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Wed, 10. July 2013 – 10:05

This simply is too good not to be mentioned here:

With great pride five members of the Software Group would like to celebrate with you the fact that they have survived 10 years of splendid isolation in the so-called pavilions.

From the very start in early July 2003 in Pavilion South till July 2013 in Pavilion West we (and for a shorter time many other people) have gone through various challenging and exciting events. Marco can acknowledge how dangerous a visit to Pavilion South could be. We had to ignore falling acorns sounding like rocks till noisy rain forcing the end of a telecon. Ants eating the ceiling away till dead mice letting us flee the office. From deer (also dying), squirrels and woodpeckers at 5 meters from the window till noisy lawn mowers scaring away all those lovely animals.

At this very moment it is still unclear when this exciting period will end, but we are convinced we are at least half way. Undoubtedly the final goodbye to the so beloved and hated Pavilion West will stir mixed feelings.

What we are talking about here really has become a part of contemporary ASTRON history: both pavilions – the smaller Pavilion South between the main institute bulding and the guest house, as well as the larger Pavilion West – were set up to provide working space for the growing number of employees hired mainly to work on the LOFAR project. With office space becoming sparse and no construction activities for an extension to the institute building in sight, pretty much the only way to host everybody was to set up a number of porta cabins, interconnected to form the larger structures of the pavilions.

When starting to work at ASTRON in 2004 I first was placed in the guest room, which mainly was used to host visiting scientists and (a little bit later that year) the group of summer students. It was only after the conversion of the institute’s library to a number of offices, that I moved to a new working space. However with the creation of the LOFAR User Software Group new office space was required to put all the people involved in the same location; since about the same time changes were happening in LOFAR management, people were redistributed – putting all the software developers under the same roof hence seemed a natural choice and so we moved into Pavilion South.

Pavilion South

The office itself underwent a few changes over time, trying to optimize the arrangement of desks for two permanent working spaces and at least two regular visitors. I myself took up the opportunity to personalize my working environment, adding all the bits and pieces – extra monitors and hard-drives, tea supplies – to tailor the place to my needs.

Pavilion South

When Pavilion South was deconstructed in August 2008 (picture above), the Software Group migrated to the larger Pavilion West to the backside of the institute building. Commong to both buildings – as rightfully stressed in the quote – was the rather direct exposure to the elements: warmer during summer and colder during as the main building (due to the lacking insulation) we enjoyed the countless encounters with smaller animals and the deafening sound of raindrops on the roof.

Pavilion West

Pavilion West