On a rainy day in December, we closed the McHenry Architecture office and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Rochester.
In lieu of a large Christmas Party, we came together as a team of coworkers and decided to volunteer instead. We could think of no organization better suited to our interest in architecture than Habitat for Humanity, and quickly set up a volunteer day with the affiliate in Southeast New Hampshire.
We learned more about the family that would be living in the 4-bedroom unit; about how the two parents and four children were currently living in a space that is three times smaller than their new basement. We couldn’t wait to help.
From an architect’s perspective, it’s always nice to actually get out and build something ourselves. Many jokes ensued: architects can draw, but can they build? But the conversations and observations that occur while in the field are carried back to the office and influence our designs and details. And of course, it only gives us greater respect for those that build!
Once we arrived on-site in Rochester, we met with the Site Supervisor, Doug, and the Manager, Amanda. They gave a rundown of the tasks ahead, and we got to work! The roof trusses were being delivered that day, and we got to help a bit with that, but we spent the majority of our day working on door assemblies. Measuring, cutting, counting. More jokes ensued: how many architects does it take to create a door frame? And of course, the competition was fierce as we split into groups for their assembly. Gamesmanship comments went back and forth, and we laughed the whole time.
Even in the rain, we had an amazing time. It felt so good to give back, and to work together in ways that we don’t normally get to do. We got to work with a great organization, and Doug and Amanda were fantastic. Plus, the roof trusses went up that day, though we can’t take credit, and only one person got pegged in the head with a 2×4. Success!
SENH Habitat for Humanity “partners with families to provide safe, affordable, and sustainable housing to strengthen communities.” They partner with families who are in need of affordable, decent, and safe housing. If you would like more information regarding Southeast New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity, or opportunities to volunteer, please head on over to their website http://www.senhhabitat.org/ and check them out on Facebook. We would do it again in a heartbeat!