You haven’t heard from the 18×18 House team in a while.
And they’ve been busy! Now officially “leftovers,” the squares graduated in early May, so everyone is feeling grown-up and very official. Pig Roast was a great chance for friends and family and visitors to catch up with the project, and for the team to explain the scheme of the house they were planning to build.
But then, everything changed…..AGAIN. Very recently, the 18×18 House was flipped on its head another time, with sleeping and bath on the ground floor and living and cooking elevated above. By cutting the third-story loft almost in half and extending it to the dormer, they found more usable space up there and vertical interest in the house. Now, the living room is below a balcony of sorts, and the loft has access to operable windows in the dormer. The team is pretty excited about making a double-height space happen in the living room, because the house now has a grand reveal when going up the main stairs.
At the same time, the mock-up has begun! The squares got their first shovels in the ground and poured their backyard slab for their doghouse-sized version of the project. Next comes tiny framed walls, sheathing, and cladding. Getting started with work on site is just around the corner!
Another two-dayer is in the books! We started Pig Roast weekend on Friday, April 28, in the Project Horseshoe Farm Courtyard in Greensboro, AL. We began with a scrumptious meal, a collaboration between Mo Kitchen of The Stable and Sarah Cole of Abadir’s. The Stable provided tasty wraps, and Abadir’s the viabrant and zingy salads and sweet desserts, including their famous sprintime coconut cake. Sorry, Mo, the wraps were outstanding, but the Sarah’s flowers and petals visually stole the show, especially on the chopped greens and chickpeas AND the strawberry cobbler with lavender biscuits!
Seven alumni PechaKucha-style lectures followed the meal. Our speakers, spanning 12 years at Rural Studio: • Mary Melissa Taddeo, ’12, Auburn, AL • Chris Currie, ’10, San Antonio, TX • Jamie Sartory, ’10, San Antonio, TX • Evan Forrest, ’09, Chicago, IL • Rob White, ’04, Nashville, TN • Patrick Nelson, ’03, Birmingham, AL • RaSheda Workman, ’00, Tuscaloosa, AL
And then . . . great music by Louis V to dance by.
On Saturday morning at 8:30, we gathered at Morrisette House to set out on our journey behind a Ford pick-up truck regaled in American and Auburn flags. The tour of projects included five in progress and several research initiatives, with a break in the middle back at Morrisette for a delicious lunch prepared by Rural Studio’s own Catherine Tabb and Doris Ward. Attendees heard the latest updates on the Front Porch Initiative from the team—Rusty Smith, Mackenzie Stagg, Betsy Farrell Garcia, & Christian Ayala—and toured and caught up on progress on Rural Studio Farm with Eric Ball. Emily McGlohn gave a rousing presentation on the new Wastewater project in Newbern.
Below is the rest of the rundown:
Projects presentations and clients • C.H.O.I.C.E. House. 5th-year team of AC Priest, Davis Benfer, Hailey Osborne, and Yi Xuan (Raymond) Teo. Client: Emefa Butler of C.H.O.I.C.E. (CHOOSING to HELP OTHERS In our COMMUNITY EXCEL) • Patriece’s Home. 5th-year team of Adam Davis, Daniel Burton, Laurel Holloway, and Lauren Lovell. Client: Patriece Gooden • Rural Studio Bathhouse. 5th-year team of Carla Slabber, Ambar Ashraf, Ashley Wilson, and Logan Lee. Client: Morrisette Campus. • 18×18 House. 5th-year team of Naomi Tony-Alabi, Jake Buell, Meagan Mitchell, and Julie DiDeo. Client: Detyrick King • Rosie’s Home. Spring 3rd-year team of Canon McConnell, Trenton Williams, Junting Song, Finn Downes, and Lucas Henderson. Client Rosie and Frankie
Presentations of classes’ semester-long work • History and Watercolor Class by Dick Hudgens • Woodshop Class by Steve Long
We arrived back to Morrisette House for dinner led by Newbern’s fire trucks and the roasted pig! This year’s dinner and graduation ceremony was moved from Bodark Amphitheater to Morrisette House due to impending thunderstorms. (Thanks to our team for swiftly switching venue locations on the fly!) Saturday evening featured Newbern Mercantile’s famous fried catfish and barbecued pork—it is Pig Roast, after all—and all the sides (of course!), with everyone kicking back to live tunes, first from the young performers of the Blues School Graduate Band and then the stylings of Debbie Bond Blues Band featuring Debbie Bond, “Radiator” Rick, Earl “Guitar Williams, Marcus “Jukeman” Lee, and Jonathan Schwartz.
The ceremony introductions began with Joe Lee Hamilton, Hale County Commissioner; Ben Farrow, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and International Programs for Auburn University College of Architecture, Design and Construction; and Justin Miller, Head of Auburn University School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.
It was our pleasure to honor special guests Melissa Foster Denney and Bobby Scott. We were delighted to have Frank Harmon from Frank Harmon Architects in Raleigh, NC, to give this year’s graduation speech. And it was with pride and sweet tears that we congratulated our graduating 5th-year students: Ambar Ashraf, Ashley Wilson, Carla Slabber, Jake Buell, Julie DiDeo, Logan Lee, Meagan Mitchell, Naomi Tony-Alabi. Huge congrats, folks: you poured your hearts into your work and earned those degrees!
As tradition requires, “Whiffle Dust” shot from the Spencer family’s cannon, and fireworks rose to their heights behind Morrisette House.
We couldn’t have Pig Roast without our outstanding local sponsors! We’d like to thank Alabama Power; BDA Farm; City Furniture; Greensboro Pie; Hale County Hospital; Harvest Select Catfish; NAPA Auto Parts; Parker Tire & Muffler; People’s Bank; Reynold’s Electric; Sweetbriar Tea & Coffee; Blue Shadows B&B; Dozier Hardware; Greensboro Depot; Holmstead Company; M&M Mustang; Newbern Mercantile; The Partridge Berry; Seale, Homes, Ryan, LLC; Stillwater Machine; the Smelley family; The Stable; Citizens Bank; Mosley Feed and Seed; Greensboro Nutrition; Superior Metal Works; Clary’s Country Market; Patrick Braxton; and Wood Fruitticher!
The 18×18 House team kicked off the past month with their most important deadline so far, the first Executive Review. Justin Miller (Associate Professor and Head, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture), Rusty Smith (Rural Studio Associate Director), and Rural Studio faculty were all in attendance to evaluate the team’s progress and give important feedback as the team prepares to push towards the next construction phase after graduation. At this review, the team also gave a new version of their presentation where they talked in depth about the different types of constrains on rural sites.
They got some great feedback from this Executive Review and kept working to refine the details of the design and structure. For the next few weeks, the team shifted focus towards the porch and overall cladding strategy of the 18×18 House.
The first event after the review was one of the most inspiring times of the project. The team finally met their client and received the site they will be building on! Their client Detyrick is a Greensboro native, and the team is very excited to be working with him in the coming months. After meeting the client, the team headed out onto the site for their 1st round of surveying to get an idea of what the topography is that they’ll be working with.
The next week, Chicago architect Pete Landon came to Newbern. He worked with the team on the aperture placements in the 18×18 House. Pete challenged the team to work from the inside out. First, they should use the size and height of windows to direct light and views in the space. Then they should put this plan to the test with a mock-up. So, the team built a full-size stud wall, which they tilted up and covered with rigid insulation to mock-up the living space. The exercise helped them understand where to increase the perceived size of the room with openings in the wall and the storage wall.
The team used their mock-up wall to pin up their work for their next guests: North Carolina architects Katherine Hogan and Vincent Petrarca. The pin up wall was a disaster, but the workshop was a lot of fun. They built on the previous workshops by working on the apertures in elevation and considering the porch.
The final guest was Louisville architect Roberto De Leon. He pushed the team to explore the spatial qualities of the storage wall and porch and dive into some finer details.
So much has happened for the 18×18 House team in such a short time. With a client in mind and a site to study, the project feels more real than ever and the team could not be more excited for what is to come. And as the end of the semester approaches, the team will be building mock-ups, getting their hands dirty, and doing everything they can to set the project up for success ahead of Pig Roast and the final Executive Review.
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Rural Studio Bathhouse Blog! This semester has been super busy for our team. We’ve had several incredible visitors, and we are very excited to share where our project is now!
After winter break, the team took some time to consider the best path forward for the project. We are considering the possibility of reusing existing structures on campus. As a mass timber project, we were especially intrigued by the idea of reusing—and directly connecting to—the Breathing Wall Mass Timber Research Project pods. The pods were designed as the final scale experiment on breathing wall technology and then were to be used as living pods.
The Breathing Wall team put an exceptional amount of hard work and attention into the structure, and we admire the detailed level of craft that they exhibited. We see the reuse of these pods as a testament and celebration of the amazing work that they did before.
Reusing the Breathing Wall pods will allow the very well-constructed buildings to become a part of permanent infrastructure that all 3rd-year students will be able to inhabit and enjoy. The texture and the warmth of the wood walls will be celebrated when natural light is introduced. Since the entrances to these pods face away from the “Supershed street,” this orientation has the potential to create layers of privacy in the new Bathhouse.
The reuse also sets the Studio up with a strategic plan for development in the future. With the Bathhouse now in the middle of the “Supershed street,” a kitchen/dining space can also be added to the middle of the street, helping strengthen the social aspect of this space. This leaves several other accessible bays of the Supershed open, which could be used for new sleeping pods if needed. This would also help reconnect the Thermal Mass and Buoyancy Ventilation Research Project pods into the streetscape. Re-grading the first four bays of the Supershed will allow for one accessible entry into the Bathhouse (and any further developments), setting the precedent for accessibility on campus for the future.
The visitors for this month challenged us to consider the best organization of spaces for the Bathhouse based on the reuse of the Breathing Wall pods. Cheryl Noel and Ravi Ricker of Wrap Architecture in Chicago, IL, came back to work in Hale County; they helped us think of the overall concepts and form of the spaces we are creating.
Joe Burns and Dan Wheeler, also from Chicago, IL, re-entered the mix and provided excellent help thinking through several different structural techniques and organizational layouts of the spaces.
Andrew Berman from New York, NY, challenged us to think about the experience of using a Bathhouse facility within a community of people. This opened our eyes to layers of privacy while reimagining the Rural Studio ritual of using the Bathhouse as a 3rd-year.
With the help of our visiting consultants, we reimagined the existing Breathing Wall pods as public spaces that include two new structures to provide toilet and bathing spaces. The structures would create a privacy gradient as users move farther from the Supershed and closer to the forest, which would begin to envelope the building. The team is still considering the exact mass timber construction method for the two new structures. A new shed roof will stretch over all the structures, and a series of clerestories will bring natural light into each of the spaces.
We are very excited to progress with this scheme and work towards construction.
Thanks for following along and we look forward to updating our progress soon!
It’s been a busy month for the 18×18 House! Design of the house is moving into a technical mix of details, framing, material choices, and structural design.
The team finally got to meet the FPI building partners from Nashville, TN, whose idea created the 18×18 project. Eddie Latimer, CEO of Affordable Housing Resources, and Barbara Harper from Honeybee Builders spent Valentine’s Day in Hale County with the Front Porch Initiative and students. The 18×18 House team presented their work to Eddie and Barbara and received feedback on expectations for the project. It was an exciting day for all of us!
The same week, engineer Joe Burns and architect Dan Wheeler came back to Newbern to help the teams move forward with structural and detail strategies. A first round of full-size details made it onto the wall for discussion, and the team explored structural possibilities for the house’s storage system.
New York architect Andrew Berman also came to work in Hale County this month. He pushed the 18×18 House team further into designing a loft for the house, and his visit left them ready to make that space bigger, better, and more usable. Now the team is exploring how to design a dormer to make an upper level for the house, which could be an extra bedroom, workspace, living area, playroom… the list of possibilities is growing!
And this month brought tool trailers into the mix! Keys were made, inventory was taken, and spirits are high as Executive Reviews (and construction!) get closer. Check in next month to see where the team is after their biggest review of the year!