Renewal

I wanted to tell the tale of our heroic reconstruction of Spalena 3, but the images of the effort which sprung to mind are phobic to portraits of the heroic. The first weeks were spent in destruction … or as our no-longer-hip postmodernists might say, deconstruction … and a large part of that job involved a kind of humiliation, slave-work, grown men turned to beasts of burden, job site sweating machines gradually caked in filth. Oh, but all work has dignity. And oh, there were moments where hammers went through walls like Rutger Hauer’s bare hand did near the end of Blade Runner, but most of those first weeks’ man hours were spent hauling the resulting debris down flight after flight of stairs amid trailing clouds of dust to the ground floor where massive mounds of concrete, masonry, tile, gypsum, linoleum, carpet, metal, old toilets and such were piled up and then hauled, bucket by bucket and wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow to great metal bins which were in turn hoisted onto truck beds and hauled away to wherever it is in the Prague environs where the unwanted refuse of men’s failed attempts to make a city are unceremoniously bulldozed back into the gentle hills of Bohemia. Some of those clouds of dust contained specks and shards of materials that had been put in place with great care and precision by trained craftsmen centuries ago. Their work can now be seen in the glorious ceilings of some of our rooms, and in the fantastically thick oaken planks of most of our floors. Later workers, especially the hired hands who put three floors on top of the original three in 1888, had applied different skills and materials, but in 2016 some of their efforts had no value at all. In fact, they had a negative value. Some of what a mason in 1888 had built on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors was today only in the way. We had a use for Spalena 3, but the cubic space was not configured for the purpose. And twentieth century workers! Those boyos were only cursed and ridiculed as their “modernized” bathrooms and practical flooring was pulled down and ripped up with the energy generated by

modern materials
modern materials
take away
take away

contempt.

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