The Patriece’s Home team, affectionately known around the Studio as the “Stairs Team,” just hasn’t gotten enough of Hale County! Now college grads and no longer students, Adam, Laurel, Daniel and Lauren picked right back up and finished their details mock-up as “leftovers.” The team is using their mock-up to test metal shade devices for windows and the articulation of their wood-clad porches.
After hunting through differing foundation types for their home, the team talked to Tyler from C & T Excavating Inc. and is now moving forward with a plan to sculpt the site with engineered fill for their slab-on-grade foundation.
Patriece’s Home has been focusing on the landscape opportunities in their home’s design. They are not only using natural, space-making tools to ground the house on the site, but to shape and protect areas of outdoor activity, such as play, sitting, parking, and driving. The team Zoomed with Emily Knox, a landscape architecture professor from Auburn University, to discuss their design for siting home, how the landscape design can extend across the whole site, and both existing and potential “materials” (trees, shrubs, grasses) for the site.
Thankfully, the team had their mock-up and details ready to be reviewed because our friend and consultant Dan Wheeler (from Wheeler Kearns Architects in Chicago, IL) showed up again! Dan had an intense design discussion with the team about the wood cladding on the interior and exterior of the home. He left the group with lots of tips and a positive direction toward establishing a character for the wood details. Let’s see what the team decides!
And because the team is itching (literally, the mosquitoes are waking up) to start work on site, they completed their batter boards for their excavation date set in two weeks! They will be in the business of purchasing, perfecting, and tying loose ends as they eagerly await this date. So wait for the next blog post when the team will be playing in the dirt!
Until then, here is a gallery of some Hale County summer shenanigans!
April has arrived which means the heat is beginning to creep into sunny afternoons, pollen has layered every outdoor surface, and the Moundville Pavilion Team is making decisions. In recent weeks, we have met with visiting architects and lighting consultants and have begun to get into the nuts and bolts (literally and figuratively) of how to detail the elements of the pavilion
Open for Spring
After Executive Review, we started to find a middle ground between the form and function of the column design. We had Pete Landon and Cameron Acheson from Landon Bone Baker Architects out of Chicago, IL, out for a review of the team’s work.
They helped the team focus on the longevity of the roof surface; since the pavilion will reside in a heavily forested area, a durable surface is critical to withstand decomposing pine straw and potentially fallen branches.
Turning on the Lights
Since the pavilion is located in the campground and the space will likely be inhabited after dusk, the team has been researching lighting strategies in order to provide safety and usability at night.
In addition to modeling some hidden fixtures options, the team met with lighting designer, Thomas Paterson (Lux Populi in Mexico City, Mexico) who explained possible lighting methods that can relate to the concept. Most recently, we tested lighting schemes on-site.
After finalizing more details within the roof and ceiling structure, it was time to start working on a large-scale framing model. Next up, is the annual Pig Roast Celebration!
Every year during spooky season, the Studio hosts visiting architects and professors for a day of “boos” and reviews. This hallowed event has come to be known as Halloween Reviews, and every student was “working like a dog” to prepare. Let’s look at “a day in the life” of the C.H.O.I.C.E. House team leading up to the big review, shall we? (Ps. Can you guess what the team’s costume was by the end of this post?)
The team began by preparing all the drawings they would need for their presentation. They consolidated the existing plans, sections, and diagrams from “here, there and everywhere,” and completed any new drawings that were needed.
Next up, the team needed to make edits to their presentation and practice presenting to other teams in preparation for Halloween Reviews. This task is a never-ending process that the team seems to be working on “eight days a week!” But, they got it done, “with a little help from my friends.”
Once the team was confident in their presentation, they decided to “let it be.” Next, they started to “bang bang” their “silver hammers” to build full-scale mock-ups of two out of the four units. These mock-ups allowed people to experience the small space inside and the different porch conditions created by the units.
On Wednesday night, the team took a break to celebrate the annual Pumpkin Carve, an Auburn Architecture tradition. Everyone from the community is invited to “come together,” outside Red Barn to carve pumpkins and eat foot long hot dogs… because “all you need is love,” pumpkins, and hot dogs, right?!”
The day before Halloween reviews, the team spent “fixing a hole” and “filling the cracks” of the mock-ups and their presentation. After “a hard day’s night,” the big day had finally arrived. Under a “sky of blue and sea of green,” teams dressed in costumes the students presented and the reviewers, “speaking words of wisdom.”
The team received a lot of helpful feedback on their work that really help to “shake it up, baby!” Now, the C.H.O.I.C.E. House team is ready to get back to the drawing board and “work it on out!”
“We hope you have enjoyed the show. We’re sorry but it’s time to go. We’d like to thank you once again.”
Live from inside the mock-up that spanned seasons, it’s the Thermal Mass and Buoyancy Ventilation Research Project team! You may remember the mention and drawings of a mock-up back in January. Many things interrupted steady work on this mock-up including breaking ground, pouring foundations, steel design, steel fabrication, writing papers, installing drainage, designing the cooling porch, and testing concrete panel joinery types. However, after all this time, the mock-up is complete! In the two weeks before Pig Roast and graduation from the master’s program, the TMBV student team not only hoisted the test building columns and submitted a paper detailing their experiments, they also completed two mock-ups. That’s right, two–we’ve got a bonus!
Faux SIPs and Small Columns
This mock-up set out to test the ventilated roofing and cladding system while also allowing practice for some of the atypical waterproofing details caused by the chimneys. All elements of the mock-up are at full scale, however, these elements are taken from different sections of the Test Buildings and condensed. Therefore the real Test Buildings are not proportionally larger than the mock-up. Another disclaimer; the team only built one mock-up because the two Test Buildings are exactly mirrored.
The team first assembled wall, roof, floor, and chimney stud formed panels with exterior OSB sheathing on both sides. These acted as stand-in Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) which make up the enclosure, structure, and insulation of the Test Buildings. Next, they assembled these faux SIPs atop three shortened columns which have the same thickness and base plates as the Test Building columns.
Groovin’ and Waterproofin’
Next up–keep it dry with tar paper and roofing. Tar paper is a heavy-duty construction paper made with asphalt which repels water. The TMBV team wrapped the entire structure in tar paper in a shingling pattern to create a protective layer. After this, the team started roofing.
To minimize heat gain the roofing material is a light-colored, reflective 3/4″ corrugated metal. The metal is attached atop batons which run in parallel with the slope of the roof. This allows the roof to vent heat at the highest point of the structure. If there is one thing this team has learned in two years–hot air rises.
The team installed the flashing along with the roofing. Flashing is a thin piece of impervious material installed to prevent the passage of water into a structure from a joint or as part of a weather-resistant barrier system. The TMBV test buildings use galvanized aluminum as flashing. A large tray prevents water from slipping under the metal roofing while T-shape pieces seal the edges and create the corners.
A mini-door frame was fabricated by Brad Schmidt of Superior Metal Works LLC in Newbern, AL. He will also be fabricating the full-size door frames. This was the bit of steel the TMBV team left to a professional–boy does he do nice work! The team painted the door frame with galvanizing paint, as they did the mock-up columns, to see how all the colors of the steel, roofing, flashing, and cladding work together. The door frame installation couldn’t have gone smoother!
Last, but certainly not least, the cypress cladding. 3/4″ 1″x 6″ and 1″ x 8″ cypress boards were sanded and sealed with Kabotz wood bleach. Spaced at 1/4″ the boards created an open joint cladding system, which like the roof, allows for air circulation behind the cladding. Cladding the chimneys and the underside, which will be the cooling porch ceiling, was the trickiest part. Doing the mock-up, however, teaches the students tips and tricks for doing the real thing.
Not much more to say, just look at that mock-up!
The team also completed ANOTHER concrete wall mock-up testing a shiplap joint in between the thermal mass panels. This wall is a proportionally smaller version allowing the team to visualize the pattern on the wall as well as the screw spacing. The shiplap joint, from both a constructability and scientific validity standpoint, is a crowd favorite. Not to mention that craft and beauty…
Roasting in the Sun
On a bright, early, shiny Tuesday all the Rural Studio 2021 Spring Semester student, faculty, and staff enjoyed an in-house Pig Roast. This included an opening ceremony at the beautiful Horseshoe Courtyard, presentations from each team, a ribbon cutting ceremony at Ophelia’s Home, and lots of good food.
After a BBQ lunch, the TMBV team sprang something else heavy on the audience… their project! They had a wonderful discussion with the only outsiders at the celebration; Architects Roy Duvall, of Duvall-Decker in Jackson, MS, and John Forney. It was wonderful to show off all the hard work the students have accomplished since October 2019. From experimentation and coding data to SIPs detailing and steel fabrication these students have continually jumped into waters unknown.
Overall, Pig Roast was wonderful, but the work was not over. Pre-Roast the team installed their columns and finished their mock-ups. Post-Roast they had to complete a paper detailing their TMBV experiments and results for an international building science conference. They worked tightly with Salmaan Craig for the rest of the week. Because, of course, the paper was due that Friday and graduation was also that Friday.
This team just couldn’t function without the variation of personalities and skillsets. No two are alike, and sometimes it’s hard, but they couldn’t be more thankful for ending up on this wild ride together. 4 hours before the paper was due, Cory and Livia scooted to Auburn for graduation. Jeff and Rowe continued working with Salmaan, up until the deadline, for which the other two are eternally grateful. Jeff and Rowe were at graduation in Livia and Cory’s hearts illustrated below. Don’t worry. the whole gang will celebrate together with a classic Cory cook-out. Stay Tuned for the impending construction of the TMBV Test Buildings!
This just in: there’s is a big hole in the Thermal Mass and Buoyancy Ventilation Research Project site!
Thanks to C & T Excavation Inc. the TMBV Test Buildings have broken ground. Local and Rural Studio excavation efficiando, Tyler, completed the initial site grading and the foundation dig. Let’s take a look at how the TMBV team prepped the site for this momentous day.
Newbern’s Newest Crater
Before you can dig a hole, you’ve got to know where to dig! This is where the superheroes of construction, batter boards, come into play. Batter boards are quintessential for starting construction so they must be precise. To clarify, batter boards are temporary frames, set beyond the corners of planned groundwork at common elevations.
Typically, batter boards consist of two stakes driven into the ground with a horizontal member held between them. Next, once you’ve assembled and leveled the batter boards, you use construction string to “pull” layout lines. The layout lines are then secured to the batter boards. Layout lines cross the site either east to west or north to south, between batter boards, to indicate the foundation limits at their intersections. It’s important to note the elevation of the top of each batter board must match so when strings are pulled across the strings intersect.
The TMBV team pulled their first layout line west to east from the Supershed columns. From this line, all other layout lines are set. When all lines’ distances and intersections’ squareness are triple-checked, the team marked the initial grading limits on the ground with spray paint. The end result, with string crisscrossing about like laser beams, feels a bit like a scene from an action movie. Especially if you practice jumping over and rolling under the strings. But, of course, none of these very professional research graduate students took part in such conduct.
At the end of a long day pulling strings, the team marked their initial grading and detached all the layout lines from one side. The layout lines positions are marked on the batter boards so they can be put up and down as needed. Obviously, you can’t build with a bunch of strings in your way. After the initial site grading, the students re-pulled the strings which indicated the foundation limits, marked the corners, and Tyler began digging again. In about 6 hours time, Morrisette Campus had a brand new swimming pool and the TMBV team had a real project site.
In parallel with site groundwork, the TMBV team worked across campus on their mock-up. To mimic the SIPs walls of the test buildings, the mock-up uses 2″ x 12″ stud walls. Due to the angle of the roof and the chimneys, there was much mitering to complete and even more mitering math to figure out. The team built all the stud walls and are ready to assemble. All the especially funky parallelograms you see below are the chimney pieces. With the kit of parts complete, the team awaits columns to build upon.
Cooling Porch Design
True to the design-build spirit, the team is still designing as they’ve started building. The ground plane of the cooling porch was the subject of this week’s design charrette. The team has used, concrete side-walk pieces they intend on using as pavers. However, it is not decided yet how those pavers are arranged.
The team wants to eliminate any excessive cutting of the pavers, especially exact cutting, so they ruled out a linear pattern. They are pursuing a mosaic-like pattern that minimizes concrete cuts. However, without a full inventory of all the concrete pieces, it’s difficult to produce a realistic design. Therefore, in the coming weeks, the team will be taking stock of their recyclable materials. After this, they can start laying out patterns using a steer skid loader to move concrete pieces around.
Welcome to Winter
As mentioned in the Thermal Mass and Buoyancy Ventilation Research Project Team’s last blog post, the chill has rolled into Hale County. There is never a shortage of beautiful scenery in these parts as proven by these frosty silos. By next post the TMBV team hopes to have another gorgeous view for you; a freshly poured foundation! Here’s hoping and thanks for tuning in!