Lumber being stored under the Fabrication Pavillion

Rural Studio Fabrication Pavilion

  • Overview

    Info

    Newbern, AL
    2015, 2024
    5th-Year Project
    Campus

  • Project Team

    2015: Adam Levet, Gabbi Rush, Kyle Wherry, Megan Wood

    2024: Anna Leach, Laura Forrest, Marcelo Aldrete, Tatum DeBardeleben

The Fabrication Pavilion fills the need for a workspace that improves the craft, efficiency, and capabilities of construction. The original design-build of the pavilion, started in September 2014, provided a covered, level working surface for students to build mock-ups and test ideas. Since then, this space has become essential, and its use has evolved over seven years.

The growth and adaptation phase began in September 2023 with the 5th-year team studying ways to improve the infrastructure and expand the loading area, as well as how to integrate designated storage and teaching/review space. The exploration will also include a new material strategy for the underside of the expansive roof and better lighting strategies, especially for nighttime use.

The latest team is developing weather screens that provide better protection from wind, rain, and glare while also providing protection of stored materials, tools, and in-progress projects.

A workspace to improve the craft, efficiency, and capabilities of construction at Rural Studio.
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Interior core sketches

CLT Core House

  • Overview

    Info

    Newbern, AL
    2024
    5th-Year Project
    Residential

  • Project Team

    Connor Warren, Paris Copeland, Peter Harpring, Sarah Recht

The CLT Core House explores wood construction technologies and prefabrication with an emphasis on housing affordability, durability, and speed of construction for a small home. Labor costs often represent a large portion of the total cost of building a home. The goal for this project is to reduce the overall labor costs on-site by prefabricating one key “core” part of the home in a controlled environment and then transporting it to the site. It will test the idea of a rural form of off-site prefabrication with a conceptual work force of three people a truck and trailer. The 5th-year student team is designing a quick fastening to the concrete foundation/floor system to further reduce sub-contractor labor costs for when the core unit gets installed on-site.

Rural Studio has explored several forms of atypical wood construction. This house project is the first venture into using mass timber for a home. CLT (cross laminated timber) is an engineered wood product made by cross-laminating dimensional lumber. Each layer is glued perpendicular to the next layer, creating strong wood panels that have enormous compressive and tensile strength. This means that the CLT panels, when configured as a five- or six-sided core space can be rigid in transit, and they will reinforce the lateral stability of the house once built. This offers an opportunity for rethinking the traditional house sheathing and potentially adds to the home’s resiliency against extreme weather and high winds, like tornados.

The core unit for this home consists of the bathroom, kitchen, and mechanical/utility space. For this home’s core, the mechanical and laundry space sits between the bathroom and kitchen. This central position in the core, with all mechanical systems exposed on the CLT panels, offers easier access for repairs and maintenance. Circulation in the home occurs around the core, allowing the homeowner to enjoy the wood CLT walls to make and define the spaces of the house.

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students collaborating on drawing

Rural Studio Bathhouse

  • Overview

    Info

    Newbern, AL
    2023
    5th-Year Project
    Campus

  • Project Team

    Ambar Ashraf, Logan Lee, Carla Slabber, Ashley Wilson

Morrisette Campus’s housing pods will gain a new bathhouse, which will offer showers, toilets, laundry, dining, and cooking space for an expected 16-person cohort of 3rd-year students. The Studio continues to research the potential of mass timber as both a construction material and a more sustainable and appropriate local way to build. Working, once again, directly with Kiel Moe, the 5th-years have been challenged to build a functional, dignified, and beautiful bathroom facility out of wood, while dealing with the associated need for the management of water, humidity, and ventilation.

A shared bathhouse (and more) that tackles how to make mass timber work well in a warm, damp environment
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drawing of construction process

18×18 House

  • Overview

    Info

    Newbern, AL
    2023
    5th-Year Project
    Residential

  • Project Team

    Jake Buell, Julie DiDeo, Meagan Mitchell, Naomi Tony-Alabi

The 18×18 House aims to fulfill the need for a small, adaptable, multistory house in both urban and rural settings. The dimensions and name—18’ x 18’—come from the size of two parking spaces,as some cities are negotiating with developers to swap out parking spaces in exchange for housing units that are affordable.

A small-footprint house that addresses limited buildable space for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and housing that is affordable
In rural areas, such a small house can be built on family properties that may not have usable space for a larger home. Rural properties often have obstacles such as standing ground water, septic fields, power lines, or abandoned homes that can drastically reduce the buildable footprint.
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Patriece's Home at dusk with house lights on

Patriece’s Home

  • Overview

    Info

    Newbern, AL
    2022
    5th-Year Project
    Residential

  • Project Team

    Adam Davis, Daniel Burton, Laurel Holloway, Lauren Lovell

Patriece’s Home design is focused on providing more space for varying and multi-generational families in a small footprint. Often in rural areas, like Hale County, one family will live in the same home for many generations. This design offers opportunities and challenges for the home to adapt as the number of occupants and their relationships change. Although the home is designed to be adaptable, the goal for future users is to be able to modify the space without significant alterations or additions to the interior rooms. In this design, the interior of the home expands upward rather than outward, decreasing the overall cost per square footage.

“A two-story home that can adapt as its occupancy changes.”

This project also explores the use of an attic truss for occupying the roof and the option of separating the home into two independent living units, a potential for a second source of income. Because homes are such an important asset to a rural homeowner, this project seeks to optimize how the home can be used as generations of residents and their circumstances change.

So what all can the stair can do for a home besides providing circulation between the two stories? The team has found the stair to be an excellent tool for creating a threshold and sound barrier between units while also providing storage and hosting social interaction. The stair is also useful for natural ventilation as well as pushing light deeper into the home.

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