reviews

Ingredients for Stair Soup

Patriece’s Home has been diligently refining their plans (and sections and perspectives) to decide what scheme of a closable adaptable unit in a home works best. The team affectionately renamed their shotgun scheme to the “Hotdog” and the wrapping scheme to the “Hamburger,” and it was apparent before reviews began that the Hamburger scheme is what the team wants to continue with! 

The Hamburger has a corner porch that is an easier approach to place on a variety of sites while also condensing its main circulation in one path through the home’s center. The team has also taken the Myers’ Home team’s approach to rooms without names and applied it to their own definition of adaptability. Now the team is designing rooms that change names, so some living and bedrooms that are easy to rearrange without demolition or constructing immovable fixtures are designed so they can comfortably flip their program as the homeowner needs. 

A plan view of the team's hamburger scheme shows landscaping leading to a gable end approach. A closed door in the center of the plan shows the ground floor can be separated into two halves.

On the Tuesday of Soup Roast, the reviewers discussed the nuances of how the home will be used and pointed out to the team where their project could use some development. And to be even more helpful, the reviewers stayed in Newbern to do a workshop with the team. They got into the details of how eaves (or no eaves) could be detailed, the successes of the dormer, and encourage the team to get a closer view of their design by drawing all the interior elevations of the building. 

As the team continues to work through the Christmas break, come back in 2022 to see them jump into finer details of the project!

Soup-er Shelter

Soup Roast is Rural Studio’s final review and celebration for the completion of the fall semester. Every year, each team presents their work to a panel of reviewers made up of faculty and visiting architects. After tons of great design feedback, everyone ends the day with a celebratory soup dinner! Let’s look at what the C.H.O.I.C.E. House team did to prepare. 

During the weeks leading up to Soup Roast, we continued to design the form of the shelter units, paying special attention to how light will enter the consolidated core. When aggregated, these units will connect along their long sides, meaning there can only be light coming in from the two short ends. This may be fine for the two end spaces, but the core is left void of natural light. Our solution is to design a roof monitor, which is a separate piece that can be attached to the top of each unit and allow light to enter the core.

The roof monitor will be small enough to prefabricate, but large enough to give the units some extra height and presence from the exterior while also creating tall, bright, and inhabitable spaces on the interior.

On the day of Soup Roast, we presented to the panel of reviewers, including Kim Clements, Joe Schneider, and Nicole Abercrombie of JAS Design Build and Jake LaBarre of BuildingWork, all from Seattle, WA, as well as Auburn CADC faculty, David Hinson, Rusty Smith, Mackenzie Stagg, and Betsy Farrell Garcia. We were given great feedback on the roof monitor, and about how to better marry the modular function of the unit to the overall form of the aggregation.

The team ended their week by presenting their work to the C.H.O.I.C.E. board of directors and other team members. It was great to have the chance to meet with the client again, and everyone left the meeting full of excitement about the future of the project! 

After a soup-er week, we are ready to let the new ideas simmer over the break. But don’t worry, we’ll be back in January and working again at full boil!  

A Post Roast Toast

Howdy! The end of the semester is here! The Moundville Archaeological Park Community Pavilion team presented their latest work at the Rural Studio’s Annual Soup Roast. In preparation of the big event, the team spent some time cleaning up the site and envisioning what the space could be and where the boundary of the site should be. After narrowing down their designs, it was time to meet with the client and introduce them to what they had been working on all semester and get some feedback. Discussing the possibilities of their proposals and walking through the site with the clients left them energized and more confident moving forward.

Soup Roast!

The day of Soup Roast, students, faculty, staff, and guests bundled up and rode in a caravan to Moundville first thing in the morning. This year was a little different, as smaller, more in-house event, but still a celebration of the work done this semester by all the students. For our guest reviewers the Studio welcomed back Seattle-based architects and builders, Joe Schneider, Kim Clements, Nicole Abercrombie, and Jake LaBarre. AU professor David Hinson, and the Front Porch Initiative team, Rusty Smith, Mackenzie Stagg, and Betsy Farrell Garcia, were also able to join and provide helpful feedback for all of the projects.

team presenting design at soup roast review
iteration 1
iteration 2

We started in the orientation building at Moundville Archaeological Park to present the project and then headed to the site to discuss more specifics of the design. The two proposals showed iterations of the addition of a ground platform and roof aperture, including some initial ideas about ground surface and materiality of the pavilion. Afterwards, we got to relax and hear what the other teams have been working on while patiently awaiting a DELICIOUS soup dinner at the end of the day made by Chef Catherine Tabb.

Gettin’ Serious

The day after Soup Roast, Joe, Kim, and Jake continued the project discussion with us and provided some much needed feedback, helping us get more of a direction and understanding the scope of the project. Playing with the surrounding landscape helped us understand the impact of our ideas within the pavilion. Now, it is time to zoom in on the pavilion and learn as much as we can about the structure!

See just how zoomed-in we mean in the next Moundville Pavilion team blog!

Houses and Haunts

Déjà vu? The Patriece’s Home team stumbled and waddled into reviews on Friday dressed as the Perry Lakes Park Restrooms and Boardwalk, a 2003 Rural Studio project in Marion, Alabama. 

Halloween reviews is the time of year when the team presents (in costume) to a mix of outside reviewers. This critical feedback brings the insight needed to push the project design to the next stage of development. 

Aside from crafting stylish bathrooms from cardboard and duct tape, the team received and did inventory on their tool trailer. Most importantly the Patriece’s Home team has been hard at work analyzing plan options and room relationships that make a buildable, beautiful, and adaptable home.  

This set of iterations was focused on what has been called pivot points, or design-driving decisions, such as porch type and house orientation. With so many options and variables, these decisions allowed the team to test and compare multiple different approaches to designing a multi-generational home. 

In addition to parsing through pending plans and pivot points, the team worked with the other two 5th-year student teams to build and refine a presentation for reviews, and it wouldn’t be Halloween week without a few necessary breaks for pumpkin-carving! 

Moundville Mud Pies For Sale

Analyzing the Pavilion’s Structure

After Fall semester break, the Moundville Pavilion team focused on moving the design forward and shifting the narrative from the physical boards to a digital presentation for Halloween Reviews. This process included looking back at all the work we have done up to this point and learning how to begin talking about the narrative of the project. Some of the first steps we took were to understand the previous team’s motivations through their drawings and to diagram them.

The pavilion is designed to shed water and protect while also allowing light in and emphasizing views outward

Pumpkin Carving!

Wednesday night, the Studio participated in the College of Architecture Design and Construction’s Annual Pumpkin Carve tradition (in Newbern!) by trading our pencils for carving tools and having fun with our neighbors.

Dressed for Success

By Friday, the costumes were sewn, or in some cases taped, and the presentation was ready. The team created a familiar scene for the viewers, a Girl Scout (Caitlyn) selling cookies (Collin) at Publix (Jackie), while her mother (Brenton) supported her entrepreneurial spirit. The Studio welcomed Marlon Blackwell, Meryati Johari Blackwell, Jen Pindyck, Emilie Taylor Welty, and the Front Porch Initiative team to participate in the festivities and provide feedback that will help the team move forward. Forward to what exactly? Well, you’ll just have to catch us next month on the Moundville Pavilion team blog!