charrette

Somewhere Under The Rainbow

After they pushed through “Neckdowns,” passed workshop season, and survived project selection, the new 5th-year teams are here and ready for their debut!

*Cue drumroll*

Hello from the C.H.O.I.C.E. House team!

team sitting together outside
Davis Benfer (Jacksonville, FL), Yi Xuan (Raymond) Teo (Singapore), AC Priest (Saltillo, MS), & Hailey Osborne (Ashburn, VA)

The team has been working hard these past few weeks to begin the design process of two emergency housing units in Uniontown, AL, alongside their community partner, C.H.O.I.C.E. Each unit is meant for thirty-day stays and will support C.H.O.I.C.E.’s rapid rehousing initiatives. To kick it off, the team met on site with the executive director of C.H.O.I.C.E. and the driving force behind the project, Emefa Butler.

team meets with client

She happily discussed her visions and goals of the project with the team to give them a better understanding of how to emergency housing can best serve the organization. With all the new information, the team immediately started to dive into design work with a goal of making sure the housing units remain dignified and comfortable, even though they are meant for short stays.

diagram of components of a dignified dwelling

This team loves a good charrette as much as the next architect, so there was no better way for them to start getting ideas on paper. They produced drawings, lots of drawings. The team explored ideas for the individual units and began to think about how these units replicate on the same site or how they could be implemented in different contexts in the future.

After having some time to work with the project as a team, the first set of visitors came to review the team’s progress. Hank Koning and Julie Eizenberg, founders of Koning Eizenberg in Santa Monica, CA, helped the students work through a site design exercise to start thinking about how the units will connect to each other and the activities of the site.

team working on site plan for shelter units

Following the review from Hank and Julie, the team has been iterating on the site plans and continuing to push the design of the individual units.

That’s all for now!

Until next time, we’ll be somewhere under this rainbow!

double rainbow over red barn

Same Mounds, New Faces

Hello world, the Moundville Archaeological Park Pavilion project is back on with a few new faces!

Team members in front of presentation

Located along the Black Warrior River, the Moundville Archaeological Park is a Native American Heritage site that preserves 29 earthen mounds from over 800 years ago, that at its peak was one of America’s largest settlements north of Mexico. While the park currently operates as an active archaeological site, it remains open to the public for community gatherings and activities.

In 2018, the archaeological park approached Rural Studio about the need for an outdoor gathering space located in their campgrounds. The previous student team designed and began construction of the new pavilion but, due to the global pandemic, Auburn University had to halt construction and the project was put on hold until this fall. The new team of 5th-year students includes Brenton Smith (Dothan, AL), Caitlyn Biffle (Rogersville, AL), Collin Brown (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada), and Jackie Rosborough (Deerfield, IL). 

Individual polaroid photos of team

Collaborating with Anderson Inge

The first step in the project was to begin researching the previous team’s design and evaluate the structure’s current condition after being exposed to the elements for over a year. To get a more accurate representation of the structure, the Studio worked with Assistant Professor Danielle Wilkens from the Georgia Institute of Technology, perform a LiDAR scan. Together they created an exact 3D model of the current pavilion’s structure. We also met with structural engineer Anderson Inge from Anderson Inge Building Workshop via Zoom, who provided some general observations from his visit and answered questions from the team. From the LiDAR scan and Anderson’s notes and suggestions, an accurate physical model was also made to act as a tool in the design process.

Charretting with Emily Knox and David Hill

Professors David Hill and Emily Knox of Auburn University’s Landscape Architecture program led a workshop with the team that focused on the potential of utilizing the landscape in the design. This first meeting focused mainly on using groundcover and shrub layers of vegetation to define space, paths, and views in and around the site.

A Discussion with Hank and Julie

We also had a visit from Hank Koning and Julie Eizenberg of Koning Eizenberg Architects, who led us in a design charrette to highlight the possibility of rethinking the pavilion’s cladding. By building the model and working through some first design iterations, we left with more clarity in our understanding of the current structure and the potentials for the design moving forward.