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Marie Baron (2010)

SchoolIndustrial Engineering Institute - Nantes, FRANCE (studying civil engineering and building construction)

Primary Project: Summer Kitchen, Bottle Cistern

"One of my goals was to improve my English, and I feel I reached my goal.  Not only have I learned more English, but I know many more words for equipment and materials that are used in construction and engineering.

Before I came here I did not think about how we collect or use water in the modern world.  My main project was to design and build an awning that collects water, and also captures the water for the sink that is part of an outdoor kitchen that will be housed under the awning.  Most of the materials I included in my design were reused from old barns or items destined to be thrown into the waste stream.  The upright posts were created from old barn beams, and sculpted sandstone from demolished German bank barns.  The roof is covered with re-used tin panels.  The cistern was built from over 1,000 glass beer bottles and reused metal 2x4’s.  The top of the cistern is a wetland that will grow vegetables.  All of this design and building required a lot of project management and creative thinking.

One of the most important things I learned to was how to make concrete – that is a very good thing to know for my future job because my job will be to tell people what to do, and how the process works - so it’s very important that I know how to do what I will ask them to do.

This summer was a big change for me.  I learned things that I had never thought about before like how to live with other people in a community, and how to organize life so each person has a role within the community.

I also discovered how to be closer to animals, and how to milk goats."