students collaborating on drawing

Rural Studio Bathhouse

  • Overview

    Info

    Newbern, AL
    2023
    5th-Year Project
    Campus

  • Project Team

    Ambar Ashraf, Logan Lee, Carla Slabber, Ashley Wilson

Morrisette Campus’s housing pods will gain a new bathhouse, which will offer showers, toilets, laundry, dining, and cooking space for an expected 16-person cohort of 3rd-year students. The Studio continues to research the potential of mass timber as both a construction material and a more sustainable and appropriate local way to build. Working, once again, directly with Kiel Moe, the 5th-years have been challenged to build a functional, dignified, and beautiful bathroom facility out of wood, while dealing with the associated need for the management of water, humidity, and ventilation.

A shared bathhouse (and more) that tackles how to make mass timber work well in a warm, damp environment
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drawing of construction process

18×18 House

  • Overview

    Info

    Newbern, AL
    2023
    5th-Year Project
    Residential

  • Project Team

    Jake Buell, Julie DiDeo, Meagan Mitchell, Naomi Tony-Alabi

The 18×18 House aims to fulfill the need for a small, adaptable, multistory house in both urban and rural settings. The dimensions and name—18’ x 18’—come from the size of two parking spaces,as some cities are negotiating with developers to swap out parking spaces in exchange for housing units that are affordable.

A small-footprint house that addresses limited buildable space for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and housing that is affordable
In rural areas, such a small house can be built on family properties that may not have usable space for a larger home. Rural properties often have obstacles such as standing ground water, septic fields, power lines, or abandoned homes that can drastically reduce the buildable footprint.
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Patriece's Home at dusk with house lights on

Patriece’s Home

  • Overview

    Info

    Newbern, AL
    2022
    5th-Year Project
    Residential

  • Project Team

    Adam Davis, Daniel Burton, Laurel Holloway, Lauren Lovell

Patriece’s Home design is focused on providing more space for varying and multi-generational families in a small footprint. Often in rural areas, like Hale County, one family will live in the same home for many generations. This design offers opportunities and challenges for the home to adapt as the number of occupants and their relationships change. Although the home is designed to be adaptable, the goal for future users is to be able to modify the space without significant alterations or additions to the interior rooms. In this design, the interior of the home expands upward rather than outward, decreasing the overall cost per square footage.

“A two-story home that can adapt as its occupancy changes.”

This project also explores the use of an attic truss for occupying the roof and the option of separating the home into two independent living units, a potential for a second source of income. Because homes are such an important asset to a rural homeowner, this project seeks to optimize how the home can be used as generations of residents and their circumstances change.

So what all can the stair can do for a home besides providing circulation between the two stories? The team has found the stair to be an excellent tool for creating a threshold and sound barrier between units while also providing storage and hosting social interaction. The stair is also useful for natural ventilation as well as pushing light deeper into the home.

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C.H.O.I.C.E. House

  • Overview

    Info

    Uniontown, AL
    2022
    5th-Year Project
    Residential, Community

  • Project Team

    AC Priest, Davis Benfer, Hailey Osborne, Yi Xuan (Raymond) Teo

The C.H.O.I.C.E. House: Emergency Shelter is a project designed to address the need for rapid rehousing solutions in both Alabama as well as the United States a whole. To do this, the team is working with C.H.O.I.C.E., a resource-based organization headquartered out of Uniontown, Alabama. Since 2009, Executive Director Emefa Butler and her team have worked to “bridge the gap between availability and accessibility” in Uniontown and all of Perry County. The 5th-Year student team is working with C.H.O.I.C.E. to support their rapid re-housing initiatives by designing and building emergency shelter for two clients at a time to stay for up to 30 days.

Dignity, durability and accessibility drive the design, given the varied demographics and high turnover of clients. While the student team will build to accommodate two occupants over the course of the project, the ultimate goal of this partnership with C.H.O.I.C.E. is to set an emergency shelter precedent that is replicable for many different conditions.

This is accomplished through a “machine” volume that concentrates many of the units’ services and acts as a divider between the living and sleeping volumes. The volume’s role as a divider is paramount to creating moments for privacy, a key component of a dignified dwelling.

The units embody a hierarchy of ideas where immediately, they meet the need for secure shelter. Within the shelter, clients work with caseworkers to build life skills. The way the form of the units addresses these needs is then rooted in a deeper architectural critique of the nature of transient housing.
Dignity, durability, and accessibility drive the design.
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Moundville Archaeological Park Community Pavilion

  • Overview

    Info

    Moundville, AL
    2019 & 2022
    5th-Year Project
    Recreation/Community

  • Project Team

    2019 | Emily Lopez, Katie Cantine, Lauren Ballard, Sarah Page

    2022 | Brenton Smith, Caitlyn Biffle, Collin Brown, Jackie Rosborough

Moundville Archaeological Park is the historic site of one of the largest Native American settlements during the Mississippian culture. National Geographic called Moundville, “The Big Apple of the 14th Century,” as it was once America’s largest city north of Mexico. Now owned and operated by The University of Alabama, the park preserves 326 acres along the Black Warrior River, where 29 mounds remain that once served as platforms for residential, civic, and cultural life and ceremonies.

Today, a museum, an active archaeological lab, campgrounds, trails, and more surround the perimeter of the mounds, outside the now ancient palisade wall. The site is known for its annual Native American Festival, which brings visitors from all around the country, including multiple tribes for whom it serves as an ancestral home. Rural Studio is designing and building a pavilion and surrounding landscape near the campsites that will serve the visiting campers, local community members, and as a potential focal point for future Native American festivals.

A new outdoor space for events and daily park users

a “butterfly” ceiling allows users to feel connected to their surroundings while a gable roof protects them from the elements
2019 team photo
2019 Team
2022 Team
2022 Team
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