20K Ophelia’s Home

Elective #1 – “Drawing the Obvious to See the Hidden”

This semester, the 3rd-years are participating in an elective class about “Drawing the Obvious to See the Hidden” with their studio instructors Emily McGlohn and Chelsea Elcott.

This elective combines drawing and rendering with the art of quilting to craft a homemade artifact to give to their client at the end of the semester. Their hope is that this quilt will serve as a reminder of the fond memories and feelings of the home she’s lived in for nearly her whole life.

The first step in this process was creating a rendering of Ophelia’s house that shared some point of view into her life and how she lives in her current home. Students came up with many great ideas like elevations, sections through the neighborhood, and axonometric plans. They also played around with color, negative space, and perspective to make for a very diverse and well rounded group of renderings.

Currently, the 3rd-years are honing their sewing skills with the help of Aaron Sanders Head (who also help during the fabric dying workshop) by sewing their first iterations of their quilt squares. The goal of each square is to portray an abstracted representation of their rendering and tell a story of miss Ophelia and her home.

The latest excursion for this elective was a day long field trip to Gee’s bend – a small community women who have been crafting beautifully vernacular quilts for generations! While there, the 3rd-years got to watch these women at work and talk to them about their quilting process and the tips and tricks of the trade. It was such an amazing experience to see and experience a group with such a strong presence in the community’s past and present, explore their workplace, and learn from their craft.

The 3rd-years are working hard to apply elements from all their courses to their everything they do to enhance the overall quality of work and their experience here at Rural Studio!

Stacks on Stacks on Stacks… of Drawings

Let’s charrette!

In order to start thinking about each of the product line homes on Ophelia’s site, the 3rd-year studio has done hundreds (!) of drawings. They started with a charrette exercise to quickly sketch their ideas on paper and compile an initial understanding of the 20K Project, constraints, and opportunities.  

The collection of charette diagrams

Then, they split up into teams of 4 or 5 and each team was assigned a different product line house. Their assignment was to test the houses’ compatibility with the site and the “fit and feel” of the interior relative to their clients needs.

The main challenge of this year’s house was figuring out how to accommodate a guest that might stay for an extended period. The group used many different types of drawings to help them better understand the opportunities for growth within the house, specifically different plans options of each house along with vignettes showing different ways the client might use the space if not for an extra bed. They also worked out how the foundation will be built and function in each product line home by using sectional drawings.

In addition to the more technical drawings, the 3rd-years also sketched diagrams and perspectives, crafted a site model with the three standard product line homes, and made porch detail models for their specific proposals.

They repeated this process of drawing and presenting until the Studio and instructors felt they could comfortably and unanimously eliminate one of the proposals from the running because it would not be right for their client.

Through this process, the 3rd-years have since eliminated one home and will continue to explore and develop their ideas for the other two product line homes and how they will best work for their project. Stay tuned to see what product line home this studio will build for Ophelia!

Oh yeah, and every Wednesday is “haiku Wednesday” …

Howdy from the 3rd-Years!

This year’s group of house-trained, pod people… and instructors.

These kids have been here for about month…and haven’t stopped sweating since. The 3rd-Year Studio is such a small, diverse group of students who work together in Red Barn and live together at the Morrisette campus. Throughout the semester, they create their own blended community — full of fresh baked pies and domino games — and work hard at becoming better architects while learning about the people and this place that’s their new, borrowed home.

Charlie and Brenton!

Instead of the paper and pens of syllabus week, the 3rd-years had shovels, gloves, and paint brushes for what is called “neck-down” week. This first week, everybody participated in small jobs around our campus and became intimately familiar with existing Rural Studio projects.

And after neckdowns, the 3rd-years had their first assignment; the Sawhorse Race. The students split up into teams to design, build, and test a pair of sawhorses. They also measured their tool trailer in order to design an organized and efficient system for tool storage.

The students then participated in two lovely days of water coloring and charcoal sketching in the annual workshop taught by Frank Harmon and Dan Wheeler, learning to use drawing as a way of seeing.

This semester the 3rd-years are going to build a home for our neighbor Ophelia! What a privilege and honor! Ophelia currently lives in a site near two previous Rural Studio projects, and this past week the 3rd-years documented her current home and property extensively to try to understand the constraints and opportunities they may face during the project. The presentation team has interviewed Ophelia, getting to personally know the women that the students will design and build for.

The 3rd-years are also participating in Rural Studio’s first quilting elective! Local artist Aaron Head lead an indigo dyeing workshop using locally grown and found indigo, poke weed, and osage to hand dye natural fabric and wool… and themselves. They will use these materials throughout the semester to piece together a quilt that displays beautifully abstracted renderings of Ophelia’s current home.

The 3rd-years are excited for what’s to come.

Let’s get it.