An amateur roofer’s tribute to architecture

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An amateur roofer's tribute to architecture
Frank Gehry imagined and executed the magnificent sculpture that is Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion. But he also made it a working space, with sinks and rainwater drainage / © Charles Cherney, Chicago Tribune
An amateur roofer's tribute to architecture
Frank Gehry imagined and executed the magnificent sculpture that is Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion. But he also made it a working space, with sinks and rainwater drainage / © Charles Cherney, Chicago Tribune

Just before reaching age 80, I patched a leaky roof, disdaining professional help. This winter’s storms will soon test my repair, thus demonstrating how much I remembered from architecture school before turning in my T-square and triangle almost 60 years ago.

My roofing job wasn’t as nutty an adventure as you might think. It isn’t a steeply pitched roof. It’s flat, under a second-floor deck, and is accessible via a sliding glass door from an adjoining bedroom. So I didn’t have to climb a ladder.

Plus, I was inspired the instant a contractor said: “Figure about 5,000 bucks.” That seemed pricey for a jagged rip about 10 or 12 inches long.

Handy with tools, I’m called on to fix a heartbroken grandchild’s toy, or glue together a vase that a friend’s cat knocked off a shelf. I’ve got a basement full of power tools that I periodically feel a need to justify. ….

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