An Achievement in Atlanta, MI


And so Danny and I return this week to Atlanta, Michigan, site of a timber frame addition project begun back in July. He and I haven’t seen it since then, when in early demolition stage it was hard to imagine what the new structure would actually look like, and how it would attach to the existing. We haven’t seen Dan much since then either. He’s been here for most of that time, out of sight of us and the rest of the world, raising this structure of staggering beauty and immensity.

The building has been peeled open and a massive half-circle appended. Posts soar toward the ceiling, each cut with an angle over 90 degrees to match up against the existing structure. The new frame doesn’t actually attach to the old; just sits right up against it with only inches of air separating them. Two concentric curves, the inner more massive than the outer, support rafters radiating like solar flares; 35 of them in all. Noon winter light floods the space; Jeff on his ladder by the windows is bathed in brilliance. We all are.

White string lights drape the beams. They are functional, as the sun sets earlier here than at home in Ohio, a noticeable dusk descending around 3 o’clock. But they also feel celebratory, matching our feelings at seeing what just a few brief months hath wrought.

I wander around the space with a camera, trying to find angles that capture even a fraction of the magic. As I’ve always experienced in every timber frame Dan has built, the warmth--even in a soaring structure like this, even on a frigid winter day with thick snow floating steadily down over the valley beyond--is most striking.

Danny launches paper airplanes over the main room from the second floor, aiming to get one through the triangular trusses that are original to the building. He very nearly does.

Below him in the kitchen Dan is preparing lunch for his crew who are hard at work indoors and out, a group of solid dudes from both Ohio and Michigan who came together to pull this off. An achievement.

Leah OgonekComment