community

Rural Studio is Inside Out

The Studio has been making the best of COVID-19 obstacles by prioritizing outdoor work for the past six weeks! Working outside has given students and staff the ability to learn about construction processes while also maintaining healthy and safe work protocols. Luckily, Rural Studio has quite a few tasks to accomplish around Hale and Perry County to keep them busy.

Perry Lakes Park student team at the end of a long work day

In the first couple of weeks of the semester, everyone came together (socially-distanced, of course) to clean up Morrisette campus. This work included laying and tamping gravel in the driveways, demolishing some old mock ups and a couple unused storage sheds, power washing the Great Hall and Fabrication Pavilion, and helping Eric on the farm.

Students have also been helping out at Perry Lakes Park, which has been closed for maintenance for the past few months. The Studio hopes that, after a little bit of work, they can help reopen the beautiful park to the public. Jobs to be completed were: replacing rotting boards on the bridge, walkways, and tower; replacing structural members underneath the walkways; rebuilding walkways that had been hit by fallen trees; and replacing rotting deck boards on the tower. This work is still in progress, but they expect to have the majority of the tasks complete in the coming week.

As the semester progresses, students have been working toward creating a balance between studio work and site work. On designated “studio days,” 3rd-year, 5th-year, and graduate students have been meeting with their faculty at new open-air pin up spots on Spencer House’s porch and under the Fabrication Pavilion. Next week, 5th- and 3rd-year will transition away from studio-wide work toward focusing on their own class projects. The 5th-years will soon choose their project teams and 3rd-years will start making more progress on 20K Ophelia’s Home!

Week 76

Hi friends! Lots to catch up since our last post! After many weeks of rain in April, we have designed, built, put up and down our full-scale mockup. Some on Morrisette to test if the 18’ screens would stand safely, and finally on site. As always mock-ups are the best tool for making decisions, so as we were putting up the screens, we made some changes to the design as we saw how the space shaped out. Also, thank you Andrew, Steve and Mass Timber team for helping us raise the 18′x18′ Screens!

Luckily the mock-up was ready by the time Pig Roast came around the corner, and it helped us study how people inhabited the space. Not only as a large crowd but also when the Horseshoe Farm Fellows had one of their weekly meetings in the courtyard.

We have also had many pin ups and meetings in the last 2 months. We had a chance to meet with Zane Morgan and Cassandra Kellogg twice! They are not only super generous with their time, but also incredibly helpful when talking to us through some of the details we have been working through. We also had a visit from David Hinson, whose excitement about the project energized us to keep pushing forward! As well as a long, but incredibly helpful call with David Hill, in which we learned some more key information about tree choosing, and soil conditions of our site.

Additionally, in the last two weeks, we have spoken to Joe many times, in order to work through some of the structural questions of the walkway and screens. We also visited Jim Turnipseed to update him on the newest design proposal. We are incredibly thankful for Jim’s generosity with material donations and for letting us use his shop when the time comes to fabricate the screens!

Week 69

East facing elevation shows 18′ screens that slip past balcony datum line to separate the two elements. We are also working through options for the “porch” on the Southern portion of the site, we are interested in using lights or a dropped ceiling to lower the scale.

We finally modeled our most recent design! This past week we shifted from plans, sections and SketchUp to a physical model, so we could charette through the tree and furniture placement.

Stepping out of the waiting room looking towards the active space and porch.

Part of figuring out the tree layout is understanding how it shapes the north end, as another entrance to the courtyard as well as what it gives back to the street since it is the most public area of the design. 

Stay tuned as we work through the different options for the railing (not featured in model at the moment) and its interaction with the screens!