Unbuilding the Grace and Pearman Bridges

For Sparky and myself, curiosity drives passion which in turn fuels our life's engine. Our passion was capturing the story of both unbuilding the Grace (1929 - 2007) and Pearman (1966 - 2007) Bridges and discovering the unbuilders. It takes a lot of passion to track a project from July 2005 until April 2007 - rain, shine, hurricanes or moving to Singapore. We discovered the joy of discovery learning. Ken Canty opened the front door for us - then Steve Testa, Ponch Billingsley and Mickey Rogers opened many side doors. Below are the highlights of what we discovered, who we met and what we learned.

And a reminder from T.S. Eliot (East Coker from the Four Quartets)

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.

August 19, 2006: Unbuilding the HDB Foundation

For orientation: click to see the unbuilding site. The three towers on the right with the swimming pool is our home in Singapore. To the left of the tower to the left of our pool are the two HDB blocks. The nearer one is currently under unbuilding. The one to the left is being prepared. To the right of our apartment complex are the MRT tracks (above ground subway here) with the MRT station near the top right of the map.

Its Saturday morning about 7:45 and the guys are waking up across the street. Here is the worksite this morning. I was home most of the day working on an editorial for a cardiology journal, so today I was able to follow the work until dinner time.

Here is the worksite

This is where most of the action is today. This region is the ground floor of the building. Over the day, the excavators will transplant this region to somewhere and work down to the foundation

Here is Michael's hammer working on punching through the ground floor

Now its 11:25 am and most of the floor in the center region is gone

To the left - not much action

In the center, you can see a few basement wall sections still in place

Now its 4 pm and the excavators are down to the foundation

Most of the action is in the center, taking down the basement walls

And Michael's hammer - in a sort of reverse position

Working on unbuilding the basement walls

A closer view. The grapple in the back is digging around the foundation while the hammers are working on the walls

Now its 4:45 pm and gone is the wall

and work continues on breaking the foundation up into small bite-size pieces

And the result of a day's unbuilding

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer