2022
Replying to

Thanks Adeesha ! Trust you are keeping well. Stay safe



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