designbuild

We’re Still Here!

Hello! We, the 3rd-year students, are back (again). We have returned from spring break well rested, newly tan, and ready to work! Since our last blog, we’ve been very busy working on site and in our other classes and are excited to share more about our time here at Rural Studio. 

Now you know what we look like!

Live From Site

Since our last update, we have made steady and significant progress on the construction of Rosie’s Home. We finally finished the rafters and tied down and bracketed everything that we could. Trust me, we checked. Before we left for break we were able to put up the first set of roof sheathing, which was exciting as it was our first major visual change to the home. Soon we will be working on the gable ends and how we can work more natural lighting into the project. 

Some days Rosie’s cats will come hangout on our wood piles and some days we wish we could take a nap just like them.

Shh! she’s sleeping

Studio Happenings

In the Studio, we are continuing our research and exploration of the front porch design. We took our early work and developed a series of mock-ups for a “long-term” hand rendering drawing of our selected porch. These types of drawings have historically been done in past studios and we are very excited to contribute to that “legacy.” Recently, we had a charrette outside of Red Barn to start early designs of Rosie’s porch and the surround area. This was new for some of us and was high productive but also a fun experience.

We also spent some time building our own drafting boards, since we don’t have our own, I know I know the new wave is so lame.

I wonder what this ancient technology was used for…

Wood Shop Could Shop Wood 

Continuing from where we left off, we have made significant strides in the design and construction of Rosie’s cabinet system. We have been working to create a more “complete” set of drawings so that we can construct a mock-up cabinet for review as well as eventually build the finished system for installation. Through reviews and research, we were able to learn about last semester’s cabinets and combine them with our own ideas to reach a compromised design.

Decisions Decisions

History In The Making 

Since we last spoke, we have visited five houses and produced four water colors, using our custom dyes, for our history class. These field trips included visits to Magnolia Grove in Greensboro, Jemison Mansion in Tuscaloosa, and The Gaineswood Mansion in Demopolis. The last of which was where we encountered a scary doll. Spooky. At each home we were tasked with two sketches, utilizing the magic proportions trick, brought to you by Dick Hudgens, and line weighting to try and get as close as possible to a realistic but quick drawing of the building.

On The Outside

Outside of our busy days working and building and just being fun and interesting people, we like to spend our time playing pickleball with the 5th-year students, who we always beat, and visiting the Wayside Bakery to get a nice snack.

Getting a quick W, what can I say

Until Next Time 

We have had a blast here in Newbern so far and can’t wait to see what we’ll get up to next, hopefully all good things. The flowers are blooming and the sun is out so we have high hopes for the rest of the semester!

Until then, the 3rd-year students  

We come in peace!

In the Walls & On the Roof!

A perspective view of the back of the house shows a row of scaffolding at the base of the roof and rectangles of insulation stacked halfway up the roof deck.

A new year and a reinvigorated energy for the Patriece’s Home team! In 2023, the home will all come together! The team was so eager to get back to work, they settled back into Hale County weeks before the semester started.

Plus, their insulation arrived. Thanks to a generous donation from Rockwool, Patriece’s Home, Rosie’s Home, and the C.H.O.I.C.E House will be filled with Rockwool fire and sound-proof insulation. These products are made from basalt rocks that have been melted down and whipped like cotton candy, and provide a more healthful insulation alternative. 

Because the trusses on Patreice’s Home are designed for 5 1/2” of spray foam insulation, the team developed a strategy to use 4 inches of Rockwool Comfortboard 110 on the exterior of the roof deck and Comfortbatt on the interior of the roof deck to achieve the necessary insulation R value. They also drilled holes in the roof purlins of the six-foot gap between the trusses so that vapor can diffuse across the underside of the roof deck through the port in the ridge. Thank you, Rural Studio 5th-,years for helping install interior insulation! The team edited the eave and rake details for this change and once the comfort board was stacked on the roof, they covered it in a waterproof plastic, purlins to screw the roof metal into and sandwiched all the layers together with 7” screw into the attic trusses! 

After the insulation was secure, the team finished placing the corrugated ash grey roof metal on the house in one afternoon! The first finish layer of the home is complete! 

Before they finish the other side of the roof, the team is going to duct three rooms upstairs to whirly bird vents on the roof to help ventilate the home in the hot Alabama summers. The students will have to drill though all layers of the roof sandwich and built hatches to the ducts, which can be closed in the winter and opened when it heats up. Team member Daniel built a mockup of the hatches and the team had another detail design meeting with their consultant Dan Wheeler!

Adam and Laurel also ran around the house installing an exterior hose bib, the hot water heater, and the shower controls to finally finish the plumbing. They installed two ERVs—one for each unit in the dividable home—to circulate fresh air and installed ducts the bathroom fans and kitchen range hood They cut the ZIP below the tall windows to secure the home’s through-wall unit sleeves.

Meanwhile, Lauren and Daniel have been tangled in the wires! Boxes were placed, holes drilled, and wire pulled to electrify the whole home. The electrical system is designed on two breaker boxes; when the home is devised into two units, the second unit can be hooked up to a second preinstalled meter box. These little details are part of the team’s adaptable design to allow the home to flex with as little effort as possible. Rural Studio’s own Mason Hinton helped them design and test the circuits and hook them up to the breakers and meter box outside. The team is also installing conduit to a low voltage box inside, so if the homeowner decides to change their internet or cable television service provider, the new cables can easily be routed into the home. 

With the last of the roof metal coming soon and final checks on the guts of house’s walls being done, we’re all ready to see this space filled with insulation and transformed by drywall! Read Patriece’s Home’s blog next time to see their spring progress in Greensboro!

I’m Floored

It’s been a minute since you’ve heard from the Patriece’s Home team.

We last left them in the middle of their window installation, and since then they’ve finished! The fenestrations definitely gave the home its facial features and the wonderful Pella-donated windows filled the interior with beautiful light. 

The team also installed the Pella-donated exterior doors. The doors have integrated windows to give the home even more exterior daylight and now the team can lock up the house when they leave for the day. 

With such lovely natural light, the team met with designer Thomas Paterson of Lux Populi again to finalize a complementary artificial lighting plan. The group selected fixtures and bulbs that won’t attempt to replicate daytime light but give a different type of warm cast and task light for differing interior program.

With the stairs complete, it was easier for the team to bring tongue-and-groove plywood to lay the subfloor within their attic truss. 

Once the subfloor was complete, the team could then finally finish their interior framing! The upstairs rooms have taken shape, and the team got very excited about the possibilities for flexible room at the top of the stairs. 

They also put half-inch plywood along the interior walls of the stairs to later attach a durable layer of tongue-and-groove cypress boards. With a surface to cast light on, the team got even more excited about the exterior light from the windows at the top and bottom of the stairs. 

With all the walls established, the group began looking toward wall fillers in preparation to enclose them with drywall (and with endless miscellaneous blocking). 

We enjoyed installing the downstairs shower and upstairs bathtub base. From there, the team began fitting together the PVC drain, water, and vent system to the stub outs connections from the main drain in the concrete slab. 

With the chunky PCV filling the walls, the group began routing flexible PEX tubing through the house. These water supply lines connect to their various fixture stub outs in the bathrooms and kitchen. 

Then it was time for electrical boxes and outlets to find their place in the wall. With the supervision of some expert help, the team installed the two electrical units. These separate outlet boxes offer the opportunity for power to be individually accessed and maintained. With all the wire strung, the house is ready to be plugged into the meter on the temporary power pole outside. Just like decorating for the holidays. We might as well: the house is already green. 

Speaking of holidays, Soup Roast snuck up on the team so fast! The four tidied up for the visitors and started the special day’s project tour with a quick presentation of their home. The crowd got to wander around the home. It’s safe to say it was well received! 

The team has a lot to be thankful for in their second holiday season at Rural Studio. The opportunity to build, the wonderful community that supports them, delicious food, and a home now ready for insulation and drywall! Check back here in the new year for more big updates on Patriece’s Home!

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! 

Make A List, Check It Twice

Welcome to Summer in blazing Hale County, Alabama! The heat and humidity have set in and the team is hard at work preparing to break ground. Before we can start, we have a few things to smooth out: details, deconstruction, and a mock-up. 

The next steps are to begin expanding the current foundation footings and replacing the columns. First, we will need to deconstruct some of the pavilion as it currently stands. In order to understand the deconstruction/reconstruction process better, we have created a storyboard of the process, sketching out each step, while also showing where each piece of equipment will be on site at each stage.

students working
The team sketching out the construction process

In preparation, we have been regularly meeting with our structural engineer, Joe Farruggia, to finalize structure calculations. We also recently met with JAS Design Build (Seattle, WA) to get feedback on the framing model that we have been utilizing to understand the process of framing our structure and had a visit from architect Dan Wheeler (Chicago, IL).

Meeting with the JAS Design Build team about framing strategies

JAS Design Build’s team confirmed that we are on the right track and offered some suggestions on how to manage a cantilever using lookouts that extend out to help reach the “knife’s blade edge” detail. Meanwhile, Dan challenged us to study how the steel skirt at the base of the column will come together and how the lighting design of the base relates to the overall concept.

Reviewing designs with Dan Wheeler

Soon we will construct a large-scale mock-up (which is a right-of-passage here at Rural Studio) that helps the team practice details at a one-to-one scale. We have begun to finalize the details of the finished roof and ceiling materials. The mock-up gives us an opportunity to test the metal and new details, while also practicing pouring concrete footings, building a column, and testing lighting.

Tune back in next time for an update from the team. Until then, stay hydrated, it’s hot out here!