Graduation in Greensboro

Although Auburn University postponed our 2020 Commencement Ceremony to August 8-9, we were still able to come together and celebrate our graduation in Greensboro. Our dear friend Tyler Webb, a local Physical Therapist, delivered a fantastic graduation speech on the fly and Jake gave out participation medals to commemorate our time at Rural Studio.

students on front porch

We are so grateful for all the time we’ve spent at Rural Studio and are excited to finally graduate and become alumni! The world feels very uncertain right now, but we’re glad we have one another to lean on.

It’s been a rough semester working around the difficulties of a world-wide pandemic, but we still have a lot to celebrate! We were able to create a wonderful relationship with our Hale County Hospital community partners, paint a beautiful mural in downtown Greensboro, create branding that the Hospital can use for years, and we are almost done with our project book!

students in front of trees

Thanks to all of our family and friends who helped us along the way, especially our fellow Auburn architecture classmates who have made the past five years survivable, incredible, and enjoyable.

“If you had fun, you won.”

Write, Read, Revise

We’ve been hard at work creating our project book. Although we miss working together in studio at Red Barn, we’ve been able to use a multitude of digital tools to make collaborating online successful. The first step in creating the book was discussing what information was important and necessary to include. We identified our audiences and made the decision to create two books that could be printed separately or together.

The first book is written for a broad audience, including people without any architecture or healthcare background. It explores the causes and consequences of rural healthcare’s decline and how Hale County Hospital has remained resilient and impactful in a rapidly changing world. The second book is intended for the next student team that will design and build Hale County Hospital a new courtyard. It explores the people, community, and work that made the project possible. It also documents our understanding of context, working as a team, and posing as landscape architects.

The next step in the book making process was writing a rough outline that detailed what topics to write about in order to explain our narrative. Then we made a Google Slide presentation to order the Chapters and Section as well as write out more detailed information.

slide presentation with notes

To make sure we were thinking “big-picture” we created mind maps on Mindomo to connect the non-linear ideas of the project. It was especially helpful when figuring out how to explain our design process for the courtyard.

While Jake created an InDesign template and developed graphic standards for the book, Ingrid, Nicole, and Kyra began the lengthy process of writing all of the text for the book. Once we finished writing all of the text, we sent it off to Nicole’s mother, Natalie Brown, to be proofread. Natalie has a Bachelor of Science in Education, specializing in secondary English, and a Master’s in Counseling. Her professional career included teaching and counseling for over twenty years, and she has been extremely helpful in editing our project book.

As for the layout of the book, Jake and Ingrid have been hard at work creating the spreads. We are including diagrams, images, architectural drawings, and highlighted texted throughout to add more layers of detail and understanding.

We printed off copies of the first rough draft and marked them up individually. Then we met as a team over Zoom to discuss. It took us two entire days to go through the edits all together, but the hard work was definitely worth it.

We’ll be spending the next couple of weeks creating some more diagrams, finding and inserting images into the InDesign layout, and making final edits. We look forward to sharing our final book with you soon!

From Build to Book

There have been a lot of changes since we all left for spring break a few weeks ago. Due to COVID-19 and safety concerns within our community, our project has been put on hold for a future student team to carry forward our research. Since we are no longer able to build Hale County Hospital a courtyard, we made the decision to document our research and design process through creating a book. The intent for the book is to serve as a resource for the next student team that will pick up the project as well as a case study example of how design can enhance rural hospitals in the United States.

Since Auburn University made the transition to remote learning after Spring Break, we have all been working from our homes in Greensboro. We have set up our home studios and are settling into our new stay at home routines.

student desk by window with plants
Nicole’s Desk
student desk in corner
Jake’s Desk
student desk by window
Ingrid’s Desk
student desk in kitchen
Kyra’s Desk

To stay on top of our work, we’ve been doing daily team Zoom calls. We really enjoy the virtual background feature, although some of us are not tech-savvy enough to figure it out.

Stay tuned as we continue to share updates and progress on our project book!

Design Build Dig

A few days ago, we (the Hale County Hospital Courtyard 2 team) transplanted the rose bushes from the planter-bed in the courtyard to the front of the hospital. It’s best to transplant rose bushes in the winter when they are dormant, so we wanted to get this task done before the weather got any warmer. Thanks to our previous conversations with Auburn’s Landscape Architecture Professors David Hill and Emily Knox, we had a step by step guide of the process. It was a long day of digging, but the final product looks great! Here’s what we did:

Step 1: Dig a 5′ diameter hole for each of the rose bushes. As a rule of thumb, the hole should be as large as the spread of the rose’s branches.

Step 2: Create a mound of dirt at the bottom of the hole and stomp on it to create a pedestal. This is necessary to make sure that water does not collect near the roses’ root ball and drown the plants.

Step 3: Dig out the rose bush from the planter bed. Be careful to dig far enough away from the root ball so that it does not get damaged.

Step 4: Tag the rose bush with tape so you remember which side faces north. Transport the rose bush in a wheelbarrow to the front of the hospital.

Step 5: Place the rose bush in the hole with the tagged side facing north and make sure the crown is at or above ground level. While covering the roots, tamp the soil around them to remove any air pockets. Mound a few inches of soil around the perimeter of the rose bush to create a reservoir for water.

Step 6: Notice how open the space under the trellis feels now that there is a larger view into the courtyard.

Step 7: Admire the fresh new appearance of Hale County Hospital!

Review, Rinse, and Repeat

Last semester, the presentations we gave about the project talked a lot about the history and context of Hale County Hospital Courtyard, explaining nearly all of our research. As we got further along in our design process, we realized that the research-oriented presentation was no longer effective in explaining our design intentions. So over the past couple of weeks, we’ve taken a step back to rework our presentation to form a clear and concise argument for the design.

The first step in our process was to write down everything we know about the project and draw connections between facts. We then categorized what we know into two main focuses: Hospital Resilience and Health & Wellness. From there, we created supporting arguments to back up these two focuses. During the entire process, we constantly questioned how all of our knowledge could be applied through design intentions.

The next step was to story board the presentation. We organized it around the two main focuses, ending on how our knowledge led to the design intentions of the project. The focus of Hospital Resilience is about maximizing the use of their facilities, courtyard maintenance, and expanding community outreach. The focus of Health & Wellness is that the project is designed for a variety of audiences and is a desirable place to work and heal.

After a few days of presentation work, we went back to the drawing board to sketch out some of our ideas.

We concluded the week with a review from Peter Landon, Founder and Principal of Landon Bone Baker Architects in Chicago. 3rd-year professor Emily McGlohn also joined us for the review. Most of our conversation with Peter and Emily centered around our design process and how to move the three schemes we presented further. Their feedback was very helpful and exactly what we needed at the end of a long week. Moving forward, we will continue making minor changes to the presentation, but will primarily work on advancing the three design schemes.