20K Ophelia’s Home

Sketching From Home

watercolor with no redline of Kenworthy Hall
Kenworthy Hall by Daniel Burton

This week’s History Class focused on Kenworthy Hall in Marion, Alabama. Because 3rd-year students are unable to physically visit the home, Dick has provided them with HABS (Historic American Building Survey) drawings of each building. Students are using these drawings–predominantly elevations–to draft their own versions. Here is an assortment of this week’s watercolor sketches:

History Class Can Be Remote, Too!

watercolor sketch with redline comments of Sturdivant Hall
Sturdivant Hall

Studio and Cabinet Class were not the only 3rd-year courses that converted to remote learning this past week. Dick Hudgens also restructured his history class into an isolation-friendly form. Each week, the 3rd-year students will submit water-colored sketches to Dick that he will then red line and send back to the students. Take a look at some of the first week’s beautiful drawings of the Givhan House and Sturdivant Hall:

We’ve Been Framed

Things are in motion at 20K Ophelia’s Home! Specifically, the motion of lifting walls up and framing a porch. The exterior walls have been framed and sheathed, and the north and south walls have been lifted into place.

This process was started by measuring and tracing out the stud placement on the edges of the subfloor and laying out all the timber before nailing them together. Occasionally nailing some timber to the subfloor then having to take them out was surely a great way to improve our nail-removing skills. Once the walls had been framed with the studs at 24” on center, and window and door openings were located and framed, the green layer of Zip sheathing was laid on top.

The walls were not the only thing to be framed, as the MEP team was hard at work framing up the porch which proved to be more tedious than expected. In order for the porch to create a level surface with the soon to come interior floor, the joists had to be shortened slightly to accommodate for the layer of wood that will create the porch surface.

Speaking of the porch! There was also some more development of the ideas about a solution for the porch entrance that came from a review with Andrew Freear, Elena Barthel, and assistant director of Tulane’s design build program Emilie Taylor Welty. After much discussion of the three options, which are angle, north, and tongue porch, the 3rd-years were able to narrow it down to the “tongue” option. In order to reach a final porch design, this iteration will go through another process of refinement in the upcoming week.

3rd-years signing off for a jiminy split, see you folks after spring break! 

One floor all, all floor one!

It might still be raining, but the rain delay is over for the 3rd-years! It’s about time here at 20K Ophelia’s Home, but the framing of the floor above the crawlspace foundation is finally complete. As the rainy days are starting to become less frequent, there has been more time for the 3rd-years to progress forward with construction.

Enclosures team finished up the last details on the termite flashing, figuring out a neat corner solution along with the flashing dipping down to cover where the girders rest.

Wednesday was a charrette day back in studio, and the walls have never been more colorful! Ideas upon ideas were put on paper as the whole day was spent exploring options for the porch on Ophelia’s Home. The 3rd-years will continue to refine the design for Ophelia and the site.

There were a few road bumps while building the flooring because we discovered the foundation was not completely square and is now a ~soft~ trapezoid. Having to work around a funky foundation, the framing team became pros at leveling and squaring the floor framing. In order to make sure the floor was entirely level, they carefully worked to correct the rim joists by pushing them towards the crawlspace in some spots. Once the shimming and squaring was done and checked (and checked again, and maybe redone in a few places, then checked some more) it was smooth sailing to place in the rest of the joists and blocking.

To cap off a busy week , sub floors were put into place on the joists. The floors might be blue, but the 3rd-years sure weren’t as they finished up with a layer of waterproof paint that matched the much anticipated clear sky above.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Folks, it was one heck of a rainy week in Newbern! Though this slowed some of the progress of the floor framing in Ophelia’s Home, the 3rd-years did manage to get some work done on site before the big storms hit. They completed the fabrication and installation of both girders and the termite shield. Soon after the rain came, the site became a mud pit for the rest of the week which pushed the third years back into studio.


On the bright side, the newly installed drain for the foundation has proved to be worth the multitude of gravel-filled wheelbarrows as it was able to continuously drain the majority of the water that came flowing into the site!

Once indoors, construction documents were updated and the 3rd-years were able to get ahead on cleaning up other drawings, so they’ll have plenty of time to kick it into full gear on site once the rain quits. While not being able to work on site, the 3rd-years also began the process of determining the color of Ophelia’s Home. This was done by looking at the context of the surrounding landscape, and discussing how this can relate to the color.

Tune in next Monday folks, for another update on the 3rd-years tomfoolery! P.S. If somebody can get it to stop raining please do.