Patriece’s Home

Stringer-ing You Along!

Oh Hi! The Patriece’s Home team has been busy lately making progress on their two-story home! 

Back in August, representatives from Huber Engineered Woods visited the team at Patriece’s Home site to speak about the donated ZIP System and AdvanTech products! (Thanks again to our friends at Huber!) ZIP Systems are “a revolutionary structural roof and wall system that streamlines weatherization with an integrated air and water-resistive barrier.” The Huber team conducted an in-person tutorial where the team applied ZIP and stretch tape then rolled it with the experts to ensure it adhered to the ZIP System sheets. 

The team was then equipped to fly up the wall. As the team sheathed, they applied the tape upwards and placed battens to walk up the roof slope as they worked. They shifted around scaffolding, donned harnesses, and passed around ZIP sheets until the entire exterior of the house was sheathed and the weather barrier was secured.

With the exterior covered and the cold fall wind beginning to blow, the team was excited to walk inside the house (woah) and start building out the interior walls. They started on the first-floor walls, and the bedrooms and bathrooms started to be formed. 

The team then used Huber’s Advantech product underneath their stair tread subfloor to ensure it stays in place and doesn’t squeak when it is walked over.

Along with the ZIP System and AdvanTech products, we received another gift: we’ve been counting down the days since early Summer for the home’s window delivery! Thank you to Pella for the wonderful donation of all the home’s windows. The team was so eager to bring light into the home, they started to cut the ZIP away from the window apertures the same morning as the delivery. It took them two days to install most of the home’s windows. 

All the natural light from these lovely windows brought life into the interior and character to Patriece’s home’s exterior, brightening our workspace and providing a glimpse into the home’s final facade.

The next blog post from the Patriece’s Home will show even more details and progress on the site, so check in again soon! 

Truss Us, Things are Stair-ting to Frame Up

Welcome back! Patriece’s Home is finally starting to look like a house! With the foundation work complete, the “leftovers” team started to move on up.

Before framing, the students installed the termite flashing, anchor bolts for their front porch column, and sill gaskets to reduce air infiltration between the slab and the pressure treated base plates. 

Then the walls flew up! The team, along with Steve Long (5th-year studio faculty), finished framing the exterior walls and interior bearing walls in two hot Summer days. All of the walls were secured and braced, then the students began making headers for the porch walls and interior closet wall. Looks like this team has liked “stick”ing around Hale County!

And what’s THAT?!? BOOZERBEAM™ out of Anniston, AL, donated a 3.5” x 9.25” x 10’ glulam (glued laminated wood) beam for the team to use as the header in their kitchen! Two students drove to Anniston to pick it up and it works perfectly. A HUGE thank you to the fine folks at BOOZERBEAM™!

As the students were nailing in the top plates that attach all the walls together, the truck arrived with their roof trusses! The team then wrapped their framing in their bottom layer of ZIP sheathing.

The next day the team waved goodbye to Patriece’s children on their first day of school and had a successful morning putting up the trusses! After six hours working on scaffolding, and thanks to the help of Shane Jackson and his crane, the students got to climb down and surprise! It’s a house! The home now stands tall and dignified. Patriece’s kids had a great surprise when they came back at the end of the day. 

Since that glorious day the team has been putting blocking in the six foot gap in the trusses and within the exterior walls to so they can begin sheathing the building. The Patriece’s Home team is drying the home in as they get reinvigorated with a new fall semester and new class of Rural Studio students! 

Dirty Work

The Patriece’s Home team is getting dirty in this Alabama heat. Quite literally! After ten months of research and design the team is ecstatic to begin learning through building. 

But first some final checks! A meeting with Joe Burns help the team perfect their column and bearing wall details. He also helped the students design the edits for their attic truss to create more upstairs storage.

The team did not break ground on their site, instead they brought about 84 square yards of engineered dirt to make a leveled spot for their slab on grade foundation. The turndowns for the slab were also dug the same day as the dirt delivery and re-grading by Tyler from T & C Excavating. The site work was off with a bang thanks to Tyler! All that new dirt was then covered with hay and the team spread grass seed to ensure their site progress didn’t erode away. 

The team then began the sequential process toward pouring their slab! But first what needs to go in the slab. The students rapidly learned how plumbing works and designed their utilities to penetrate through the slab into the home’s interior. Eventually the team made trenches for the pipes and electrical conduit when they figured out that the trencher runs backwards instead of trying to drag it forwards. The PVC pipe and fittings were then placed and leveled to unsure they protrude from the ground in the correct spot, then glued together, and finally buried underneath the foundation. 

They immediately began building the formwork for the concrete, leveling and securing it with metal stakes and kickers. They then packed in dirt behind the formwork, or backfilled it, to ensure concrete doesn’t spill out of the forms from the underside of the wood and sprayed the ground for termite protection. 

When the forms were almost completed the team used Rural Studio’s beloved Bobcat to bring in gravel, spread it with shovels, then used the trusty site level create a level bed for the concrete. 

The team tucked the gravel bed in with a sheet of thick plastic, the foundation’s vapor barrier and secured the plastic to the underside of the formwork’s boards. Now for metal reinforcement! Rebar was cut, staked, bent, and tied together along the turndowns of the slab. A final layer of metal mesh was pieced together and sat across the slab interior. 

However, the actual final layer was the epic three layer tarp the team draped over the whole foundation to protect it from filling up with Hale County’s summer rains before their concrete pour date. 

The anticipated day arrived! Patriece’s Home team worked with our concrete contractor Clyde Fields to do their foundation and porch pours in one day. Because it was the hottest day of the summer about hours after the slab was floated the concrete was set enough for students pulled off the formwork around the porches and screw in expansion joints. The team then poured their porch slabs, allowed then to set, and sprayed them off to expose the pea gravel aggregate!

Their one and only concrete pour day was a huge success and the team is now ready to be out of the ground and go vertical! Check back to see Patriece’s Home start to take shape.

the finished concrete have sprinkler that sits on top of them and keeps the surfaces wet

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