It has been a rollercoaster, but the end is here! The Horseshoe Courtyard team is departing and is officially handing over the beautiful, outdoor space to Project Horseshoe Farm!
The last two weeks of site work were a mad dash to wrap up all things. During this time the team poured the concrete for the final sidewalk, spread the last four tons of slate, finished the brick pad, completed electrical, installed the flashing for the porch, and finally cleaned up the site. Whew!
“The team is incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have worked on this amazing project and for all the help and support that it received from the university, the Studio, our friends from the other teams, the community, and the client over the last year to finish!” ─ Caleb & Claudia
As the finish line for the Courtyard nears, the team has checked off many things on the to-do list, scroll down to see what they have been up to!
Capping the Wall
After many drill bits and muscle power, the team successfully attached the galvanized channel to the concrete wall! Thanks, Horseshoe Farm Fellow, Mary for your assistance! This channel not only makes the top of the wall look finished, it serves as a connection to the soon-to-be-installed gate. The gate will be anchored and grouted to the concrete foundation below ground, and then bolted to the channel at the top.
Wrapping the porch
Meanwhile, the gypsum board went up on the south porch and was shortly treated to a fresh coat of paint.
It’s Been Said That “Slate is Great”
The ground surfaces on the south end of the site were finished one early morning in June. Thanks to the help of the whole studio and some Horseshoe Farm Fellows, both the “trail mix,” meaning the bottom layer of the slate; and the “mini-chips,” the top layer were spread and tamped down by 9:00 a.m.!
Electrical in the ground and on walls and screens
Before the final layer of slate could go down, some electrical work needed to be finished. The team roughed in all conduit work in the ground and poured concrete columns along the west wall. These concrete columns held junction boxes in place for lights and kept the cover above ground to avoid water issues down the road. The ground work also included running conduit to two of the benches for electrical outlets, as well as attaching junction boxes to the screens for the lights that will light the active space.
From the junction boxes seen in the image above, EMT conduit ran parallel to the screens, and onto channels that cantilever from the screens and hold lights in place. While the team laid all the conduit work in place, they worked with a licensed electrician for the wiring of the lights and outlets.
Finishing the Benches
Once the metal legs for the benches were grouted, the sanded, routed, and sealed eight-inch square heavy timber pieces were secured to the legs.
The Horseshoe Courtyard project team is putting the final touches on the amazing outdoor space! Recently, they’ve poured the concrete entry wall, completed the brick pad, and began prepping the timber benches.
A couple of weeks ago, the tallest pour the courtyard team has ever done took place! In preparation for the pour, they carefully assembled all the formwork and secured all the bracing. This bracing prevents the formwork from bulging once the concrete is placed into the formwork. An thus, a 9′ x 5′ 10″ wall came to fruition! The team used the same techniques tested with the mock-up for the wall. The only differences from the trial run being the rebar reinforcement and the chamfered edges. The 5th-years, as well as Andrew and Steve, helped by filling ad passing buckets of concrete to the top of the wall formwork. Thanks bucket brigade!
You may remember from the previous post, talk of benches and installations of the legs. Well, here we’ve got the sitting surfaces. The team is using heavy timbers leftover from the Newbern Town Hall project as the bench surface. In the images above, Caleb and Claudia are cutting the wood to 6 ft length which will be sanded, routed, and sealed. Next, they will attach the timber to the quarter-inch plates that make up the structure of the legs. During this time, they also excavated and poured the footing for the last bench!
The Completed Puzzle!
Folks, it is time to cut a rug on the best dance floor in Greensboro! After many, many days working on the brick pad, all bricks have been cleaned, placed, leveled, and sanded!
After placing all the bricks, the team removed the temporary wooden edging. Next, they installed the quarter-inch, galvanized steel edging. Some of the off-the-shelf pieces needed length modification so the team cut and welded them on-site.
After securing a corner at the right level, the team installed the first 16′ piece of metal edging. They adjusted the following legths to alighn with the first piece. The metal was clamped together and staked in placemet at the corners. Scrap wood was used to keep the edging flush against the bricks until backfilled. After all the edging was in place the bricks along the edge were readjusted.
Construction at the courtyard is coming to a close so make sure to stay updated as it nears completion!
Who said there is such a thing as, “too much concrete”? Definitely not the Horseshoe Courtyard Project team! In the last two weeks, Caleb, Claudia, and the 5th year and Graduate Student helpers poured concrete for the sidewalk extension, wall footing, and the wall mock-up. Oh, the wall? It’s made of concrete. Let’s see how they do it!
In one action-packed afternoon, the team poured the concrete sidewalk extension and the footing for the 9′ concrete entry wall. Both are located at the north end of the courtyard site. Special formwork was made to help keep the footing rebar in place. This rebar extends out of the footing and will be cast inside the wall. Special attention was also paid to the sidewalk extension by giving it a broom finish.
Mock-up # 13: The Concrete Wall
Next up, the thirteenth mock-up. This mock-up tested the finished quality of the concrete for the 9′ wall. The team experimented with how much the concrete needed to be vibrated to create a smooth surface and where to locate seams. It was also important to practice the overall process of making out-of-ground formwork and pouring into it.
Due to the dimensions of a single melamine sheet, a wood composite board with a plastic coating, no single sheet will cover the whole face of the concrete wall. Therefore a couple of options were tested using two, 2′ x 2′ panels. Each panel face tested a different option; single sheet, horizontal seam, vertical seam, and a combination of the two. Silicon sealed the joints and corners and liquid nails connected the different segments of the melamine board together. Once the concrete cured and the forms removed, the team decided horizontal seam would be best.
Only the Corner Left
After removing the formwork for the recent sidewalk extension, the last flat screen on the east side was ready for filling. Caleb, Claudia, and TMBV team members planted three more vines, weaved the rope through, and fastened the corresponding steel cables. The corner screen will be finished, once the concrete sidewalk is fully extended, to avoid trampling the plants in the process.
Spring is Upon Us
In the last couple of weeks, the courtyard has seen new colors pop up! The Carolina Jessamine or Gelsemium sempervirens, one of the two vines planted have started to bud. This week, almost all twenty of the Jessamines have bloomed or have buds that will bloom in the coming days. This beautiful vine blooms twice a year, in the fall and spring; and complements the fragrant white blooms of the Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), which will make their appearance in a few weeks!
Benches Coming Together
During Neckdown Week, the team and helpers dug and poured two of the concrete footings for the benches. And last week, the corresponding metal legs for the benches were installed. The team hammer-drilled into the concrete and epoxied the threaded rods into place. The base of the benches will be grouted to the concrete at the correct level once the third bench footing has been poured and hammer-drilled. The benches’ sitting surface consists of two eight-inch square heavy timber cypress, leftover from the Newbern Town Hall project, which will provide durability as well as comfort for the user.
Finally, the end of the walkway is complete! A new quarter-inch plate was installed into the masonry wall to support the northernmost railing. The process for the installation of the plate was the same as the plates which support the walkway. The main difference being the middle two anchors that extended past the wall plate and attached to the railing aligned with the other railing frame connection point. The corner piece, while singular in its function, follows the same language and rhythm as the rest of the metal. And maintains the two-inch gap in both its connection to the last railing and to the existing ones.
Exciting times at the Horseshoe Courtyard, after cleaning nearly 4,000 bricks, the brick pad is finally coming to life! The team and their helpers began laying bricks to create an intricate, hard surface in the main courtyard space.
First, the team made a wooden frame of 2″x 6″ lumber staked into the ground which created a perimeter. This perimeter frame acted as a tray for the sand, which built up underneath the bricks. The sand is tamped and leveled, creating an even surface on which to lay the bricks. Also, the frame acts as a guide, keeping the entire pad square.
A Puzzling Pattern
After filling small sections of the frame with leveled, tamped sand the bricklaying begins. The team chose a basket weave pattern for the brick pad. However, it was not until all the bricks were cleaned and sorted that the team understood the variety of shades and sizes of the material. How these different bricks filled the pattern added another layer of complexity. The basketweave pattern is made-up of “squares” which contain eight specific bricks of different colors, sizes, and textures.
So, within the designed pattern, the most important rules were aligning the outer edges of the “squares”, keeping gaps between bricks small, and leveling the bricks to the height of the neighboring concrete. Seen above is the final pattern which contains red, brown, burgundy, orange, and grooved bricks. Some are large, some are small, but together they create a dynamic pattern.
As the brick pad kept growing, Dr.Dorsey would stop by and test out the future dance floor. However, when he didn’t dance away quick enough, the Horseshoe Courtyard team put him to work spreading out sand between the finished bricks!
Once the brick pad is complete, metal edging will keep the bricks in place. As mentioned earlier, the brick pad surface will be level to the concrete for seamless access to the main courtyard space. The brick pad is crucial to the flexibility of the courtyard design, giving a hard surface for outdoor activies such as Dr. Dorsey’s dancing.
Time for a throwback! Recently, the team picked up the last of their fabricated metal pieces. This included the railing, grinder pump cover, and bench legs. They took all these pieces to be galvanized, after some on-site welding on the grinder pump cover. Keep checking in to see the Horseshoe Courtyard Project continue to transform.