Patriece’s Home

Summer Shenanigans

The Patriece’s Home team, affectionately known around the Studio as the “Stairs Team,” just hasn’t gotten enough of Hale County! Now college grads and no longer students, Adam, Laurel, Daniel and Lauren picked right back up and finished their details mock-up as “leftovers.” The team is using their mock-up to test metal shade devices for windows and the articulation of their wood-clad porches.

After hunting through differing foundation types for their home, the team talked to Tyler from C & T Excavating Inc. and is now moving forward with a plan to sculpt the site with engineered fill for their slab-on-grade foundation.

Patriece’s Home has been focusing on the landscape opportunities in their home’s design. They are not only using natural, space-making tools to ground the house on the site, but to shape and protect areas of outdoor activity, such as play, sitting, parking, and driving. The team Zoomed with Emily Knox, a landscape architecture professor from Auburn University, to discuss their design for siting home, how the landscape design can extend across the whole site, and both existing and potential “materials” (trees, shrubs, grasses) for the site.

Thankfully, the team had their mock-up and details ready to be reviewed because our friend and consultant Dan Wheeler (from Wheeler Kearns Architects in Chicago, IL) showed up again! Dan had an intense design discussion with the team about the wood cladding on the interior and exterior of the home. He left the group with lots of tips and a positive direction toward establishing a character for the wood details. Let’s see what the team decides!

And because the team is itching (literally, the mosquitoes are waking up) to start work on site, they completed their batter boards for their excavation date set in two weeks! They will be in the business of purchasing, perfecting, and tying loose ends as they eagerly await this date. So wait for the next blog post when the team will be playing in the dirt!

Until then, here is a gallery of some Hale County summer shenanigans!

Pomp and Staircumstance

Now that the Patriece’s Home team has a chance to catch their breath, let us tell you about the exciting last few weeks! Pigs have been roasted, mock-ups have gone up, executives have reviewed, so get ready, because we’ve got a full story!

A sketched perspective sits behind a tree on Patriece's site

Site Design Time! The students began investigating details of the site, including the existing trailer, driveway, and a beautiful, healthy Water Oak tree. The team met with David Hill (professor and graduate chair of Auburn University School of Landscape Architecture) to get some advice on how to draw and diagram zones of different uses on the site, such as play areas and parking. He advised the group to use simple but powerful landscaping tools, like subtle berms and trees that will last and grow over the home’s long lifetime.

The team did a charrette to learn how programmatic zones and natural elements could inform where the house sits, instead of the other way around!

The team also began making mock-ups of many of their home’s unique details!

At the SAME time, the student team was preparing for the Studio’s annual Pig Roast weekend. The students mocked-up their most recent landscape plan on the site and created a scrolled slideshow to present their design of an adaptable two story home to the Studio’s families, friends, and alumni.

And at the same time (are you sensing a theme here?), the Patriece’s Home team prepared for the Executive Review 2.0! The guest reviewers suggested the team use an elevated slab to mitigate their site’s slope, order materials and windows, and get in the ground as soon as possible. YAY!

After Pig Roast and the Executive Reviews, the team rushed over to Auburn to graduate! They’ve worked hard on their research the last two semesters, but when they come back to Hale County next week, as leftovers, the real design-build work begins!

four students stand in the auburn football field, smiling in graduation caps and gowns

This House is Lit

Howdy from the Patriece’s Home team! The trees are turning green here in Hale County and the 5th-year projects are emerging from Winter with pent up energy and an excitement to build!

Since their last blog post, the team completed a soil test at their site and starting identifying the home’s location on the site. They’ve also been busy developing a landscaping strategy, pushing forward with a zero eaves strategy, and designing warm, wood-clad porches.

Rural Studio students have a myriad of consultants and reviewers checking over the designs and advising the projects. Recently, the Patriece’s Home team had a visit from Pete Landon and Cameron Acheson of Landon Bone Baker Architects in Chicago, IL. The students received feedback on how they could consider detailing the column and headers of their wood-clad porch.

Next, the team met Cheryl Noel and Ravi Ricker of Wrap Architecture in Chicago, IL, for a successful code review of the home, The team then proposed the home’s lighting strategy to lighting designer Thomas Paterson of Lux Populi, from Mexico City, Mexico. He advised the team that the light desired in a home at night is not the same character of light desired during the day.

The students decided to take a trip to the 20K Model Homes at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. to review the amount of daylight the windows provide and test what ideal nighttime lighting would be. For Patriece’s Home, the team is designing wall-mounted lighting to cast general light into a dark room and layered task lighting to illuminate highly used surfaces and spaces.  

Patriece’s Home most recently met with Rural Studio’s structural engineer, Joe Farruggia from Chicago, IL, for advice on when it is best and most economical to use laminated veneer lumber (LVLs) instead of dimensional lumber in the headers of the home. The team is also getting extremely detailed in the design of the cabinet and electrical plans, imagining how to design spaces for the hundred-year lifespan of the home.

The Patriece’s Home team is sprinting toward Pig Roast, Executive Review 2.0, and graduation, all in the next three and a half weeks! The students will begin buying materials, moving dirt on site, and constructing a full-scale mock-up of the home’s details. Stay tuned! Thanks for checking in on the project!

Don’t Be Stair-tled By A Review

Hey, Hi, Hello, and welcome back to the Patriece’s Home blog! Since the last blog post, the team has been busy preparing drawings for the 5th-years Executive Review (informally know as “stress test”) with Justin Miller, Associate Professor and new Head of Auburn’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, and Rusty Smith, Associate Director of Rural Studio. The annual stress test examines each project’s potential and feasibility to continue into the summer.

In preparation, the latest designs were drawn with a greater degree of detail. (No more pochéd walls, folks!) And with the site now surveyed, the team began studying the position of the house in the surrounding landscape, focusing on forming comfortable, shaded exterior rooms.

The reviewers challenged the team to examine and test the design’s passive heating and cooling systems. The team was also asked to address potential foundation challenges; with a eaveless house design, water may collect at the base of the wall and undermine the strength of the building’s ground connection.

After a unanimous thumbs-up from their reviewers, Patriece’s Home team has moved forward drawing plumbing, electrical, and lighting plans. They hope to soon order their manufactured attic trusses. The 6’ space the doubled-up trusses straddling the stairs created has facilitated a double-height celebratory space. To highlight and delight in the space, the team has also decided to clad it with a hardier, more durable wood material. 

The team ended the intense week of preparation and reviews with a model-stand building workshop with a group of visiting 1st-year Auburn architecture students. Everyone enjoyed getting out of Red Barn, working with fellow architecture students, and reminiscing about the old days at Dudley Hall.

Andrew Freear gives a lecture to the first years under the Great Hall at the Morrissette campus.

The team still has lots more to do! They are now drawing their most difficult details and combining them into a plan for a 1:1 mock up. They will also begin soil testing and prepare the site to build the home’s foundation! Onward and upward! Check back in a couple weeks to see how far the team gets on their 1:1 mock-up!

A Site in Site

The Patriece’s Home team continues to present, question, revise, and present again their designs and research for an adaptable, two-story home. Visiting architects from across the country helped the team see opportunities to make an even better design!

The team decided to keep a defined room for living on the first floor that is open to the entryway and kitchen. This led to establishing two closed off rooms upstairs for bedrooms and an open space at the top of the stairs for more nuanced uses. For example, a desk could make it a study or office space, or a twin bed could turn it into a fifth bedroom. The team also realized that there is a 6-foot tributary area between the doubled-up trusses for the stairs, so they widened the dormer so that the open space can benefit from its light and the nook it creates.

However, when the team mocked up the dormer flashing detail, they began to question whether the benefits of the dormer could be achieved without the complexities created by breaking the roof plane.

That’s when help arrived from Mike Newman of SHED Studio and Katrina Van Valkenburgh of the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CS), both based in Chicago, IL. Mike suggested using a skylight to bring light upstairs without breaking the line of the roof. Katrina also suggested the team spend more time looking closer at the kitchenette and entryway to add opportunities for more storage in this home’s tight design. The visitors stayed a second day to host a mini workshop with the team and mock-up the skylight and storage. The outcome was the idea of having the skylight and window next to each other on the second floor—one for light and the other for framing the view as someone ascends the stairs.

Immediately after Mike and Katrina left, the team began preparing for the Studio’s go-to guy for masterful details, Dan Wheeler of Wheeler Kearns Architects in Chicago, IL, “Detail Dan”. The team showed him 1:1 detail drawings for the dormer and skylights, then drawings on how those changes might affect the cladding strategies for the house. They also discussed possible ways the interior stairs can be finished with a heftier material to show their significance to the home and to combat wear on this heavily used surface. Dan reviewed the team’s eave details and gave advice about the construction and expression of home’s exterior. Dan also suggested that the team streamline their window strategy by using the same few windows throughout the home, aggregating them in different ways to create repeatable details.

After all this helpful discussion, the team concluded that a low, wide window without a dormer already gives the upstairs significant light and excellent sitting views in the nook space.

As an appreciated change of pace, the team lugged out their equipment and spent a day surveying their home’s site! They found out that the slopes drain well and that it is located on a road with lots of other houses nearby (good for the corner porch and a gable end approach).

Now there’s always more to do for the upcoming Executive Review in mid-March! We will get see where the home is best placed on the site and how the team is designing the foundation. They will keep drawing those 1:1 details and fine tuning the home’s systems to get the house to its best thermal performance come summer or winter! Thanks for the read, and come back soon!

three students pose in front of their drawings pinned up for review