rs3rdyears

The 3rd Month: 3rd-Year Edition

As the semester is beginning to wind down, the 3rd-year class has been very busy! We worked hard to finalize drawings and begin construction for Rosie’s Home. In our Woodshop Class, we spent lots of time in the shop finalizing ideas with our mock-up and getting started on Rosie’s kitchen cabinets. With our history seminar ending, we finished up our watercolors and visited some of our final houses.

Rosie’s Home

Since our last post, Rosie’s House has made a lot of progress. At the Halloween Reviews, visiting architects came to critique and help improve our design. It was not all business though, everyone came dressed up in their Halloween costumes (even the reviewers)!

With Halloween Reviews over and designs complete, we were ready to begin construction! We started construction by re-framing some of the exterior walls, windows, and doors. After the walls were nailed together, we raised and set them in place.

After our walls were up, we began to measure and place our ZIP System sheathing. The sheathing helped brace our walls to keep them nice and square during construction.

With our walls up and sheathing in place, we then turned our attention to the ceiling! First, we set up temporary supports to lift up our ridge beam. Next, we climbed up the scaffolding to nail the ridge pieces together. Soon the ceiling will be completely framed!

Woodshop Class

During our first week back from Fall break, we spent each night in the Woodshop cutting pieces, making jigs, and gluing and assembling to have our cabinet mock-up done by the following week. Our mock-up consisted of three drawers and two shelves. We divided up jobs and worked together to make the construction process go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

The following week, we met with our instructors, Steve Long and Judith Seaman, to review our mock-up process and design. From the mock-up, we decided to narrow our focus on the kitchen cabinets for this semester and noted ways to improve our construction process. We revised our drawings and made a weekly schedule to prepare for the final weeks of the semester.

Finally, in the last few weeks, we started by ordering, processing, and organizing our woods and materials. We have been working hard to plan, cut, and begin assembly on Rosie’s final kitchen cabinets. With most of our pieces cut out and three cabinet boxes assembled, we are excited to continue work on some wonderful cabinets for Rosie’s kitchen.

History Class

Recently in history class, we continued to tour historic Antebellum homes every week. Our focus has been shifting from sketching towards our final watercolor. This watercolor is 24″ x 30″ and depicts an elevation of different architectural details.

In October, we had the chance to tour Tasso Plantation in Orrville, AL. This house has an incredibly rare and intact wooden block wallpaper print. This print, “Banks of the Bosphorus,” depicts a panoramic view of minarets and waterways around the entire room.

The next week, we visited Carlisle Hall near Marion, AL. This grand house was designed by Richard Upjohn in the asymmetrical Italianate style.

The following week, we visited Old Cahawba, AL. On the site, some buildings remain of the abandoned town and foundations outline where others once stood. Outlined in steel is the original courthouse that once stood at the center of town. Rural Studio students disassembled and moved St. Luke’s Church back in the park many years ago.

We also visited Thornhill Plantation in Forkland, AL. This Greek revival house was once one of the largest plantations in the area. It sits atop a hill with 360-degree views of the property.

Stay tuned for next month’s blog to see our final class field trip to Mississippi!

Hale-oween

Students and faculty in costume

Here in Hale County, Halloween is the time to work hard and play hard. This year was no different, with a week full of pumpkins, presentations, and of course, costumes. We started the week early, with carving and displaying pumpkins at Red Barn on Tuesday evening. Friends and families from town came to join in on the fun too!

After a long week of rushing to finish costumes and drawings, our students presented for Halloween Reviews on Friday. We had familiar faces return this year, including Marlon Blackwell from Marlon Blackwell Architects; Emilie Taylor Welty, Director of Architecture at Tulane University and Design-Build Manager of the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design; Emily Neustrom from Material Institute; and the Front Porch Initiative’s Rusty Smith, Betsy Farrell Garcia, and Mackenzie Stagg. We also hosted visitors who came a long way to see the work: Kent Hicks from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Kelly Gregory all the way from San Francisco. Our good friends Timothy and Jeanie Hursley surprised us with a visit and a quick photoshoot of the special day. We can’t wait to see those images soon!

Of course, everyone was dressed for the occasion. Costumes are a must on review day!

To end the day and the week, students and visitors showed off their costumes for each other and our friends in town. This year was tough competition, but Logan Lee was named as pumpkin carving winner, and Rural Studio Bathhouse team won with their Toilet-Trees costumes. Thanks to the Newbern Library and the Newbern Mercantile for wonderful judges and prizes! Check back in on team blogs to see how students move forward next!

Faculty posing in costume
The cast of Jaws and “Sam with SPAM”

The First Month: 3rd-Year Edition

Rural Studio welcomed eleven new 3rd-year students to campus this Fall. Before we could begin this semester’s work on Rosie’s Home, we partook in Rural Studio’s bi-annual Neckdown Week.

Among several projects around the area, we helped lay the foundation for the C.H.O.I.C.E. House project, provided maintenance on the Newbern Firehouse, helped with upkeep of our own campus and home, and power-washed and weeded the Safe House Black History Museum in Greensboro. Neckdown was the crash course in Rural Studio and Newbern.

Now that us 3rd-years have gotten thrown into the deep end of the goings on at Rural Studio, we can officially start our project: Rosie’s Home.

Welcome to Red Barn!

The 3rd-year class had a busy first few weeks in the Red Barn Studio. We started by getting to know our clients Rosie and Frankie. We created collages after meeting them to explore specific locations of the home.

While we were getting to know the clients, we had another project. We went to dollar stores and second-hand shops to pick up a variety of materials. Then we weaved, layered, and meshed the materials, and the result was funky–even for Rural Studio–and we’ve been known to do some weird stuff.

Pin-up of materials study in Red Barn

This project was a collaboration with the 4th-year Interior Architecture studio that is back on main campus in Auburn. In a Zoom meeting, we shared work from both studios including the materials, as well as our collages. Using all of the information and materials we previously organized, we teamed up (2-3 Rural Studio students and 2-3 main campus Interiors students) to explore how different materials might affect the atmosphere of Rosie’s Home.

Presenting to the Interiors Studio in Auburn from the Red Barn

Most recently, we began a study of all the previous 20K Homes. Looking at all the materials that make up the walls, we began to research their qualities, such as healthfulness, energy efficiency, and cost. We then presented our research and our work from previous weeks to visiting architects Cheryl Noel and Ravi Ricker of Wrap Architecture in Chicago.

Our reviewers offered a lot of great feedback on our presentation, graphics, and research and we are excited to continue to progress our design for the interior of Rosie’s Home!

Woodshop Class

Along with our studio course, we take a Woodshop course and a History Seminar here at Rural Studio. Our Woodshop class will focus on creating cabinetry for Rosie’s Home. The first assignment was to study cabinetry, focusing on function, space, and material of typical cabinetry, as well as cabinetry and storage in past Rural Studio projects. The course instructors Steve Long and Judith Seaman began an introduction to the workspace consisting of rules and regulations, and how to use the equipment and tools in the shop. They also gave us a presentation on the history of wood in the state of Alabama and in the local area of Hale County. Finally, we are excited to start our first woodworking project: a cutting board!

History Seminar

The History Seminar is on Monday afternoons with our instructor, Dick Hudgens. We travel around the local area and surrounding counties to study the vernacular architecture in West Alabama with an emphasis on wood constructed Antebellum homes. In the most recent class, we visited Glencairn in Greensboro. It was completed in 1837 and the original owner was John Erwin. During the tour, we learned about almost every detail of the home from the handcrafted cornices to the scrolls on the furniture. In order to study the intricate details of the home, we sketched the interior of the front door and surrounding trim work and the exterior elevation of the building. 

White Antebellum style home front elevation.
Glencairn Exterior

Stay tuned this semester!

Pouring at Rosie’s Home

The Spring semester is complete! During their last few weeks in Newbern, the 3rd-year class completed projects for the Woodshop class, visited the final house for History class, worked on the foundations and walls of Rosie’s Home, and prepared for the Pig Roast presentations. Scroll down to see these final products and more!

Finishing Up the Chairs

Each of the teams spent time on their chair’s assembly and sanding, all complete with finishing oils to make them really shine. In the final review, we discussed what we liked about our chair, what could be improved, and what we learned over the course of the semester.

Forkland, AL

Our final fieldtrip let us to Thornhill mansion in Forkland, Alabama. The amazing views, tasteful modern additions, and lovely adjacent schoolhouse made for a great afternoon with an abundance of learning.

The Foundation of Our Learning

With gravel in place, we began the next step of preparing for the foundation by digging the slab’s turndowns and constructing the formwork. Next, we backfilled the formwork using the dirt from the turndowns and installed the rebar and wire mesh.

During our final week of construction, we poured the foundation of Rosie’s Home! After two concrete trucks, a lot of hand-smoothing, and a day to cure, we were able to stand on the foundation, remove the formwork, and begin the process of framing the walls. Using our detailed framing plans, we constructed and leveled the North, East, and South walls of the home. In the Fall, the upcoming 3rd-year class will finish the Western wall’s framing and construct the exterior envelope before moving on to the interior.

While we waited for the concrete to set, we spent the afternoon building a new house for Rosie’s dog, Bo, whose house was beginning to fail. We were able to carry it over to the backyard for Bo by the end of the day, just in time, since a big storm blew in shortly after.

I love Rural! Pig Roast 2022!

The semester ended with a bang at the annual Pig Roast festivities. We enjoyed two days of touring current projects and celebrating the completion of several projects. The weekend ended with a graduation ceremony for the 5th-year students and celebration of our community partners.

First, we showed off a gallery of our projects for Woodshop, History, and Studio.

Next, we drove over to site. After some kind words from Rosie and Frankie, we presented our progress on Rosie’s Home to our visitors. The benefits of our post-frame construction were clearly shown when a storm hit suddenly. Thankfully, with our pre-constructed roof, we were able to continue the presentation and celebration as planned.

Looking back on our semester here at Rural Studio, we have come so far since January. We will all miss Newbern dearly, but our team is very excited to see the next semester of students develop the project even further. We can’t wait to return to see Rosie and Frankie enjoying their new home.

Check back here in August to get to know the folks working on Phase 3 of Rosie’s Home!

The Stakes are High

Things have really gotten rolling with our 3rd-year class! Scroll down to see what we’ve been working on in woodshop, history, and Rosie’s Home.

Mocking It Up

Our main project in woodshop is to create a chair. However, before we could begin recreating our chair precedents, each team was tasked with crafting a mock-up that tested all of the most difficult aspects of their chair’s construction. We learned so much about joints, jigs, lamination, and even steam-bending!

Our testing phase is coming to a close, but we have learned from both our mistakes and successes and can apply that knowledge to our final chair.

Historical Visits and Tomfoolery

This month, we visited Gaineswood in Demopolis, AL, along with Magnolia Grove and The Oaks (Happel-Stickney Home) in Greensboro, AL. These houses were beautifully constructed and provided opportunities for fun photo ops between sketches.

1st-Year Frenzy

The 2021-2022 Foundation Unit students came to visit Rural Studio! We had a great time showing them around Newbern. On Saturday, we helped them build a variety of model stands for their latest project. The stands turned out wonderfully!

That’s the Plan!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve created many iterations of floor plans for Rosie’s Home, gradually improving the design. We also went on site to examine the post-frame construction and discuss the building’s corner details.

This week, we finalized our floor plan and slab details and decided on a new elevation scheme. We taped out our floorplan at full scale on the floor of our studio. Next, we staked out the footprint of the building and began setting up our batter boards!

After marking out the floor plan under the roof structure, we brought our clients Rosie and Frank out to show them our progress and present our projections for what the home will look like in the future. It was a great meeting, and we can’t wait to see what they think of the house when it is complete!

Check back in soon to see our progress on the foundation and framing plans!