Author: RS 3rd-Year Team

That’s a Wrap

Our spring 2021 3rd-year students finished off their time at Rural Studio with a bang! The last couple of months in Hale flew on by, taking nine students away with them.

History Class

As the semester wrapped up, so did the seminar with their professor, Dick Hudgens. Students toured a few more pre-civil-war homes and Dick held final reviews for the students’ work. Out on the Spencer House front porch, each member of the class presented three months’ worth of sketches from house tours, watercolor work, and historic housing “Design Problems.” Thanks to Ian Crawford for attending the review and providing his wise-as-ever advice and expertise!

Shop Class

Students worked diligently until the very last hour, oiling and installing cabinets. Plywood cabinets finished with tung oil and paste wax were designed and built this semester for the following spaces in Ophelia’s new home: the kitchen, nook, utility room, bathroom, and bedroom. That’s a lot of cabinets! Nineteen, to be exact.

Cabinets are nearly ready for use!

Yes, they also built a house!

During the past few months, a lot happened at Ophelia’s Home. The remaining pieces of ZIP System sheathing were nailed into place by the Enclosures Team; Ashley, Juyeon, and Logan. Then windows, doors, and joints were meticulously taped.

After Ophelia chose a siding color—burgundy—the team got to work installing the corrugated metal cladding. By the end of the semester, these three students of the Enclosures Team were mastered cutting and installing metal panels.

a group of people gather to watch a woman present some color options
Pick a color, any color.

Remember those funky exterior design charrettes? The ones considering tricks-of-the-eye and optical illusions? Well, those design discussions came to fruition during siding installation. The metal corrugation runs in two directions, which helps enhance a new proportion on the front faces while disrupting the front corner of the house.

a view of a burgundy house in a big yard with a green-colored house in the background
Where does the porch wall terminate? You may never know.

The MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) Team—James, Kirby, and Wendy—spent their days putting together the many parts and pieces that give a house running water and power. These three students installed the entire MEP system for Ophelia’s Home from scratch! Because there’s so much that goes into these systems, they spent a whole lot of time driving to Lowe’s and back… and to Lowe’s and back again.

two students load a cart with pvc pipe in a hardware store
Gotta have plenty of pipe

While MEP and Enclosures Teams were working away, the Interiors/Rough Framing Team–Austin, Drew Haley, and Sadie–was steadily constructing the back stoop and front entrance to the house. They also put the finishing touches on the inside of the house. First, they tackled the back stoop: digging holes for three posts, constructing a platform, decking the platform, and building the stairs.

a set of wooden stairs lead to the door of a partially-clad house
Dang, that’s a nice lookin’ stoop.

The team then moved inside and recruited help from members of the MEP Team to paint the walls and ceiling and install laminate flooring.

a woman kneels over flooring boards while she hammers the pieces together
Tap, tap, tap

For Ophelia’s front entrance, this team built the formwork for and poured the concrete ramp! Many thanks are due to Andrew and Steve for helping with the ramp’s design and construction.

Ophelia’s Home: All Ramped Up

Pig Roast

The semester concluded with an “in-house” celebration of the Studio and the incredible body of work accomplished this year. We’ll miss these students dearly, and hope they return to Hale again soon (5th-year, perhaps?). Once a part of Rural Studio, always a part of Rural Studio.

Bye for now!

1st-Year Students Visit Rural Studio to Construct ‘Things for Sitting’

Auburn University 1st-Year architecture students graced Rural Studio with fresh faces and eager spirits. Main campus professors Alyssa Kuhns and Gorham Bird organized a wonderful project for the students which culminated in a drive to Newbern and a day of fabrication at the Morrisette Campus. The experience was a blast for Rural Studio faculty and students. Let’s get into how the 1st-Years studied, designed, and made their, ‘Things for Sitting’.

an aerial view of students and faculty using power tools together under a large wooden pavilion
Mid-day construction madness

In Studio Preparation

The 1st-year students began the ‘A Thing for Sitting’ project by studying iconic benches, chairs, and stools. Next, they developed highly crafted 1:5 models and rendered drawings of their assigned iconic ‘thing for sitting’. After this study, in groups, they developed their own ‘thing for sitting’ inspired by what they studied. First, each student individually developed joinery studies connecting planar or linear elements. Those studies were combined to create a group assembly.

The joints and resulting assembly or ‘thing for sitting’ were developed through full-scale cardboard mock-ups, 1:1 drawings, and storyboards to ensure students were working within the material, tool, and process limitations. With approved designs and drawings, they piled into cars for a Saturday caravan to the Rural Studio Morrisette Campus.

a large group of students watch as a male professor demonstrates how to use a table saw
Steve Long demonstrates how to safely use power tools

Welcome to Newbern

The 1st-Years have arrived! The day started with a thorough introduction to the proper use and safety precautions of basic power tools. Steve Long taught the lesson with demonstrations from the ongoing projects’ tool trailers. That’s right, these 1st-Years took on the task of making beautiful objects, not in the illustrious Rural Studio woodshop. Instead, they worked “on-site” at the Fabrication Pavilion with construction-grade tools. With safety training completed, the 1st-Years began practicing with several faculty members and students to keep watchful eyes and dole out advice.

After a little power tool practice and a big lunch from Chef Catherine, the 1st-Years began making their objects. First, they fabricated their pre-designed joints using 2″ x 4″ Southern Yellow Pine lumber and plywood. They also had access to all the tools the trailers have to offer and their own personal Rural Studio student.

Making a ‘Thing for Sitting’

When the students completed their own joint, it was time to fit it together with the rest of their teams’ pieces to create the full ‘Thing for Sitting’. To make the parts come together as one took adjustments to the individual joints and sometimes the entire design. Thankfully, Faculty members Chelsea Elcott, Steve Long, Emily McGlohn, and even Andrew Freear joined in to right all the wrongs and problem solve. In just 5 hours of intense work, every single 1st-year team created a ‘Thing to Sit’ which stood entirely on its own. Even more impressive, every single object was sit-able! No splintering under pressure here.

The day ended with a gathering of students and fabricated objects on the Great Hall. Each student team spoke about their objects’ inspiration and aspirations. Mostly, they spoke of what they learned. Everything from communicating with team members to how difficult it was to take it from drawing to reality. “Things don’t just fit together as you drew them!” Learning typical design-build lessons early. Overall, everyone gained confidence in using tools and fabrication. Hopefully, some of them caught the Rural Studio bug!

Rural Studio faculty and students were impressed and proud of the 1st-Year students’ final product as well as their journey to it. Check out their lovely ‘Things for Sitting’ above! A big thanks to professors Alyssa Kuhns, Gorham Bird, and David Kennedy for planning the day and bringing the 1st-Years over to Hale County. Come back and visit soon!

3rd-Year’s Final Watercolors

Check out 3rd-year history class’s beautiful elevations and details of Gaineswood in Demopolis, Alabama, the Pollen Mansion in Montgomery, Alabama, and the Perry County Court House in Marion, Alabama. These buildings were meticulously hand-drafted and water-colored all semester long.

A Study of Magnolia Grove

This week, 3rd-years looked at Magnolia Grove, a plantation home built in 1840 in Greensboro, Alabama. As shown in the following watercolor investigations, professor Dick Hudgens asked his students to focus on the house’s detached kitchen and servants’ quarters. These drawings are the semester’s last round of quick watercolor practice. Stay tuned for next week’s post, which reveals the student’s final drafted watercolors–they’ve been working on these beauties all semester!

A Second Look at Kenworthy Hall

This week, Dick Hudgens gave his students another opportunity to draw Kenworthy Hall, a plantation home built in 1860 right outside of Marion, Alabama. The 3rd-years found HABS drawings online and used these documents to draft and watercolor a longitudinal section through the home. Here are just a handful of the students’ incredible sections: