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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construction site at sunset

Rosie’s Home

  • Overview

    Info

    Newbern, AL
    2022
    3rd-Year Project
    Residential

  • Project Team

    FALL 2021
    Laura Forrest, Peter Harpring

    SPRING 2022
    Jon Hunt Ficken, Anna Leach, Sarah Recht, Will Robinson, Grant Schurman, & Julia Whitt

    FALL 2022
    Alex Tate, Amanda Kaase, Elizabeth Klein, Ellis Smith, Eric Miles, Gabe Brown, Jenna Webb, John Ratley, Paxtyn Whitney, Rachel Klein, Tricia Smith

    SPRING 2023
    Canon McConnell, Finn Downes, Junting Song, Lucas Henderson, Trenton Williams

Rosie’s Home builds upon our ongoing post-frame construction research, where we first build a roof on site and then construct the home underneath. This approach allows us to more quickly work on site in a sheltered and controlled environment. This version of a post-frame home is a multi-phased project. Our 3rd-year students in the Fall semester are analyzing both the client’s site as well as previous 20K Homes to determine the size, form, and location of the initial roof structure for Rosie’s Home. Local contractors will erect the chosen roof assembly. The Spring semester students will continue the project by designing and building the spaces below the roof.

Rural Studio is studying this type of construction for several reasons. Protection: The roof is built first, so we can work get to work quickly, even during the rainy season. Expansion: Our clients can more easily make additions under a big roof. Typology: Post-frame structures are common, affordable, and of the vernacular in West Alabama.
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finished home

Myers’ Home

  • Overview

    Info

    Newbern, AL
    2021
    5th-Year Project
    Residential

  • Project Team

    Riley Boles, Madeline Ray, Judith Seaman, Robbin Reese

The Myers’ Home is designed to be easily adapted from two rooms to five as the demographics of a family change. Homeowners in rural landscapes, like Hale County, often increase the size of their home through small additions to the property over a longer period of time. This 5th-year student team was inspired by American residential “kit home” precedents: the regional Jim Walter Homes and ubiquitous Sears Modern Homes by Sears, Roebuck and Co., which were built as “shells” with unfinished interior space. 

A two-story, “shell” home that can easily expand for generations.
This design for the Myers family uses an attic truss and non-load bearing interior walls for an adjustable ground plan and attic space. The home offers a flexible ground floor interior with two rooms and one bathroom that can be changed to adapt to their needs and those of future inhabitants. The second floor provides space for added rooms, a bathroom, and storage for generations. A centralized core combines the stair, bathroom, laundry, utilities, and attic plumbing hookups to organize the plan, acting as a spatial divider.
The long front porch engages both the site and multiple spaces in the home but is structurally separate from the main shell. Keeping the home’s primary structure inside the outer envelope, with low maintenance zero eave conditions, prioritizes the longevity and lifespan of this “generational home.”
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completed home

Rev. Walker’s Home

  • Overview

    Info

    Newbern, AL
    2021
    5th-Year Project
    Residential

  • Project Team

    Addie Harchelroad, Becca Wiggs, George Slaughter, Paul Fallin

The design for Rev. Walker’s Home is a response to the phenomena of home expansion that is common in rural areas: instead of selling and moving, homeowners often expand their current houses. The problem is that additions often undermine the original home and become points of failure in roof and foundation, often leading to catastrophic failure.

A rural home that offers outdoor living and opportunities for expansion.
Building upon last year’s housing research, and to mitigate this condition, this year’s 5th-year student team has provided Rev. Walker a large post-structured roof over a continuous sheltered slab foundation to protect and facilitate additions. Along with its potential future uses, the covered space provides shelter and reduces weather delays during construction.
The big roof celebrates outdoor living space and underneath provides a small, cross ventilated enclosure—designed for one or two occupants—that can adapt to meet changing household needs. The home functions as a springboard for creative future expansions in the unenclosed space that can adapt to lifestyle changes and encourages the client to make a place that is distinctly their own.
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