At the beginning of the week we (Reggie’s Home) had our “Pre-Stress Test” which is a review with Auburn University faculty to show our progress with the project. During this review it was determined that the best way to move forward was to show Reggie our design and get his input on the decisions we have made so far. We presented on site so we could help Reggie visualize where we plan to place the home.
Due to the constant rainfall our site was pretty muddy but we didn’t let that stop us from presenting on site. We showed two schemes to Reggie. One which includes a dogtrot that separates the bedroom/bathroom from the living room/kitchen and another which has all the program together with a porch on the east and west sides of the home.
Reggie was very receptive of the way we imagine him living in the house. One thing we need to keep developing is the outdoor kitchen space because that is where Reggie imagines spending most of his time, rain or shine. In terms of schemes Reggie liked both of them, so our next step is to determine which one would achieve the moments we want to create in a better way.
This week Reggie’s Home has been focusing on what systems we could use to make the Alabama climate feel more thermally comfortable. Reggie does not want A/C in his new home which means our design has to focus on heating and cooling using passive methods. While considering what passive strategies to use it has been important for us to keep in mind that although the summer can get very hot, Alabama is actually a heating climate. This means that there are more days in which spaces would need to be heated rather than cooled. So far we have been researching cooling with simple methods like cross ventilation, the use of a fan, and using a dehumidifier. In terms of heating we’ve been looking at how we could use earth tubes and a wood stove.
Earth tubes are tubes that run underground and precondition the temperature of incoming air before it enters the building. In the winter, the ground is warmer than the air, meaning that the air is warmed as it passes through the tubes. In certain climates it is believed that earth tubes can change the temperature of the air up to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. While doing this research one big question always comes up; how do we know it’ll work in our climate? Lucky for us we have been able to gather data from Earth tubes used in our own backyard!
In 2016, a combination of earth tubes and a solar chimney was used as a passive system for the storehouse on Rural Studio’s Morrisette Campus. The exchange was optimized to create a temperature difference of 15 degrees Fahrenheit between the exterior and interior. In order to test if it’s working the way it was designed we placed temperature sensors outside the storehouse and within the tube in the interior of the storehouse. Through the months of December to February we can see that on average the highest temperature change is 6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now the question becomes, how much of a difference is 6 degrees Fahrenheit when it is 32 degrees Fahrenheit outside? This leads us to research different methods that could work instead of or in addition to earth tubes. To help with heating we have been exploring the option of a wood stove which would work as a constant space heater within the home. If placed correctly, a wood stove would be more than enough to heat the entire home.
This coming week we will continue to move our design forward and use the research of these systems to determine how we can optimize the performance of the home. In the mean time enjoy these pictures of the team incase you forgot what we looked like!
This past week Reggie’s Home team focused on minimizing the interior footprint of the home. In order to do this we had to take a step back and clearly identify the diagram of our home.
Since we’ve said from the beginning that the site is the house, it is very important to clarify what site connections we want to achieve. In this design, the living/kitchen area will have a direct connection to the old chimney, the bedroom will have a connection the cedar tree on the site, and the bathroom/core area will serve as a bridge between the two spaces.
The next step was to identify the roof conditions. Different areas of program could require different levels of coverage from the rain and sun.
Establishing the amount of enclosures will be important in determining the sizes of the interior spaces.
We believe that by minimizing the interior footprint we can maximize the expansion to the exterior. Next we have to decide how much we want it to expand and what the activities will be in those spaces.
Along with diagramming, we created perspectives that highlight qualities we want in the home.
At the end of last week, we presented to Peter Landon, founder and principal of Landon Bone Baker Architects. The conversation focused on taking the connection to the exterior a step further and make it part of our design process. Next week we will continue to move our design forward while keeping in mind that the exterior conditions need to be designed along with the home to strengthen their connection.
This week we have been hard at work moving forward the design of Reggie’s Home. After a week of design charrettes and model making, we presented to Peter Gluck, Leia Price, and Sam Currie. The conversation focused on the essential aspects of the home: a roof, a bathroom, and a place to spend time outside.
We are exploring the idea that the roof functions as the organizing system for the home below. It could be used to collect rain water as well as provide shade and shelter for the outdoor areas of the home. Although the roof may be slightly bigger than the home it will be the gift for Reggie that could be filled in and inhabited in the future.
We will be examining strategies that minimize the square footage of the interior rooms and maximize the occupiable exterior spaces.
It’s important that we consider the connection of the home’s exterior with the rest of the site. We have been able to learn a lot about the landscape and how the site is currently used while demolishing the old family home and through deeper site analysis.
Next week we will continue our research on passive systems as well as charrettes of our design.
Hello from Reggie’s Home! In an effort to create a design that fully responds to the conditions of the site we decided to conduct some soil test to determine where the best places to grow Reggie’s desired fruits and vegetables would be. In order to conduct the test we divided our site into three parts: the front of the site, the part where the old family home stood, and the back of the site where Reggie has been cutting down privet. We collected soil from these areas and sent them to Auburn University’s soil testing laboratory to be tested.
We have also been researching the plants Reggie wishes to grow to figure out what type of sun and soil they need, as well as what seasons the crops would be harvested. This research and the soil test results led us to determine the best place for Reggie to have a garden would be the north side of the site. With this information we were able to get a more accurate master plan of the site.
In addition to researching plants available to grow on our site we also continued our research with Earth Tubes, a form of passive heating and cooling. Earth Tubes are essentially buried ventilation ducts that heat or cool the air moving through them because of the constant temperature of the soil. A big question that comes with Earth Tubes is whether or not it will work in our climate due to the humidity. Lucky for us, the Rural Studio Farm Storehouse uses earth tubes in an effort to keep produce at a constant temperature. We have been monitoring the temperature and humidity outside the storehouse and outtake of the Earth Tube to see how effective it is. After a month of recording temperature we discovered a change of temperature from 6-10 degrees. With this information we contacted Adam Pyrek, an Environmental Controls professor from the University of Texas at Austin, to consult whether Earth tubes would be feasible as part of our home design. He encouraged us to continue the research on the temperature and humidity of the storehouse and to keep in mind that Earth Tubes are ideal for keeping a small space at a constant temperature.
With all this information we will be pushing the design of the home as well as the site as a whole forward!