rs5thyears

Introducing… The Fabulous Pavilion

Braces, Splices, and Trusses, oh my!

The 5th-year students have been in Hale for a couple months working as a team of eight on two new projects: the Fabrication Pavilion and CLT Core House. Now we are excited to finally introduce you to the new 2023 Fabrication Pavilion team!

Polaroid photos of (left to right) Tatum DeBardeleben, Marcelo Aldrete, Anna Leach, and Laura Forrest

Tatum DeBardeleben is from Auburn, Alabama. She used to be an equestrian camp counselor and is a lover of wooden utensils.

Marcelo Aldrete comes all the way from Austin, Texas. He is a former builder of tiny homes and a proud bearded dragon dad.

Anna Leach is from Gadsden, Alabama. She loves twirling flaming batons and is an aquarium enthusiast.

Laura Forrest hails from Corner, Alabama. She has been a roller-skating carhop and has a cat who likes high-fiving.

Our Challenge

We have been challenged to pick up where the 2015 Fabrication Pavilion team left off. We will be renovating the structure so that it can continue to serve Rural Studio for years to come. This task includes making some structural repairs to the existing building, planning for an extension, and making changes to the layout of campus so that the Pavilion works as effectively as possible.

Workshopping It Out

Since August, we have had a variety of workshops to explore options for the Fabrication Pavilion with our guests. We began with site planning—balancing the need for student, faculty, and trailer parking with vehicle clearances and turnarounds for deliveries—along with determining the best placement for a new pole barn for storage on campus.

The team also did a story-poling exercise to test out different locations and sizes for possible additions to the Fabrication Pavilion.

Additionally, the entire class accompanied Frank Harmon and Dan Wheeler around Greensboro and Newbern for a sketching and watercolor workshop, with subjects ranging from Morrisette House to Marcelo’s own apartment to Andrew Freear’s wallet! This workshop focused on sketching as a tool for memory, study, and seeing.

Watercolor Perspective of the Great Hall at Morisette House by Tatum DeBardeleben
A beautiful day to watercolor

Under Repair

Under the instruction of our teachers and structural engineer, we have been constructing scaffolding and bracing for the Fabrication Pavilion’s columns. In the next week, we will begin repairing the columns by removing the original wooden blocking and replacing it with larger galvanized steel tubing.

Looks Like We Have Another Review on Our Hands

This past Friday, we got all dressed up for Halloween Reviews as the Scooby-Doo gang, complete with our own Fabrication Pavilion Mystery Machine. This review gave us much-needed insight into our schemes. We have been encouraged to look deeper into the possibilities of what the Fabrication Pavilion can become and to experiment further.

We’re looking forward to seeing how this space evolves from how it has functioned in the past to how it will aid students in Rural Studio’s future. If you would like to accompany us on that journey, check back in with our future blogs!

Do a Flip

You haven’t heard from the 18×18 House team in a while.

And they’ve been busy! Now officially “leftovers,” the squares graduated in early May, so everyone is feeling grown-up and very official. Pig Roast was a great chance for friends and family and visitors to catch up with the project, and for the team to explain the scheme of the house they were planning to build.

But then, everything changed…..AGAIN. Very recently, the 18×18 House was flipped on its head another time, with sleeping and bath on the ground floor and living and cooking elevated above. By cutting the third-story loft almost in half and extending it to the dormer, they found more usable space up there and vertical interest in the house. Now, the living room is below a balcony of sorts, and the loft has access to operable windows in the dormer. The team is pretty excited about making a double-height space happen in the living room, because the house now has a grand reveal when going up the main stairs.

section drawings

At the same time, the mock-up has begun! The squares got their first shovels in the ground and poured their backyard slab for their doghouse-sized version of the project. Next comes tiny framed walls, sheathing, and cladding. Getting started with work on site is just around the corner!

team with client

2023 Pig Roast

Another two-dayer is in the books! We started Pig Roast weekend on Friday, April 28, in the Project Horseshoe Farm Courtyard in Greensboro, AL. We began with a scrumptious meal, a collaboration between Mo Kitchen of The Stable and Sarah Cole of Abadir’s. The Stable provided tasty wraps, and Abadir’s the viabrant and zingy salads and sweet desserts, including their famous sprintime coconut cake. Sorry, Mo, the wraps were outstanding, but the Sarah’s flowers and petals visually stole the show, especially on the chopped greens and chickpeas AND the strawberry cobbler with lavender biscuits!

Seven alumni PechaKucha-style lectures followed the meal. Our speakers, spanning 12 years at Rural Studio:
• Mary Melissa Taddeo, ’12, Auburn, AL
• Chris Currie, ’10, San Antonio, TX
• Jamie Sartory, ’10, San Antonio, TX
• Evan Forrest, ’09, Chicago, IL
• Rob White, ’04, Nashville, TN
• Patrick Nelson, ’03, Birmingham, AL
• RaSheda Workman, ’00, Tuscaloosa, AL

And then . . . great music by Louis V to dance by.

On Saturday morning at 8:30, we gathered at Morrisette House to set out on our journey behind a Ford pick-up truck regaled in American and Auburn flags. The tour of projects included five in progress and several research initiatives, with a break in the middle back at Morrisette for a delicious lunch prepared by Rural Studio’s own Catherine Tabb and Doris Ward. Attendees heard the latest updates on the Front Porch Initiative from the team—Rusty Smith, Mackenzie Stagg, Betsy Farrell Garcia, & Christian Ayala—and toured and caught up on progress on Rural Studio Farm with Eric Ball. Emily McGlohn gave a rousing presentation on the new Wastewater project in Newbern.

Below is the rest of the rundown:

Projects presentations and clients
• C.H.O.I.C.E. House. 5th-year team of AC Priest, Davis Benfer, Hailey Osborne, and Yi Xuan (Raymond) Teo. Client: Emefa Butler of C.H.O.I.C.E. (CHOOSING to HELP OTHERS In our COMMUNITY EXCEL)
• Patriece’s Home. 5th-year team of Adam Davis, Daniel Burton, Laurel Holloway, and Lauren Lovell. Client: Patriece Gooden
• Rural Studio Bathhouse. 5th-year team of Carla Slabber, Ambar Ashraf, Ashley Wilson, and Logan Lee. Client: Morrisette Campus.
• 18×18 House. 5th-year team of Naomi Tony-Alabi, Jake Buell, Meagan Mitchell, and Julie DiDeo. Client: Detyrick King
• Rosie’s Home. Spring 3rd-year team of Canon McConnell, Trenton Williams, Junting Song, Finn Downes, and Lucas Henderson. Client Rosie and Frankie

Presentations of classes’ semester-long work
• History and Watercolor Class by Dick Hudgens
• Woodshop Class by Steve Long

We arrived back to Morrisette House for dinner led by Newbern’s fire trucks and the roasted pig! This year’s dinner and graduation ceremony was moved from Bodark Amphitheater to Morrisette House due to impending thunderstorms. (Thanks to our team for swiftly switching venue locations on the fly!) Saturday evening featured Newbern Mercantile’s famous fried catfish and barbecued pork—it is Pig Roast, after all—and all the sides (of course!), with everyone kicking back to live tunes, first from the young performers of the Blues School Graduate Band and then the stylings of Debbie Bond Blues Band featuring Debbie Bond, “Radiator” Rick, Earl “Guitar Williams, Marcus “Jukeman” Lee, and Jonathan Schwartz.

The ceremony introductions began with Joe Lee Hamilton, Hale County Commissioner; Ben Farrow, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and International Programs for Auburn University College of Architecture, Design and Construction; and Justin Miller, Head of Auburn University School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture.

It was our pleasure to honor special guests Melissa Foster Denney and Bobby Scott. We were delighted to have Frank Harmon from Frank Harmon Architects in Raleigh, NC, to give this year’s graduation speech. And it was with pride and sweet tears that we congratulated our graduating 5th-year students: Ambar Ashraf, Ashley Wilson, Carla Slabber, Jake Buell, Julie DiDeo, Logan Lee, Meagan Mitchell, Naomi Tony-Alabi. Huge congrats, folks: you poured your hearts into your work and earned those degrees!

As tradition requires, “Whiffle Dust” shot from the Spencer family’s cannon, and fireworks rose to their heights behind Morrisette House.

We couldn’t have Pig Roast without our outstanding local sponsors! We’d like to thank Alabama Power; BDA Farm; City Furniture; Greensboro Pie; Hale County Hospital; Harvest Select Catfish; NAPA Auto Parts; Parker Tire & Muffler; People’s Bank; Reynold’s Electric; Sweetbriar Tea & Coffee; Blue Shadows B&B; Dozier Hardware; Greensboro Depot; Holmstead Company; M&M Mustang; Newbern Mercantile; The Partridge Berry; Seale, Homes, Ryan, LLC; Stillwater Machine; the Smelley family; The Stable; Citizens Bank; Mosley Feed and Seed; Greensboro Nutrition; Superior Metal Works; Clary’s Country Market; Patrick Braxton; and Wood Fruitticher!

If you couldn’t get out here to Newbern this year, check out blog posts from each team here.

Thanks to everyone for your support! #WarEagle

A Site For Sore Eyes

The 18×18 House team kicked off the past month with their most important deadline so far, the first Executive Review. Justin Miller (Associate Professor and Head, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture), Rusty Smith (Rural Studio Associate Director), and Rural Studio faculty were all in attendance to evaluate the team’s progress and give important feedback as the team prepares to push towards the next construction phase after graduation. At this review, the team also gave a new version of their presentation where they talked in depth about the different types of constrains on rural sites.

Heirs’ property site constraint
Physical rural site constrains

They got some great feedback from this Executive Review and kept working to refine the details of the design and structure. For the next few weeks, the team shifted focus towards the porch and overall cladding strategy of the 18×18 House.

Team presenting for Executive Review
Isometric sketch w/ details

The first event after the review was one of the most inspiring times of the project. The team finally met their client and received the site they will be building on! Their client Detyrick is a Greensboro native, and the team is very excited to be working with him in the coming months. After meeting the client, the team headed out onto the site for their 1st round of surveying to get an idea of what the topography is that they’ll be working with.

The next week, Chicago architect Pete Landon came to Newbern. He worked with the team on the aperture placements in the 18×18 House. Pete challenged the team to work from the inside out. First, they should use the size and height of windows to direct light and views in the space. Then they should put this plan to the test with a mock-up. So, the team built a full-size stud wall, which they tilted up and covered with rigid insulation to mock-up the living space. The exercise helped them understand where to increase the perceived size of the room with openings in the wall and the storage wall.

The team used their mock-up wall to pin up their work for their next guests: North Carolina architects Katherine Hogan and Vincent Petrarca. The pin up wall was a disaster, but the workshop was a lot of fun. They built on the previous workshops by working on the apertures in elevation and considering the porch.

The final guest was Louisville architect Roberto De Leon. He pushed the team to explore the spatial qualities of the storage wall and porch and dive into some finer details. 

detail porch sketches

So much has happened for the 18×18 House team in such a short time. With a client in mind and a site to study, the project feels more real than ever and the team could not be more excited for what is to come. And as the end of the semester approaches, the team will be building mock-ups, getting their hands dirty, and doing everything they can to set the project up for success ahead of Pig Roast and the final Executive Review.

tilted up mock-up wall

Big Bathhouse News

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Rural Studio Bathhouse Blog! This semester has been super busy for our team. We’ve had several incredible visitors, and we are very excited to share where our project is now!

Students gather around pinned up drawings
The team reviewing with Andrew Berman

After winter break, the team took some time to consider the best path forward for the project. We are considering the possibility of reusing existing structures on campus. As a mass timber project, we were especially intrigued by the idea of reusing—and directly connecting to—the Breathing Wall Mass Timber Research Project pods. The pods were designed as the final scale experiment on breathing wall technology and then were to be used as living pods.

The Breathing Wall team put an exceptional amount of hard work and attention into the structure, and we admire the detailed level of craft that they exhibited. We see the reuse of these pods as a testament and celebration of the amazing work that they did before.

Reusing the Breathing Wall pods will allow the very well-constructed buildings to become a part of permanent infrastructure that all 3rd-year students will be able to inhabit and enjoy. The texture and the warmth of the wood walls will be celebrated when natural light is introduced. Since the entrances to these pods face away from the “Supershed street,” this orientation has the potential to create layers of privacy in the new Bathhouse.

site plan of the supershed
Possible future development of the Supershed

The reuse also sets the Studio up with a strategic plan for development in the future. With the Bathhouse now in the middle of the “Supershed street,” a kitchen/dining space can also be added to the middle of the street, helping strengthen the social aspect of this space. This leaves several other accessible bays of the Supershed open, which could be used for new sleeping pods if needed. This would also help reconnect the Thermal Mass and Buoyancy Ventilation Research Project pods into the streetscape. Re-grading the first four bays of the Supershed will allow for one accessible entry into the Bathhouse (and any further developments), setting the precedent for accessibility on campus for the future.

The visitors for this month challenged us to consider the best organization of spaces for the Bathhouse based on the reuse of the Breathing Wall pods. Cheryl Noel and Ravi Ricker of Wrap Architecture in Chicago, IL, came back to work in Hale County; they helped us think of the overall concepts and form of the spaces we are creating.

Joe Burns and Dan Wheeler, also from Chicago, IL, re-entered the mix and provided excellent help thinking through several different structural techniques and organizational layouts of the spaces. 

Andrew Berman from New York, NY, challenged us to think about the experience of using a Bathhouse facility within a community of people. This opened our eyes to layers of privacy while reimagining the Rural Studio ritual of using the Bathhouse as a 3rd-year. 

Floor plan of proposed building
Proposed Bathhouse with context

With the help of our visiting consultants, we reimagined the existing Breathing Wall pods as public spaces that include two new structures to provide toilet and bathing spaces. The structures would create a privacy gradient as users move farther from the Supershed and closer to the forest, which would begin to envelope the building. The team is still considering the exact mass timber construction method for the two new structures. A new shed roof will stretch over all the structures, and a series of clerestories will bring natural light into each of the spaces.

sketch of proposed building
Proposed bathhouse with shed roof and screen system

We are very excited to progress with this scheme and work towards construction.

Thanks for following along and we look forward to updating our progress soon!

Team group photo
Team!

– Rural Studio Bathhouse Team

Carla, Ambar, Ashley, and Logan