It has been a rollercoaster, but the end is here! The Horseshoe Courtyard team is departing and is officially handing over the beautiful, outdoor space to Project Horseshoe Farm!
The last two weeks of site work were a mad dash to wrap up all things. During this time the team poured the concrete for the final sidewalk, spread the last four tons of slate, finished the brick pad, completed electrical, installed the flashing for the porch, and finally cleaned up the site. Whew!
“The team is incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have worked on this amazing project and for all the help and support that it received from the university, the Studio, our friends from the other teams, the community, and the client over the last year to finish!” ─ Caleb & Claudia
The Horseshoe Courtyard project team is putting the final touches on the amazing outdoor space! Recently, they’ve poured the concrete entry wall, completed the brick pad, and began prepping the timber benches.
A couple of weeks ago, the tallest pour the courtyard team has ever done took place! In preparation for the pour, they carefully assembled all the formwork and secured all the bracing. This bracing prevents the formwork from bulging once the concrete is placed into the formwork. An thus, a 9′ x 5′ 10″ wall came to fruition! The team used the same techniques tested with the mock-up for the wall. The only differences from the trial run being the rebar reinforcement and the chamfered edges. The 5th-years, as well as Andrew and Steve, helped by filling ad passing buckets of concrete to the top of the wall formwork. Thanks bucket brigade!
You may remember from the previous post, talk of benches and installations of the legs. Well, here we’ve got the sitting surfaces. The team is using heavy timbers leftover from the Newbern Town Hall project as the bench surface. In the images above, Caleb and Claudia are cutting the wood to 6 ft length which will be sanded, routed, and sealed. Next, they will attach the timber to the quarter-inch plates that make up the structure of the legs. During this time, they also excavated and poured the footing for the last bench!
The Completed Puzzle!
Folks, it is time to cut a rug on the best dance floor in Greensboro! After many, many days working on the brick pad, all bricks have been cleaned, placed, leveled, and sanded!
After placing all the bricks, the team removed the temporary wooden edging. Next, they installed the quarter-inch, galvanized steel edging. Some of the off-the-shelf pieces needed length modification so the team cut and welded them on-site.
After securing a corner at the right level, the team installed the first 16′ piece of metal edging. They adjusted the following legths to alighn with the first piece. The metal was clamped together and staked in placemet at the corners. Scrap wood was used to keep the edging flush against the bricks until backfilled. After all the edging was in place the bricks along the edge were readjusted.
Construction at the courtyard is coming to a close so make sure to stay updated as it nears completion!
The Horseshoe Courtyard Project Team is bringing even more concrete to a blog near you! The team started to dig the footing for the concrete wall at the North end of the site. And, without fail, they ran into more old, buried brick and concrete foundations. Of course they also found dead metal pipes.
These foundations are from the old structures that used to occupy the site. Nevertheless, that did not stop the team from digging the footing to the right depth. They smashed the foundation remnants while carefully avoiding breaking the waterlines.
Snow in Hale?
As much of the country experienced frigid temperatures last week, so did Greensboro, AL. Last Tuesday night, the site was blanketed with a thin layer of snow! Thankfully there was no damage to the project. Just these snowy pictures of the Horseshoe Courtyard.
One Corner Left!
The end of the bricklaying is approaching! The team only has the northwest corner of the brick pad to finish. At the moment, the bricks on the west side reach past the grinder pump, once some plumbing work gets squared away, the remaining bricks can be placed and sanded. After that, all that’s left for the pad is the metal edging, which is already on-site, ready to be installed!
A Continuous Railing
For most of the elevated walkway, there are metal frames that serve as railings, with cables spaced out every two inches. However, on the south end of the walkway, the team perforated the back half of the metal screens, to allow the screens to double as railings. The cables span the same length as a railing, meaning one set of cables covers two of the screens.
When installing the cable in the southernmost point, the team used special masonry anchors that attach to the brick wall. In order to make sure the holes for these anchors were drilled in the correct spot and equidistant, the team used a metal jig. To hold the plate jig in the correct spot while drilling, the team screwed some blocking pieces into the masonry wall. Once the perforation holes were cleared of debris, the anchors were tapped into the wall and the hardware piece that holds the cable in place could be attached. And lastly, after cutting the cables to length, they were tensioned with the fastener that attached to the screens.
Out of sight, Out of Mind
If you’ve been keeping up with the blog for a while, this infamous grinder pump cover has come up for months now. And you are probably curious as to what all the fuss is about. Well, here you have it!
In the last post, the metal frame was seen installed in place. Most recently, the “tabs” that are held up by the threaded rods were attached, and the cover lifted into place. In the images above the process of this installation is seen.
First, the metal plate tabs were placed at the correct height and held in place with a nut and washer, while tack welded in place. Second, the washer and nut were removed, and the excess threaded rod ground off, and the plate fully welded to fill the gap. Third, the surface of the plate was ground smooth and clean. Fourth, the remaining debris was cleaned off and the welds covered with spray paint. Last but not least, the team and friends placed the cover once the paint has dried!
Exciting times at the Horseshoe Courtyard, after cleaning nearly 4,000 bricks, the brick pad is finally coming to life! The team and their helpers began laying bricks to create an intricate, hard surface in the main courtyard space.
First, the team made a wooden frame of 2″x 6″ lumber staked into the ground which created a perimeter. This perimeter frame acted as a tray for the sand, which built up underneath the bricks. The sand is tamped and leveled, creating an even surface on which to lay the bricks. Also, the frame acts as a guide, keeping the entire pad square.
A Puzzling Pattern
After filling small sections of the frame with leveled, tamped sand the bricklaying begins. The team chose a basket weave pattern for the brick pad. However, it was not until all the bricks were cleaned and sorted that the team understood the variety of shades and sizes of the material. How these different bricks filled the pattern added another layer of complexity. The basketweave pattern is made-up of “squares” which contain eight specific bricks of different colors, sizes, and textures.
So, within the designed pattern, the most important rules were aligning the outer edges of the “squares”, keeping gaps between bricks small, and leveling the bricks to the height of the neighboring concrete. Seen above is the final pattern which contains red, brown, burgundy, orange, and grooved bricks. Some are large, some are small, but together they create a dynamic pattern.
As the brick pad kept growing, Dr.Dorsey would stop by and test out the future dance floor. However, when he didn’t dance away quick enough, the Horseshoe Courtyard team put him to work spreading out sand between the finished bricks!
Once the brick pad is complete, metal edging will keep the bricks in place. As mentioned earlier, the brick pad surface will be level to the concrete for seamless access to the main courtyard space. The brick pad is crucial to the flexibility of the courtyard design, giving a hard surface for outdoor activies such as Dr. Dorsey’s dancing.
Time for a throwback! Recently, the team picked up the last of their fabricated metal pieces. This included the railing, grinder pump cover, and bench legs. They took all these pieces to be galvanized, after some on-site welding on the grinder pump cover. Keep checking in to see the Horseshoe Courtyard Project continue to transform.
The Horseshoe Courtyard steel screen frames are filling up! With help from the 3rd-years, more rope laced through the metal frames, leaving space for the steel cables which complete the screen patterns. The cables are placed every 5th perforation and function as an auxiliary support system for the vines. In the process, the steel cables visually transform the rhythm of the screen.
Showing Them the Ropes
While both the Carolina Jessamine and the Confederate Jasmine, are twining plants that will organically grow up the screens, a little help goes a long way. By training the recently planted vines around the rope and cable, they can begin to cover the screen more evenly. In a few years, the stems of the vines will become woodier, and they will become their own structure. Until then the ropes and cables are their support.
Illuminating the Courtyard
Since the last lighting mock-up, the courtyard gained ropes and vines which affect the lighting on the south end. As seen above, there are also more trees, short screens, and a mock-up of the concrete wall. To account for these new elements, the team added more lights to the scheme to see how it changed the space.
Last Brick Pallet!
In the past four months, with the help of 35 Rural Studio students and Horseshoe Farm Fellow, 3,800 bricks have now been cleaned! All salvaged, the bricks came from the site or a home in Selma, Alabama. A typical dig on Horseshoe Courtyard reveals a couple of bricks or an old foundation wall from a previous structure. Luckily all that cleaning is over with, and the team can now begin the brick pad! The team graded the site and removed access soil in order to stack the bricks beneath the trees. This way, the bricks will be with in reach when laying the pad pattern.
Walls Going Up
The courtyard team also started the porch framing! Seen above, the western porch stud wall attaches directly to the existing brick wall. Knee walls hang from the eiling strucuture, to span studs across to the south brick wall. Next for the porch is the eastern wall, re-hanging the double doors, and sheathing all the new stud walls. After this, the whole thing will be covered with exterior dry-wall.