Author: RS Reggie's Home

Let's do some tests!

Hello from Reggie’s Home! In an effort to create a design that fully responds to the conditions of the site we decided to conduct some soil test to determine where the best places to grow Reggie’s desired fruits and vegetables would be. In order to conduct the test we divided our site into three parts: the front of the site, the part where the old family home stood, and the back of the site where Reggie has been cutting down privet. We collected soil from these areas and sent them to Auburn University’s soil testing laboratory to be tested. 

Box used to mail soil samples.

We have also been researching the plants Reggie wishes to grow to figure out what type of sun and soil they need, as well as what seasons the crops would be harvested. This research and the soil test results led us to determine the best place for Reggie to have a garden would be the north side of the site. With this information we were able to get a more accurate master plan of the site. 

Plant research.

In addition to researching plants available to grow on our site we also continued our research with Earth Tubes, a form of passive heating and cooling. Earth Tubes are essentially buried ventilation ducts that heat or cool the air moving through them because of the constant temperature of the soil. A big question that comes with Earth Tubes is whether or not it will work in our climate due to the humidity. Lucky for us, the Rural Studio Farm Storehouse uses earth tubes in an effort to keep produce at a constant temperature. We have been monitoring the temperature and humidity outside the storehouse and outtake of the Earth Tube to see how effective it is. After a month of recording temperature we discovered a change of temperature from 6-10 degrees. With this information we contacted Adam Pyrek, an Environmental Controls professor from the University of Texas at Austin, to consult whether Earth tubes would be feasible as part of our home design. He encouraged us to continue the research on the temperature and humidity of the storehouse and to keep in mind that Earth Tubes are ideal for keeping a small space at a constant temperature.

Diagram showing how the spaces would be divided using Earth Tubes.

With all this information we will be pushing the design of the home as well as the site as a whole forward!

Until next week,

Reggie’s Home

Permaculture 101

After our presentation at Soup Roast we decided to take a step back from the house design and consider permaculture in order to get a better understanding of the conditions of the site. Permaculture can be be defined as meeting human needs through ecological and regenerative design.

Soup Roast Presentation

In order to gain a further understanding on what permaculture is and how we can incorporate it into our design we had a rapid flash intro to permaculture taught by our very own Eric Ball. Eric is Rural Studio’s farm manager since 2012 and he holds a Permaculture Design Certificate from Oregon State University, in addition to his BS in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Oregon. In a series of two hour long classes we learned that permaculture is a design strategy that allows one to integrate systems within the design. This gave us the stepping stones to better analyze our site and how all the systems will work together as well as a way to present them to others who don’t know the site as well as we do.

Ashley reading “Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, Your community, and the Whole Earth” by Jessi Bloom & Dave Boehnlein

Through this process we developed three site analysis maps: a sector analysis map that documents how energies move through the site (such as noise), a water flow and topography map that shows how water moves through the site, and a microclimate analysis map that clearly documents the areas on our site that different in climate, soil type, and ground conditions. Microclimates can be affected by an area’s aspect, solar orientation, airflow, and vegetation.

Our next steps are to take the information we learned and create a master plan of our site. This will allow us to lay out good patterns for the landscape before we get down to the details.

Zak starting our master plan design

In addition to the permaculture class we built Reggie a composting outhouse before we left Newbern for winter break. We have been researching composting toilets as a part of our design, and this will be a great test run to see if Reggie is comfortable with it. In this dry system, all Reggie has to do is use the bathroom and add sawdust to start the composting process. Composting is not only great in the sense that it will minimize water usage but it also doesn’t smell bad (against popular opinion!) and the humanure can be mixed in with regular compost to be used in a garden. 

Diagram from “The Humanure Handbook” by Joseph Jenkins

In order to build the outhouse we re-used a closet mock up from Horseshoe Farm Homes Project as the structure. Once we made adjustments to the closet we collected sawdust from the Breathing Wall Mass Timber Research Project team and put it in a barrel for Reggie to have on site.

Composting toilet behind Reggie’s temporary home

Our next step is to continue research with the soil in our site to determine what areas are better for growing different plants. We also plan to gather data on the temperature and humidity of the earth tube system on the storage house on Morrisette Campus to verify if it would be an effective passive strategy for our design. 

Until next time!

Reggie’s Home

Let’s Start Designing!

Hello from Reggie’s Home team! These past few weeks we have been busy continuing our site analysis while beginning some design iterations. With the help of reviewers: Andrew Berman, Julie Eizenberg, and Hank Koning we have been pushing forward with our design!

Bar Scheme
Divided Volumes Scheme

After Reggie-fying our case studies we landed upon two schemes, a bar and divided volumes. Each scheme aimed to build the minimal space needed to live in order to be able to maximize the space outside of the home. We also looked at blurring the line between the boundaries of the home. After talking to Andrew Berman, we realized that the bar scheme made the most sense because we would be building less than the divided volumes scheme. The bar scheme would also allow the complexity of the home to come from the way Reggie lives in it and not the architecture. Once we established we would move forward with the bar scheme we sat down and determined exactly what the bar needed to accomplish for Reggie to live the way he wants.

After we created guidelines for what the bar scheme needed to accomplish, we had a couple design charrettes and presented them to Julie Eizenberg and Hank Koning.

Bar Scheme Charrette

The conversation with Julie and Hank allowed us to understand that the building is only one part of our design. We also have to consider how the home will interact with the site. In a way, the SITE is the HOME.

In addition to working in studio on our design charrettes, we have also finished clearing out our site and have begun to conduct a site survey.

Thats all we have for now! Stay tuned for Soup Roast festivities.

Reggie’s Home team!

Hello from Reggie’s Home!

After 6 weeks of living in Hale County, Rural Studio 5th-years have chosen teams! Reggie’s Home team consists of four students eager to study passive design strategies and the possible use of unconventional building materials.

Ashley Bucher

Jacksonville, Florida 

Favorite Hair Product: Raw Sugar the Moisture Smoothie

Favorite Off-Site Activity: Reading and Painting

Zak Channell

Madison, Alabama

Favorite Hair Product: Mother Nature’s gentle breath

Favorite Off-Site Activity: Cycling and Recycling

Jon Schneider 

East Atlanta 

Favorite Hair Product: Dove Men + Care 

Favorite Off-Site Activity: going to Lions Club Skatepark

Marlyn Rivera

Lawrenceville, Georgia 

Favorite Hair Product: Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk 

Favorite Off-Site Activity: Learning how to cook

When talking to Reggie about his hopes and dreams of his future home he only had three requests: A roof, a bathroom, and an area where he could spend time outside. Reggie is not interested in having a home with air conditioning which will allow the team to focus on passive design strategies. After talking to Reggie the next question for the team was where to begin. Since Reggie is interested in reusing materials from his old family home, the team decided to start by going to the storage barns owned by the Studio in Newbern and quantifying what material were left over that could also be used.

Once that was done it was demo time! From now until the foreseeable future the team will finish demolishing Reggie’s old family home. This will allow the team to not only learn more about the site, but also form a connection with Reggie since he will be on site helping the team.

That’s all we have for now! In the meantime we’ll be trucking away with our site snakes!

Reggie’s Home Team