fabrication

1st-Year Students Visit Rural Studio to Construct ‘Things for Sitting’

Auburn University 1st-Year architecture students graced Rural Studio with fresh faces and eager spirits. Main campus professors Alyssa Kuhns and Gorham Bird organized a wonderful project for the students which culminated in a drive to Newbern and a day of fabrication at the Morrisette Campus. The experience was a blast for Rural Studio faculty and students. Let’s get into how the 1st-Years studied, designed, and made their, ‘Things for Sitting’.

an aerial view of students and faculty using power tools together under a large wooden pavilion
Mid-day construction madness

In Studio Preparation

The 1st-year students began the ‘A Thing for Sitting’ project by studying iconic benches, chairs, and stools. Next, they developed highly crafted 1:5 models and rendered drawings of their assigned iconic ‘thing for sitting’. After this study, in groups, they developed their own ‘thing for sitting’ inspired by what they studied. First, each student individually developed joinery studies connecting planar or linear elements. Those studies were combined to create a group assembly.

The joints and resulting assembly or ‘thing for sitting’ were developed through full-scale cardboard mock-ups, 1:1 drawings, and storyboards to ensure students were working within the material, tool, and process limitations. With approved designs and drawings, they piled into cars for a Saturday caravan to the Rural Studio Morrisette Campus.

a large group of students watch as a male professor demonstrates how to use a table saw
Steve Long demonstrates how to safely use power tools

Welcome to Newbern

The 1st-Years have arrived! The day started with a thorough introduction to the proper use and safety precautions of basic power tools. Steve Long taught the lesson with demonstrations from the ongoing projects’ tool trailers. That’s right, these 1st-Years took on the task of making beautiful objects, not in the illustrious Rural Studio woodshop. Instead, they worked “on-site” at the Fabrication Pavilion with construction-grade tools. With safety training completed, the 1st-Years began practicing with several faculty members and students to keep watchful eyes and dole out advice.

After a little power tool practice and a big lunch from Chef Catherine, the 1st-Years began making their objects. First, they fabricated their pre-designed joints using 2″ x 4″ Southern Yellow Pine lumber and plywood. They also had access to all the tools the trailers have to offer and their own personal Rural Studio student.

Making a ‘Thing for Sitting’

When the students completed their own joint, it was time to fit it together with the rest of their teams’ pieces to create the full ‘Thing for Sitting’. To make the parts come together as one took adjustments to the individual joints and sometimes the entire design. Thankfully, Faculty members Chelsea Elcott, Steve Long, Emily McGlohn, and even Andrew Freear joined in to right all the wrongs and problem solve. In just 5 hours of intense work, every single 1st-year team created a ‘Thing to Sit’ which stood entirely on its own. Even more impressive, every single object was sit-able! No splintering under pressure here.

The day ended with a gathering of students and fabricated objects on the Great Hall. Each student team spoke about their objects’ inspiration and aspirations. Mostly, they spoke of what they learned. Everything from communicating with team members to how difficult it was to take it from drawing to reality. “Things don’t just fit together as you drew them!” Learning typical design-build lessons early. Overall, everyone gained confidence in using tools and fabrication. Hopefully, some of them caught the Rural Studio bug!

Rural Studio faculty and students were impressed and proud of the 1st-Year students’ final product as well as their journey to it. Check out their lovely ‘Things for Sitting’ above! A big thanks to professors Alyssa Kuhns, Gorham Bird, and David Kennedy for planning the day and bringing the 1st-Years over to Hale County. Come back and visit soon!

“Alla faccia della pioggia”

Major progress was made at the Solar Passive Greenhouse this week, despite the rainy weather.

The top of the thermal mass wall was enclosed with metal plates (that resemble the shape of shark’s eggs). The barrels were covered with gravel to maximize the wall’s heat absorption.

We fabricated a new table for the produce weighing station using pieces from the scrap pile.

We also welded handrails to help us climb the barrel steps at the back of the building. These new handrails give better access to the operable windows at the top of the thermal mass wall.

From a pile to a truckload!

After months of fabricating at the shop, we are finally back in Hale! Thanks to Mason, and Shane from Stillwater, we were able to take all the pieces from Jim’s shop to Metal Works, and finally to Morrisette.

The last few pieces the team worked on were for the walkway, which were dry-fitted at the shop before delivering everything to the galvanizing plant.

We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have spent time at the shop and become empowered with new metalworking, and welding skills!

Luis at the grill

What is a celebration without tacos? After wrapping up fabrication, Luis and Flo made carne asada and al pastor tacos! A huge shoutout for them, not only for teaching us, and making sure we didn’t injure ourselves but for sharing stories and becoming part of our team.

2,200 Holes and Counting…

Over the last couple of weeks, the Horseshoe Hub Courtyard team has continued to fabricate the screens in the shop, and are nearly done! After working on the shorter eight-foot screens, the team moved on to working on the nine-foot screens that are above the stage and near the main entrance, as well as 18-foot screens and corners. Thanks to the jigs that were fabricated, a small assembly line was created to facilitate making the screens as equally as possible. 

This past week the team finished cutting and perforating all the steel tubes for the footings, walkway strut, and wall plates and started welding the tabs to the wall plates. Also, a huge shoutout to Zane and Cassandra from Blackshop Birmingham for donating the laser-cut plates that make-up most of the walkway, they saved the team weeks worth of work!  

In other exciting news, the team took a trip this past Monday to Hunter Trees LLC and tagged the trees for the courtyard! Thirteen beautiful single trunk, Natchez Crepe Myrtles, which will be planted on site shortly after the screens are up.

Let’s Fabricate, Y’all!

This week the Horseshoe Hub Courtyard team has been in Birmingham at Turnipseed International working on fabricating the eight-foot screens that will be on the north end of the site. Huge thanks to Jim Turnipseed for his continued generosity and his crew Flo and Luis! They’ve learned so much in a short amount of time.

They’ve cut all of the angles (2″x3″x1/4″) and plates (6’x2″x1/4″), mitered, beveled, perforated, and started to weld the corner of the frames. They began fabricating the shorter screens first to get accustomed to working with the material and tools, and understand what jigs they will need.

Stay tuned!