Soup Roast is Rural Studio’s final review and celebration for the completion of the fall semester. Every year, each team presents their work to a panel of reviewers made up of faculty and visiting architects. After tons of great design feedback, everyone ends the day with a celebratory soup dinner! Let’s look at what the C.H.O.I.C.E. House team did to prepare.
During the weeks leading up to Soup Roast, we continued to design the form of the shelter units, paying special attention to how light will enter the consolidated core. When aggregated, these units will connect along their long sides, meaning there can only be light coming in from the two short ends. This may be fine for the two end spaces, but the core is left void of natural light. Our solution is to design a roof monitor, which is a separate piece that can be attached to the top of each unit and allow light to enter the core.
The roof monitor will be small enough to prefabricate, but large enough to give the units some extra height and presence from the exterior while also creating tall, bright, and inhabitable spaces on the interior.
On the day of Soup Roast, we presented to the panel of reviewers, including Kim Clements, Joe Schneider, and Nicole Abercrombie of JAS Design Build and Jake LaBarre of BuildingWork, all from Seattle, WA, as well as Auburn CADC faculty, David Hinson, Rusty Smith, Mackenzie Stagg, and Betsy Farrell Garcia. We were given great feedback on the roof monitor, and about how to better marry the modular function of the unit to the overall form of the aggregation.
The team ended their week by presenting their work to the C.H.O.I.C.E. board of directors and other team members. It was great to have the chance to meet with the client again, and everyone left the meeting full of excitement about the future of the project!
After a soup-er week, we are ready to let the new ideas simmer over the break. But don’t worry, we’ll be back in January and working again at full boil!
Hello from the Moundville Pavilion team! We have been busy in design mode since our last blog post. After taking the feedback from Halloween Reviews, we took a step back to assess what we have learned thus far. Doing so helped us to develop our design goals for the site: utilizing the existing site elements; incorporating a sense of discovery; and creating a unique place for park users.
We have chosen several areas to focus our design including: an aperture through the pavilion roof; a raised platform; a ground surface; plantings; a fire pit; and a cooking space. Identifying certain activities allowed us to quickly charrette various design schemes for the function of the pavilion.
During these past few weeks, the team has also been meeting with a number of consultants to get some fresh eyes on our new iterations and help us practice presenting our narrative including Amanda Loper of David Baker Architects and our very own professors Emily McGlohn and Chelsea Elcott. In conjunction with the design work, we also met THE Joe Farruggia, (Rural Studio’s structural engineer) who gave us a structural design workshop and helped us develop a plan for the current conditions of the pavilion.
Following the holiday season, Myers’ Home team returned to Newbern. After the annual Spring semester Neckdown week, the students took a look back at the projects’ goals and methods. What is Myers’ Home Project achieving through design and how can it be brought to life?
Above all, Myers’ Home design aims to serve a family over generations by providing means of expansion within a protected shell. The team is also prioritizing material efficiency, buildability, and affordability as they evaluate how to build.
Originally, Myers’ Home implemented a post-frame structural system to create the protective shell essential to generational flexibility. The post-frame method is a simple structure – poles embedded in the ground or a footing with trusses and a simple roof system spanning between. However, the team needed to change aspects of the structural system for it to become sturdy enough for a longlasting, enclosed home.
To achieve the desired decade-spanning design, the team customized the poles, trusses, and roofing. The poles were set in above-ground brackets rather than driven into the soil, bolstering longevity. The trusses had become inherently more complex with the addition of an attic. And, the roof system was designed in layers for thermal comfort and durability.
Subsequently, the team diagramed the whole process of construction to understand efficiency and method. As seen above, the team mapped out each step and considered the building timeline implications. As the team reflected on the more complex system and the steps to build, they reached a new conclusion. Post-frame is a fabulous typology, however, it isn’t what Myers’ Home needs.
A New Structure Ahead
But it’s not all over, in fact, it’s just begun! The four students made a quick turn, forget whiplash, and are on their way to Stud Framing City.
Most importantly, the new method is, for the enclosed attic home, quicker than the original post-frame system to build. Scrapping the footings and columns, the home sits on a simple turndown slab allowing the stud walls to be quickly erected on top. Furthermore, and in line with the previous concept of the flexible model home, the only interior walls are for the home’s core.
Also, a quick maneuver with the trusses is underway! The new truss has the same pitch but the entire porch segment is sliced off, creating a heal. A heel? That’s right, and they aren’t talking about feet.
Without the rafters or posts to dictate its volume, the porch can boldly go where no porch has gone before. In short, the porch is now free from the overall structure of the home. Now, there is no part of the integral structure which breaks the enclosed protective shell. The porch is no longer a weak point for the generational home. This is more in line with the intentions and goals of the design.
The team is certainly enthusiastic about the new porch design challenge. The porch could touch the house lightly, tie in with a separate system, or stand entirely independent of the home structure. With all these options, the team is narrowing their infinity to perhaps a universe or two.
To inform the porch, the house must begin to speak a language. But what part speaks? Some might say it’s the details that do all the talking. The team dove into drawing details to determine which voice should be heard loudest and followed.
And that’s where they are now, up in Red Barn drawing details, details, details. 1:1, markers-on-the-floor, shred-‘em-‘til-they’re-right details. They’ve run all around Newbern looking at past projects and local precedents for inspiration. Research in your own backyard!
So keep an eye out, these four can’t wait to show you their corners.
The end of the semester was a hustle and last hoorah for the fall semester 3rd-Year team. The students were sentimental (and maybe a little stressed) as they finished projects, and assignments and prepared to showcase their semester in one final review. And even though it felt like it was never going to happen, they got to start building a house!!
When it came time for the pour, excitement filled the air as the concrete truck back into Ophelia’s driveway. One full day of pushing and pulling and shoveling and smoothing with just about all the strength the students had to give. The 3rd-Years then drilled into the concrete footing to place and grout vertical rebar.
When the block layers came, everything went off without a hitch! The 3rd-Years got to watch the masters at work, and even help on occasion. Finally, the students then filled the allotted cells of the CMU wall with concrete and placed anchor bolts for next semester to bolt the sill on the foundation wall. And of course, cleaning up the site all along the way.
Oh, and the quilt, the magnificent quilt. The student’s final block iterations were sewn together, a quilt back was made with extra material from the naturally dyed fabric and a layer of cotton and polyester batting (yes kind of like insulation) was sandwiched between the sewn top and bottom.
The students then basted the sandwich (quick, temporary seams) and made a PVC Pipe frame to hold all the layers together while each student intricately “quilted” area of their own block together to make one cohesive blanket. A border was made and all 13 of the students sat around the Morrisette dining table to whip stitch the edges of the quilt closed, while watching The Grinch and drinking hot chocolate. :,)
The last class for the 3rd-Year’s History elective as a day long trip to Columbus, MS. The students ended like they began, seeing and sketching the southern vernacular with their wise captain, Dick Hudgens. They were then left to their own devises to finish their final watercolors, and they all, miraculously, finished! The pieces illustrated what the 3rd-years had learned about composition, color, fine water coloring techniques, and the influence of classical design on historic Montgomery homes. The works were displayed in the Morrissette House during the annual Soup Roast, as tradition holds.
Soup Roast bookended the fall semester 3rd-Years’ time at Rural Studio. They got to take one last tour around Hale County to see the amazing 5th-years, graduate students, and leftovers projects. Then, the finally of Soup Roast, the 3rd-Year’s presentation!
The students got feedback from their reviewers about their mechanical exhaust ventilation crawl space foundation (yup that’s a mouthful) and how they approached multiple residents moving into the product line homes. The 3rd-Years presented their ¼ bedroom or “nook” design in Joanne’s modified home through a built mock-up out of 2×6’s and pin up boards, so everyone could see and experience what the space will feel like.
Also, the final quilt was revealed! The students explained the premise of the class and had a conversation with the crowd about how this unconventional representation method expands our understanding of a project, the process of design, and cultivated empathy, in this case with Ophelia. The parade of students, architects, parents, teachers and friends then walked to the project site for Ophelia’s 20K too see the physical progress so far and meet Ophelia! The 13 3rd-Years returned to the site the next day to say goodbye and present her with the final quilt (she was surprised and very grateful).
The next day, the students packed up the pods, said goodbye to Chastity the mouse and Cupcake the possum, then drove/ flew across the globe to get home, but left with a lot of love in their hearts for Hale County and each other. The fall students felt the honor of borrowing Rural Studio and Newbern as their home for 3 ½ months. For that, they will be forever thankful. Now Ophelia’s 20K is handed over to the spring semester students!