#3rd-years

New Kids on the Block

Rural Studio welcomed its newest group of 3rd-year students to Newbern last week! Many precautions are being taken and there have been several rounds of testing to ensure a healthy and happy start to the new semester. This group will continue construction on 20K Ophelia’s Home. They are eager to begin and are diving into the process and planning of construction. The students are excited to keep up the great work the past cohorts completed. They are also looking forward to adding their own stamp to Ophelia’s home.

New 3rd Years sit on the steps of the Great Hall.
Top Row: Logan Lee, Austin Black, James Foo
Middle Row: Juyeon Han, Kirby Spraggins, Ashley Wilson
Bottom Row: Wendy Webb, Drew Haley Smith, Sadie McIntyre

3rd-Year Who’s Who

An Introduction with their hometowns, favorite activities, quotes, and 3rd-year superlative.

Most likely to make a Tiktok
Ashley Wilson
Wetumpka, AL
Likes to play guitar and Animal Crossing
“Bruh.”

Best mustache at Rural Studio” (self-proclaimed)
Austin Black
Birmingham, AL
Likes to cook and listen to podcasts
“…”

Most likely to clean in her spare time
Drew Haley Smith
Auburn, AL
Likes to knit, sew, and play the piano
“Hello, hello! :)”

Most likely to fix the plotter
James Foo
Marietta, GA
Likes to play video games
“Greeaaattt”

Most likely to be a ninja
Juyeon Han
Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea / Montgomery, AL, USA
Likes to bead rings and take photographs
“So sad”

Most likely to be running late
Kirby Spraggins
Southlake, TX
Likes to run and play the guitar
“I feel like Bob the Builder.”

Most likely to make a reference to The Office
Logan Lee
Decatur, AL
Likes to hike, eno, and do anything outside
“I miss my dog.”

Most likely to lock the doors
Wendy Webb
Hazel Green, AL
Likes to watch reruns of Dawson’s Creek on Netflix
“*groaning noises*”

Most likely to go home on the weekends
Sadie McIntyre      
Rogersville, AL
Likes to watch Netflix
“That’s a future Sadie problem.”

Our MVP’s

These two have quickly captured the hearts of the third-year group!

Most likely to sit for a pretzel
Roscoe
Newbern, Al
Likes to roam around town and hang out with Brinda
“Woof”

Most likely to steal items from the porch
Brinda
Newbern, Al
Likes to chew bag chairs left on the porch
“bark”

Group of students presents findings during pin-up on the porch of Spencer house.
The group already hard at work planning the course of action for Ms. Ophelia’s home.

Thanks for reading our blog! Keep on the lookout for new posts and exciting updates. We can’t wait to share our semester with you!

Trees and the Double Overhand Knot

It’s time to thread the ropes through the Horseshoe Courtyard Project steel screens. Before all the rope could be installed, it was necessary to prep the lengths of rope per screen panel. Each tall screen consists of five segments that need 75 feet of rope. The shorter screens need 37 feet. Once the set of ropes was ready, a segment of rope was feed through the perforations and the first knot formed. Once that run of rope was threaded through; A wire stretcher was used to pull the whole segment taut while the last knot was tied. Then the excess rope was cut and carefully burned at the end, to keep it from unraveling.

Image of girl tieing rope behind screen

Different types of knots were tested to secure the rope to the bottom of the screen before the panels were infilled. The criteria for the type of knot chosen included both aesthetics and ease of replication. consequently, the team chose the Double Overhand Knot ( close-up above).

Soon after the rope was finished in each screen panel, one or two people began to train the jasmine vines to wrap and climb the ropes. The jasmine was trained by carefully untangling the vines and twining them around then ropes. From time to time, flagging tape was tied around the vine and it’s rope to hold it in place while it grows up to its new home.

Grouting the footings

On a Tuesday morning, with the help of the TMBV team, the footing plates were grouted. The forms were re-used from the previous grouting job, on the tall screens.

Trench in-fill

A few days after the grout set, the Horseshoe Courtyard team, the 3rd-Years, and Mason filled the trench with soil for the vines. When the trench was filled about halfway, a new PEX line for the spigots was laid. Once the spigots were in place the rest of the PEX was buried with more soil.

All Trees Planted!

The day is finally here, the day where all thirteen Natchez Crepe Myrtles are happily and fully transplanted!! After many weeks of anticipation, digging, and moving dirt, one can see how the courtyard is transformed by the trees. For now, beautiful shadows are cast by the tree branches; however, it is easy to imagine the day when the tree canopy creates much-needed shade on a summer day.

Tamping Down and Lighting Up

View of trees and slate from walkway
Slate gravel is the finished surface under the tree canopy and around the brick pad on the South end of the site.

This week, the team unloaded 22 super-sacks of slate, from Rockmart Georgia! Half of these sacks consisted of “Trail Mix” which makes up the first two-inch layer of material. And the “Mini chips” that will be the top two inches are the finish grade. While both generally look the same, the Trail Mix has fines, which function as mulch, while the Mini chips are less powdery, compact better, and decreases the chances of weeds going through the surface. The team, and helpers, set to spreading and hand tamping the first layer of slate around the recently planted trees. While students spread the slate, they placed markers between the trees to ensure that the site continued to slope towards the north end of the site.

Lighting talks and studies

One of the important aspects of the courtyard is its flexibility in usage; both throughout the seasons, as well as at different times of the day. Keeping that in mind elevates the importance of lights in the courtyard. Luckily, the Studio had a visit from Thomas Paterson, a lighting consultant from Mexico City’s LuxPopuli! Thomas showed a couple of projects he and his office has worked on, how they approach lighting design, and some strategies the team could test out in the courtyard. After the lecture, everyone headed to the courtyard site to see those strategies applied to the existing lighting mock-up.

Trench for north screens

As the team moved further north on the site, they had to consider the implications of having a trench separating the spaces. Consequently, before the team planted the trees, they moved the sand for the brick pad by the tall screens. And before the Bobcat could no longer be driven in, bricks and slate were relocated beneath the trees. Shortly after that, Tyler returned to the site one last time, with his Mini-excavator. In one morning’s time Tyler and Ashton, his assistant, dug up the trench and hauled off the excavated dirt from the site. Simultaneously, students salvaged close to a hundred bricks, from the pile of dirt coming out the trench. Many were previously part of foundation walls for the buildings that used to be on the site.

After Tyler left, students quickly prepared the reinforcement of the concrete. While tying the rebar, the team made sure that it matched with the placement of the metal footings for the screens. They did so, like always, by pulling batter board lines across space.