Getting Started

Hello from HCHC2! We’ve been hard at work on our project, while also preparing for Halloween Reviews next week. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve spent a lot of time studying our site, learning about the hospital’s therapy programs, prepping for a new mural downtown, and having reviews with some pretty amazing visitors.

Because drainage is an integral part of this project, we had our first consultant Adele come out and assist us. In preparation for her visit last week, we surveyed our site to get an accurate understanding of how water moves through the courtyard and why flooding is happening. After talking to Adele, we believe that there may be blockage in the pipes, inaccessible junctions, and a clogged french drain near the tree-line. As for next steps, we’ll have to snake the pipes to see if they are blocked and dig near the end of the french drain to see if it is actually clogged.

After wishing for rain to come, we finally got to see the courtyard drainage system in action! Some of the drains were working very well and draining the water quickly, while other areas had large amount of standing water near the downspouts.

Our site work continued this week and included going up on the roof, digging near the french drain, and installing our AcuRite weather stations. We went up on the roof to see how much rain water is draining into the courtyard–turns out it’s a lot. We began digging near the french drain to see if it was clogged, but had to put that project on hold once we learned that the drain is buried eight feet deep and will need a mini-excavator to dig further. We installed one AcuRite in the courtyard and another in the field behind the hospital so we can understand the courtyard’s microclimate better. The AcuRites will collect data on temperature, rain, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction.

Out-patient therapy session
In-patient therapy session

This week we also got to learn more about the therapy programs at Hale County Hospital. We got to attend occupational and speech/cognitive therapy sessions with the head Physical Therapist at the hospital, Lacretia Edwards, and two of her patients. We had fun chatting with the patients and seeing what kind of exercises they do during a session. It was interesting to learn just how many of the therapy exercises could be performed outside!

Along with designing the courtyard, we’ve been working with Horseshoe Farms and Hale County Hospital to paint a mural of the hospital’s logo downtown. We presented a couple of options to them in a meeting and will be painting the mural at Tuscaloosa Street and Main Street in Greensboro on the weekend after Halloween Reviews.

We’ve also been very busy with reviews every Friday! We had our first presentation as a team with Joe and Kim from JAS Design Build in Seattle last week. They helped us refine the narrative and content of our presentation and provided us with a delicious lunch. This week we reviewed with Ada and Giuseppe from Lot-ek in New York City. Our conversation focused on initial design ideas and how to spatially think about the courtyard.

That’s all for now! Catch up with us next week to see our presentation and costumes at Halloween Reviews!

New Kids on the Courtyard

Hello from the Hale County Hospital Courtyard 2 Team! (HCHC2 for short)

Here’s a little bit about our project:

Hale County Hospital was built in 1963 with a Hill Burton government grant that supported many rural hospitals. Since then, the hospital has expanded multiple times, forming the current “U” shape. The Hale County Hospital prides itself on standing out, not as a state-of-the-art healthcare hub, but as a community health center where neighbors look after each-other. “We’re high-touch, not high-tech” they said, summing up their mission nicely. The hospital is the second biggest employer in the county with 142 people.

The Hale County Hospital was a Rural Studio project in 2006; however, the needs of the courtyard have significantly changed over the past 13 years. The hospital staff provided us with a wish list for the courtyard, which emphasized their desire to use the space for their therapy program. The most exciting opportunities with this project include the impact it will have on the community and the hospital’s growth, being able to learn from the previous design, and providing a wide variety of uses.

Here’s a little bit about us:

Nicole Brown hails from Dallas, Texas and is fond of her cat, skiing, and spicy food so hot it burns her mouth off. She is constantly organized and helps us keep our lives and project together.

Jake Schirmer is from Blacksburg, Virginia and loves his mother, his truck, soft pretzels, and playin’ ball. He is known for being charismatic, hard-working, and incredibly good at all things graphic.

Ingrid Stahl comes to us from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and enjoys frisbee, watercoloring, and baking delicious treats for her team. Her enthusiasm and fun-loving attitude keep us positive and motivated.

Kyra Stark was born and raised in Overland Park, Kansas and has a deep appreciation for rodeos, crisp vegetables, and listening to loud dance music way too early in the morning. She keeps the world (and anyone else who will listen) updated about our project and loves to write more than any architect we know.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our work on the Hale County Hospital Courtyard!