Curb Alert!

Hello again and welcome back to the newest addition of the Rural Studio Bathhouse blog! We are so thrilled to show everyone what we’ve been up to recently! We have a big concrete update, but first—we’ve started stacking our wood walls!

student team poses in outdoor shower
Progress on the outdoor shower!

This is super exciting because this is the major focus of the project, and will be the finish wall material in most of the spaces. Continuing with the construction of the outdoor shower, we have started the stacking here. With the help of the jig table that we built a few months ago, we can align our pieces of cypress wood on one side (the interior of the building) and can clamp them down to the board below, creating a uniform module of five pieces.

We are assembling the modules in the Fabrication Pavilion so we can have a clean working surface. This allows us to stack the modules as they will be set up on site, get everything square and level, and then move the modules in place on site.

We have just a few more layers of modules to assemble and then will begin the process of drilling the holes for the threaded rods in each module.

image of a corner of the stacked outdoor shower
Box-joined corners

As the stacking of the outdoor shower walls was taking place, we also began the process of pouring the concrete curbs around the perimeter of the outdoor shower. We marked the curbs on the slab, assembled framed walls in place on the slab to hold the plywood formwork, and then leveled and attached the plywood to the formwork frames. Next, it was time for the pour!

image of interior curb formwork
Outdoor shower curb formwork

With the assistance of some great helpers, we were able to form a wheelbarrow and bucket brigade, lifting the concrete up into the curbs in the outdoor shower.

After two days, we were able to remove the interior formwork and the vertical formwork walls on the exterior, revealing the hefty slab and curbs!

Once we saw how the pour went for the outdoor shower, we used the same process to build the curb formwork for the toilet and shower pods.

Pouring the outdoor shower first did teach us some things, including how to attach the plywood to the frames and the need to account for gaps at the seam between the formwork and slab due to the leveling process, and generally we learned the overall process of getting the concrete into the curbs.

After caulking all gaps, the formwork was set and it was ready to pour!

image of finished curb formwork on toilet and shower pods
Before the pour

Again with the help of some fantastic helpers, we recently poured the curbs for the toilet and shower pods and are so excited to almost be done with concrete!

image of toilet and shower pod right after concrete pour

As this is being written, the team has been taking off all the interior curb formwork and the exterior vertical walls on the toilet and shower pod, revealing the slab and curbs!

We have another concrete pour coming up in a few days. This next pour will be for the foundation of a gray water filtration system for the outdoor shower run-off and the foundation of the bottle-filling station at the front of the building. We are already busy preparing for that pour with more digging and more rebar! Afterward, the only concrete left will be a topping slab going into each of the existing pods (the laundry and getting ready pods).

The team is very excited about the progress being made and cannot wait to dive back into the assembly of the wood walls for the outdoor shower and the rest of the building!

students take a rest in outdoor shower
Time for a nap!

Thanks for following along with the Bathhouse blog! We look forward to providing another update very soon.

– Rural Studio Bathhouse Team

Carla, Ambar, Ashley, and Logan

Taking a Slab at It: A Bathhouse Concrete Story!

Hello dearest reader and welcome back to the latest edition of the Rural Studio Bathhouse blog!

The past few months have been a very exciting and productive period for the Bathhouse. We are very happy to share what all we’ve been up to since we last spoke!

Students pose for picture on metal deck

At the time of our last update, we had just finished all the underground plumbing and preparing the CMU foundation walls for the floor structure.

We picked up on site where we left off by moving the structural beams into their places in the foundation walls and securing them in place!

View of students looking over metal deck from below
Greetings, Earthlings!

After cutting our metal decking to size, we were able to place the decking and began securing it to the CMU walls. Our good friend, Shane, helped us out by welding the decking down to the beams.

Once the deck was in place, it was time for Spring Break, but we did not take a break from the project. We had a very relaxing week in the woodshop building all the modular formwork for the slab!

Student screws pieces of wood together
Assembling base module supports

Once it was all built, we got busy on site installing the formwork. We started off with ledger boards on the CMU walls, then installed the base support modules and plywood base, and finally pulled strings to set the upright walls in place. We then braced these walls back to the base and added plywood to the inside face, completing the formwork.

image of completed formwork
Finished formwork

When the formwork was set, it provided a nice square base to measure all the penetrations in the slab from. We started off with the holes for the threaded rods.

Next, we marked out all the electrical and plumbing penetrations in the decking and cut them out.

While all of this was going on, we also began plumbing the whole Bathhouse and installing all the electrical conduit and boxes in the crawlspaces. While plumbing was occurring, rebar was being cut to size on the ground. We used bracing attached to the formwork walls to help support the PVC sleeves for the threaded rods and the plumbing and electrical stub outs.

After all the plumbing was completed and tested, we were able to begin putting the rebar reinforcement into place.

The team tied all the pieces together to form a large rebar mat for the slab. With the rebar in place, it was time to add in the last thing, metal mesh, which helps prevent cracking within the slab. The team finished this final step just in time to celebrate at Pig Roast!

We had a great time on Friday night of Pig Roast weekend listening to all the alumni lectures and really enjoyed getting to show off our project and the progress we have made to all our friends and families on Saturday. We finished the day off with an evening of festivities, great food, and wonderful live music.

The team speaking with former Rural Studio student
The bathhouse team meeting and looking at construction photos with original Supershed and Bathhouse team member, Jacqui Hart!

After a weekend of fun, it was quickly back to work for the bathhouse team! First thing Monday morning we got Concrete! An excellent team from JM concrete in nearby Uniontown made quick work of the pour and did a fantastic job with the finishing.

team posing with thumbs-up for concrete
Thumbs up for concrete!

We are so proud to have the heart of the project completed!

As she stands now

We are so happy to share the huge amount of progress being made! Next, we will be preparing to pour all the curbs under the timber walls and beginning the process of stacking the timber modules for the walls.

The team poses in front of project

Thanks so much for reading along and we hope to provide another exciting update very soon!

– Rural Studio Bathhouse Team

Carla, Ambar, Ashley, and Logan 

Bathhouse Back in Business!

Hi everyone and welcome back to the newest edition of the Rural Studio Bathhouse blog! We hope that everyone had a happy holiday season and is having a great new year so far. It has been a very busy month for the Bathhouse team. We are excited to share what we are up to.

picture of 4 PVC pipes with faces drawn on them
Team in PVC form

In studio over the past month, we have had some really extraordinary reviewers. We are especially grateful to Andrew Berman from New York City and our good friend Marlon Blackwell from Arkansas. They have both helped tremendously with the treatment of spaces and materiality on the interior of the Bathhouse!

Marlon Blackwell sketching on drawing
Marlon sketching with us

On site, we are very excited to be pushing quickly toward the pouring of our raised concrete floor slabs. The team is working hard to get all the plumbing in place to be ready to pour. We are also beginning the process of building the formwork for the edges of the slabs.

We started the process by working through the underground pipes. Then, we marked out all the pipes on the ground, indicating where they would run under the breathing wall pods. We also marked where they would intersect with our CMU walls. The team went to town digging once everything was marked out. With the help of a few new, brave 5th-year friends, the digging under the breathing wall pods didn’t take long at all!

picture of finished trenches
Finished trenches!

With the help of Steve and his tools, we were also able to drill all the holes for the pipes to run through the CMU walls.

student drilling through cmu wall
Drilling holes for plumbing through CMU walls

Once the trenches were in place, we began to dry fit all the underground pipes and level them with sand to the necessary slopes.

After dry fitting everything, we worked piece by piece to glue it all together. As of this blog post’s writing, everything has all been glued together! The team will test all the underground lines to make sure there are no leaks in the coming days.

We also picked up the metal beams and decking that will support the slabs and have been preparing them for installation.

We sanded and painted the beams. With Steve’s help and working with his tools again, we were also able to cut the beams to size. And he was able to make the notches in the CMU walls where the beams will sit.

Once the beams and decking are in place, we will install the rest of the plumbing in each crawlspace. The formwork will also begin to go up around the edges of each structure, helping support the cantilevering edges of the slabs. The team is currently working on the design of the formwork and has built a mock-up of one possible support.

Although the main focus has been getting ready for the slab pours, the team has not lost sight of the next major step in the project: the stacked wooden walls! We have also built a table, which we lovingly call the “jig table,” in order to be ready to go with the walls as soon as the concrete is done. It will help us the rest of the project with assembling the stacked modules for the wood walls.

The table will provide a surface to align all the pieces of wood together, allow us to be clamp and fasten them together, and offer stability when we drill the holes for the threaded rods to run through.

picture of finished jig table
Completed jig table!

Thanks for following along and reading this update. We hope that when we speak again, we will officially be done with the slabs and working toward the construction of our wood walls!

student joking with clamp on head
Silly Ambar, clamps are for the wood!

– Rural Studio Bathhouse Team

Carla, Ambar, Ashley, and Logan