Hale County Hospital Courtyard 2

Graduation in Greensboro

Although Auburn University postponed our 2020 Commencement Ceremony to August 8-9, we were still able to come together and celebrate our graduation in Greensboro. Our dear friend Tyler Webb, a local Physical Therapist, delivered a fantastic graduation speech on the fly and Jake gave out participation medals to commemorate our time at Rural Studio.

students on front porch

We are so grateful for all the time we’ve spent at Rural Studio and are excited to finally graduate and become alumni! The world feels very uncertain right now, but we’re glad we have one another to lean on.

It’s been a rough semester working around the difficulties of a world-wide pandemic, but we still have a lot to celebrate! We were able to create a wonderful relationship with our Hale County Hospital community partners, paint a beautiful mural in downtown Greensboro, create branding that the Hospital can use for years, and we are almost done with our project book!

students in front of trees

Thanks to all of our family and friends who helped us along the way, especially our fellow Auburn architecture classmates who have made the past five years survivable, incredible, and enjoyable.

“If you had fun, you won.”

Write, Read, Revise

We’ve been hard at work creating our project book. Although we miss working together in studio at Red Barn, we’ve been able to use a multitude of digital tools to make collaborating online successful. The first step in creating the book was discussing what information was important and necessary to include. We identified our audiences and made the decision to create two books that could be printed separately or together.

The first book is written for a broad audience, including people without any architecture or healthcare background. It explores the causes and consequences of rural healthcare’s decline and how Hale County Hospital has remained resilient and impactful in a rapidly changing world. The second book is intended for the next student team that will design and build Hale County Hospital a new courtyard. It explores the people, community, and work that made the project possible. It also documents our understanding of context, working as a team, and posing as landscape architects.

The next step in the book making process was writing a rough outline that detailed what topics to write about in order to explain our narrative. Then we made a Google Slide presentation to order the Chapters and Section as well as write out more detailed information.

slide presentation with notes

To make sure we were thinking “big-picture” we created mind maps on Mindomo to connect the non-linear ideas of the project. It was especially helpful when figuring out how to explain our design process for the courtyard.

While Jake created an InDesign template and developed graphic standards for the book, Ingrid, Nicole, and Kyra began the lengthy process of writing all of the text for the book. Once we finished writing all of the text, we sent it off to Nicole’s mother, Natalie Brown, to be proofread. Natalie has a Bachelor of Science in Education, specializing in secondary English, and a Master’s in Counseling. Her professional career included teaching and counseling for over twenty years, and she has been extremely helpful in editing our project book.

As for the layout of the book, Jake and Ingrid have been hard at work creating the spreads. We are including diagrams, images, architectural drawings, and highlighted texted throughout to add more layers of detail and understanding.

We printed off copies of the first rough draft and marked them up individually. Then we met as a team over Zoom to discuss. It took us two entire days to go through the edits all together, but the hard work was definitely worth it.

We’ll be spending the next couple of weeks creating some more diagrams, finding and inserting images into the InDesign layout, and making final edits. We look forward to sharing our final book with you soon!

From Build to Book

There have been a lot of changes since we all left for spring break a few weeks ago. Due to COVID-19 and safety concerns within our community, our project has been put on hold for a future student team to carry forward our research. Since we are no longer able to build Hale County Hospital a courtyard, we made the decision to document our research and design process through creating a book. The intent for the book is to serve as a resource for the next student team that will pick up the project as well as a case study example of how design can enhance rural hospitals in the United States.

Since Auburn University made the transition to remote learning after Spring Break, we have all been working from our homes in Greensboro. We have set up our home studios and are settling into our new stay at home routines.

student desk by window with plants
Nicole’s Desk
student desk in corner
Jake’s Desk
student desk by window
Ingrid’s Desk
student desk in kitchen
Kyra’s Desk

To stay on top of our work, we’ve been doing daily team Zoom calls. We really enjoy the virtual background feature, although some of us are not tech-savvy enough to figure it out.

Stay tuned as we continue to share updates and progress on our project book!

Post “Pre-Stress Test”

“Pre-Stress Test” is a review with Auburn University faculty to show our progress of the projects and plan of action. It is also preparation for “Stress Test” in May, which determines if we move forward to build the project. Although it is a bit stressful and nerve-racking, “Pre-Stress Test” helps us gain outside perspective on what we need to work on to successfully move forward with the project.

Four professors from Auburn, Margaret Fletcher, Rusty Smith, Justin Miller, and Christian Dagg, came out to Rural Studio for reviews. Margaret and Rusty were our studio professors during 1st-Year at Auburn, so it was fun to show them just how much we’ve learned over the past four years. We were able to share the feedback from the hospital team and how we responded to their design comments.

plan drawing of hospital courtyard

The plan above depicts the ground surfaces and overhead canopy of the courtyard design. The hardscape is drawn as large pavers, the gravel is the dotted hatch, and the white space is the large central lawn.

The section on the left is looking south and shows the seating nooks along the back wall. The section on the right shows how the porch would span across the courtyard and be used for physical therapy activities during sessions.

The perspective drawings show the ideas for the future courtyard overlaid with existing conditions of the hospital.

Concluding comments from our “Pre-Stress Test” reviewers were that we need to focus more on therapy and rehabilitation details in the design and make therapy activities more visible in our drawings. After Spring Break, we will continue to work on design explorations, focus on therapy details, and develop a demolition plan.

Community Partner Conversations

In order to move forward with the design process, we met with our community partners at Hale County Hospital. We gave them a presentation of what we understand about the Hospital’s opportunities and ideas for the future of the courtyard. We showed the hospital team two very different courtyard schemes in order to learn what they liked most about each design.

students giving presentation to hospital community partners

It was fun to share what we had been working on over the past few months!

We used perspectives drawings, plans, precedent images, and 1/8″ models to depict the two schemes.

The perspective drawings above show what the courtyard would look like if you were standing along the south wall and looking north at the porch.

The plan drawings depict the ground surfaces, screens, trees, shrubs, and fish pond that could be used in the courtyard design. The lined hatch pattern represents hardscape, the dotted pattern represents gravel, and the large white space in Secret Garden #1 represents lawn.

Some feedback we got from the hospital team was that they liked the overall design of Secret Garden #1, but enjoyed the private nooks in the shrubs of Secret Garden #2. They thought it was great to have a large covered space for physical therapy that connected the entire courtyard. They also enjoyed the wide columns that could be used for therapy activities during sessions. Moving forward, we will look at how to combine the best ideas of both schemes into one design!