designbuild

Virtual Studio

This week Reggie’s home has been transitioning to working remotely for the upcoming weeks. Although we are sad that we won’t be able to work in Red Barn we are happy we can continue with our design development. This means that our week began by getting settled into our new “studios”.

After talking to Reggie we decided that we would move forward with the “two porch” scheme because we can have the same qualities as the dogtrot scheme, but build less. This scheme allows for a “front porch” that would function as the outdoor kitchen where Reggie sees himself spending most of his time and a “back porch” that would function as his tool storage area as well as a space where DJ (Reggie’s dog) could be let out, but be contained. We continued to do sketches to see how these two porches relate to the interior of the home and what the levels of enclosure would be required to distinguish all the spaces.

Reggie's Home team zoom call
Team Zoom call to discuss sketches

After discussing the sketches, we decided it would be a good time to begin creating 3D models of our plans to help visualize the spaces we are creating on site. While doing this we plan to keep in mind the moments we’ve been trying to create from our past schemes: an interstitial space where Reggie could work, a bedroom and desk with specific views to the exterior, and an enclosed outdoor space for DJ. Having a clear idea of what we want these moments to be will allow us to have a simple design that is made complex by the way it is occupied.

Until next week!

Reggie’s Home

A Muddy Presentation

At the beginning of the week we (Reggie’s Home) had our “Pre-Stress Test” which is a review with Auburn University faculty to show our progress with the project. During this review it was determined that the best way to move forward was to show Reggie our design and get his input on the decisions we have made so far. We presented on site so we could help Reggie visualize where we plan to place the home. 

Due to the constant rainfall our site was pretty muddy but we didn’t let that stop us from presenting on site. We showed two schemes to Reggie. One which includes a dogtrot that separates the bedroom/bathroom from the living room/kitchen and another which has all the program together with a porch on the east and west sides of the home. 

Reggie was very receptive of the way we imagine him living in the house. One thing we need to keep developing is the outdoor kitchen space because that is where Reggie imagines spending most of his time, rain or shine. In terms of schemes Reggie liked both of them, so our next step is to determine which one would achieve the moments we want to create in a better way. 

Until next week!

Reggie’s Home

Let’s Heat It Up

This week Reggie’s Home has been focusing on what systems we could use to make the Alabama climate feel more thermally comfortable. Reggie does not want A/C in his new home which means our design has to focus on heating and cooling using passive methods. While considering what passive strategies to use it has been important for us to keep in mind that although the summer can get very hot, Alabama is actually a heating climate. This means that there are more days in which spaces would need to be heated rather than cooled. So far we have been researching cooling with simple methods like cross ventilation, the use of a fan, and using a dehumidifier. In terms of heating we’ve been looking at how we could use earth tubes and a wood stove. 

Earth tubes are tubes that run underground and precondition the temperature of incoming air before it enters the building. In the winter, the ground is warmer than the air, meaning that the air is warmed as it passes through the tubes. In certain climates it is believed that earth tubes can change the temperature of the air up to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. While doing this research one big question always comes up; how do we know it’ll work in our climate? Lucky for us we have been able to gather data from Earth tubes used in our own backyard!

In 2016, a combination of earth tubes and a solar chimney was used as a passive system for the storehouse on Rural Studio’s Morrisette Campus. The exchange was optimized to create a temperature difference of 15 degrees Fahrenheit between the exterior and interior. In order to test if it’s working the way it was designed we placed temperature sensors outside the storehouse and within the tube in the interior of the storehouse. Through the months of December to February we can see that on average the highest temperature change is 6 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Now the question becomes, how much of a difference is 6 degrees Fahrenheit when it is 32 degrees Fahrenheit outside? This leads us to research different methods that could work instead of or in addition to earth tubes. To help with heating we have been exploring the option of a wood stove which would work as a constant space heater within the home. If placed correctly, a wood stove would be more than enough to heat the entire home.

This coming week we will continue to move our design forward and use the research of these systems to determine how we can optimize the performance of the home. In the mean time enjoy these pictures of the team incase you forgot what we looked like! 

Until next time,

Reggie’s Home

In the trenches

Despite the constant rain and muddy site, the team was able to set the rebar and pour a few days later! By using Steve’s fancy plumb bob, and the previously set batter boards, we were able to find the center of the footings and consequently tie the rebar in the right location. After the rebar was all laid out, pins were staked into the ground (every 5 feet) as a reference where the level of the concrete should be poured to.

Hey, batter batter!

This week, Steve taught us some tips and tricks on setting up batter boards. These batter boards will be used not only as a guide for excavating but also for setting the rebar reinforcement and pouring concrete. The strings that are pulled from stake to stake mark the edges of the footing and the middle string helps to delineate the center, where the screens will connect to the concrete. After the lines were taut and centered, the ground was spray-painted as a reference for digging, and the string was rolled back.

In a day the footing trenches were excavated! Most of it was dug with a mini excavator, but in areas where there were pipes, the digging was done by hand.

Caleb happy we are finally digging the footings!!

Considering the rain in the next couple of days, the team made a provisional cover with 2″x4″ and plywood that was sloped to let the rain shed off to the side. Then tarps were placed on top of the plywood so that the plywood didn’t get soaked.

Check-in next week to see how the rebar was done, and if the weather allows the concrete pour!