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Creepy Crepe Myrtles

Studio

This week students have started to look into pole barns! Over the past two years, Rural Studio has started to explore the use of pole barns as a way to address modular homes and planning to expand as family dynamics shift. Students heard from last year’s pole barn team as well as structural engineers about pole barn design and structure.

Horseshoe Courtyard

This week at the Horseshoe Courtyard project: concrete and trees! After cleaning many bricks and witnessing the concrete pour, students were also eager to see the arrival of the Crepe Myrtle trees to the courtyard. With help from Mason and the augur, students finished digging the holes for and planting the first three trees in the courtyard. 

Perry Lakes Park

A few 3rd-years took a trip out to Perry Lakes Park to continue sprucing it up. They discovered the “secret lake bridge,” and were given the chance to repair it. Now anyone can go looking for the secret lake! Students also helped power wash some of the wood in order to keep the path less slippery.

From One Home to Another

Due to Covid-19 pandemic the 3rd-years shifted their project from building 20K Ophelia’s Home to an online exploration of 20K Turner’s Home. Before the 3rd-years left Rural Studio to head back home, they were able to finish framing and sheathing all of Ophelia’s Home walls.

After a triumphal day of putting all the walls up, the 3rd-years headed off to Spring Break! Unfortunately, once the 3rd-years found out the were unable to come back to Rural Studio, the wall had to be taken down and covered by a tarp for protection until the site is reopened.

The 3rd-years began their experimentation with how 20K Turner’s Home could be modified and were challenged to make changes that included Turner’s Home in the product line. The program included the ability to add 300 to 400 square feet to the original home, change the form, reorganize internal space in order to accomplish, and add the quarter bedroom concept from Ophelia’s Home. The 3rd-years started off by reading the book designed by the original Turner’s student team and began evaluating the plan to make changes. Soon after, they adapted sections, elevations, wall sections, and floor framing to their designs. Once doing these, a series of perspectives and diagrams were created to explain the new design. Everything was compiled into a final presentation and reviewed with a number of the Rural Studio faculty.

Being fortunate enough to spend the time at Rural Studio that we did, all 12 of us were certainly heartbroken to leave so early. With high hopes of getting our long list of tasks done after spring break, it was sad to hang up our boots and open up our laptops. This is not to disregard the fact that we, along with everyone in Newbern that we know of, are all healthy and safe. It can be easy to overlook in this time where we sit inside and are told to wait, having to see each other now only as a thumbnail. We were lucky enough to make it halfway through the semester and reaching the point of putting up her walls, and we have learned so much along the way.

We hope that their work is useful for the future of Rural Studio and will be constructed for Ophelia to enjoy.

Wow look at these fine folks of 3rd-years! Sad to see them go, and sooner than expected, but now their train rides on to a new path. Hope to see some faces back in Hale County for their 5th year. Always remember folks, be serious, but be silly!

A Bittersweet End to the Inaugural Cabinet Class

plan perspective of Ophelia's Home focusing on millwork
plan perspective of the millwork in 20K Ophelia’s Home

The spring semester has come to the end, and what a wild four months it has been! At first, the Cabinet Class endeavored on a new adventure into the land of CNC routing by setting out to design and fabricate the millwork for 20K Ophelia’s Home.  Typically, the 20K Home is outfitted with off-the-shelf cabinetry units for kitchen and bathroom storage from the big box stores, i.e. Lowe’s or IKEA. The quality of the cabinets purchases is usually reflected in what the Studio can afford. To improve durability of these particle board cabinets, we decided to create cabinet designs that would be both more affordable and sturdy. 

Despite all of the obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been an exciting semester filled with discovery and empowerment for the Studio as well as the students.  The first half of the semester focued on learning about the CNC router and its accompanied technology. By March, initial design for all of Ophelia’s Home storage was nearly complete, and the students built a physical mockup of their cabinets.

Remote learning, however, began at the end of Spring Break. Yet, the students continued to move toward a final design of storage spaces, which included the kitchen, bathroom, utility room, and bedroom closet storage.  This week, the teams presented a presentation of their final project: a book that explains the context of their cabinetry designs and a stylized guide of instructions on how to build the cabinets.  The class hopes this this books will be used to continue the exploration of millwork when studies resume in Newbern.  Hopefully, the adventure will continue very soon!

Thanks to all those who helped make this class a success, including Dylan & Keith from Wood Studio and John Byler from Dudley Hall’s shop in Auburn.  This semester’s great work would not have been possible without your help!  Most of all, thank you to the Rural Studio 3rd-year students who persevered through tough circumstances.  Great job to all!  

Cabinet Class From Afar

A lot has happened since the last Cabinet Class blog! Rural Studio has transitioned their classrooms to remote learning for the remainder of the semester, in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Anyone see that coming? Not us.

To keep everyone safe, class is now being held on an online video platform. Obviously, this will change what is expected from students for the rest of the semester. Unfortunately, in accordance with Auburn University regulations, the Studio has put all on-site construction on hold, which includes 20K Ophelia’s Home. As a result of all of these changes, this class will regretfully be unable to fabricate their cabinets this semester. 

This change in plans, however, will not stop the class from powering forward! Teams are now working remotely to finalize the design of their cabinets. With their final designs, students will create thorough sets of construction drawings and instructions for the use of Ophelia and Rural Studio.  Hopefully, at the end of April, this class will have all components needed to build the cabinets, so the next class can construct cabinets when the Studio is able to return to the shop. Steve and Chelsea are excited to see the beautiful fabrication drawings this semester creates!

Zoom Meeting with Joo, Jay, and Hannah

One floor all, all floor one!

It might still be raining, but the rain delay is over for the 3rd-years! It’s about time here at 20K Ophelia’s Home, but the framing of the floor above the crawlspace foundation is finally complete. As the rainy days are starting to become less frequent, there has been more time for the 3rd-years to progress forward with construction.

Enclosures team finished up the last details on the termite flashing, figuring out a neat corner solution along with the flashing dipping down to cover where the girders rest.

Wednesday was a charrette day back in studio, and the walls have never been more colorful! Ideas upon ideas were put on paper as the whole day was spent exploring options for the porch on Ophelia’s Home. The 3rd-years will continue to refine the design for Ophelia and the site.

There were a few road bumps while building the flooring because we discovered the foundation was not completely square and is now a ~soft~ trapezoid. Having to work around a funky foundation, the framing team became pros at leveling and squaring the floor framing. In order to make sure the floor was entirely level, they carefully worked to correct the rim joists by pushing them towards the crawlspace in some spots. Once the shimming and squaring was done and checked (and checked again, and maybe redone in a few places, then checked some more) it was smooth sailing to place in the rest of the joists and blocking.

To cap off a busy week , sub floors were put into place on the joists. The floors might be blue, but the 3rd-years sure weren’t as they finished up with a layer of waterproof paint that matched the much anticipated clear sky above.