AuburnRuralStudio

That’s a Wrap

Our spring 2021 3rd-year students finished off their time at Rural Studio with a bang! The last couple of months in Hale flew on by, taking nine students away with them.

History Class

As the semester wrapped up, so did the seminar with their professor, Dick Hudgens. Students toured a few more pre-civil-war homes and Dick held final reviews for the students’ work. Out on the Spencer House front porch, each member of the class presented three months’ worth of sketches from house tours, watercolor work, and historic housing “Design Problems.” Thanks to Ian Crawford for attending the review and providing his wise-as-ever advice and expertise!

Shop Class

Students worked diligently until the very last hour, oiling and installing cabinets. Plywood cabinets finished with tung oil and paste wax were designed and built this semester for the following spaces in Ophelia’s new home: the kitchen, nook, utility room, bathroom, and bedroom. That’s a lot of cabinets! Nineteen, to be exact.

Cabinets are nearly ready for use!

Yes, they also built a house!

During the past few months, a lot happened at Ophelia’s Home. The remaining pieces of ZIP System sheathing were nailed into place by the Enclosures Team; Ashley, Juyeon, and Logan. Then windows, doors, and joints were meticulously taped.

After Ophelia chose a siding color—burgundy—the team got to work installing the corrugated metal cladding. By the end of the semester, these three students of the Enclosures Team were mastered cutting and installing metal panels.

a group of people gather to watch a woman present some color options
Pick a color, any color.

Remember those funky exterior design charrettes? The ones considering tricks-of-the-eye and optical illusions? Well, those design discussions came to fruition during siding installation. The metal corrugation runs in two directions, which helps enhance a new proportion on the front faces while disrupting the front corner of the house.

a view of a burgundy house in a big yard with a green-colored house in the background
Where does the porch wall terminate? You may never know.

The MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) Team—James, Kirby, and Wendy—spent their days putting together the many parts and pieces that give a house running water and power. These three students installed the entire MEP system for Ophelia’s Home from scratch! Because there’s so much that goes into these systems, they spent a whole lot of time driving to Lowe’s and back… and to Lowe’s and back again.

two students load a cart with pvc pipe in a hardware store
Gotta have plenty of pipe

While MEP and Enclosures Teams were working away, the Interiors/Rough Framing Team–Austin, Drew Haley, and Sadie–was steadily constructing the back stoop and front entrance to the house. They also put the finishing touches on the inside of the house. First, they tackled the back stoop: digging holes for three posts, constructing a platform, decking the platform, and building the stairs.

a set of wooden stairs lead to the door of a partially-clad house
Dang, that’s a nice lookin’ stoop.

The team then moved inside and recruited help from members of the MEP Team to paint the walls and ceiling and install laminate flooring.

a woman kneels over flooring boards while she hammers the pieces together
Tap, tap, tap

For Ophelia’s front entrance, this team built the formwork for and poured the concrete ramp! Many thanks are due to Andrew and Steve for helping with the ramp’s design and construction.

Ophelia’s Home: All Ramped Up

Pig Roast

The semester concluded with an “in-house” celebration of the Studio and the incredible body of work accomplished this year. We’ll miss these students dearly, and hope they return to Hale again soon (5th-year, perhaps?). Once a part of Rural Studio, always a part of Rural Studio.

Bye for now!

Week 4: When Hale Froze Over

Hello Again from the 3rd-Year students at Rural Studio!

This year, instead of a Spring Break, Auburn University included “Wellness Days” over the course of the semester. These Wellness Days give students a mental break in the middle of the week. Coincidentally, this weeks’ Wellness Day number brought snow! Although it was only a dusting, the students were able to bear the frigid temperatures to enjoy the rarity of deep south snow. Enjoy these pictures from around Newbern!

Ophelia’s Home

After an enjoyed Wellness Day, the 3rd-Year students kicked it into high gear on site. The interiors team stud framed and prepped most of the interior walls.

Picture showing the interior progress of Ophelia's home
The Interior Walls Framed and in Place

The only thing left to frame is the soffit, which will divide the public and private spaces within the home. The soffit is basically an extended door header. It will span the length of the house, creating enough separation in the nook from the living space, while also separating the utility room from the entry.

History Class

Due to rainy weather, the 3rd-Year students worked in-house on a design problem for history class. These problems encourage critical thinking and designing in a way that matches the era of the structures the class regularly tours. Recently, the students were tasked with illustrating the process of constructing a homestead.

Firstly, they imagined picking a site. This took into consideration water sources, sun, prevailing winds, available building materials, and site conditions that will help keep the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Next, plans, sections, and perspectives were composed in a storyboard format to tell the story of an imagined family and their homestead. We were limited to the tools and construction techniques that were used through 1810 to 1819.

Shop Class

The 3rd-Years are in the beginning stages of designing all of the millwork for Ophelia’s home. They researched and studied the designs from previous semesters. This provided a great starting point, but they have added accessibility to the cabinet design. The 3rd-Years have been challenged to think critically about the design so far and also to place household objects in the cabinets to truly understand the sizes and placement.

Third-Year Sign-off

Thanks again for reading Ophelia’s Home Project team blog! We hope you enjoy the update. Keep it real and stay healthy.

-Wendy, Sadie, Logan, Drew Haley, Austin, James, Juyeon, Ashley, and Kirby