architectureschool

“I Say Goodbye, You Say Hello”

The end of the semester was a hustle and last hoorah for the fall semester 3rd-Year team. The students were sentimental (and maybe a little stressed) as they finished projects, and assignments and prepared to showcase their semester in one final review. And even though it felt like it was never going to happen, they got to start building a house!!

When it came time for the pour, excitement filled the air as the concrete truck back into Ophelia’s driveway. One full day of pushing and pulling and shoveling and smoothing with just about all the strength the students had to give. The 3rd-Years then drilled into the concrete footing to place and grout vertical rebar.

When the block layers came, everything went off without a hitch! The 3rd-Years got to watch the masters at work, and even help on occasion. Finally, the students then filled the allotted cells of the CMU wall with concrete and placed anchor bolts for next semester to bolt the sill on the foundation wall. And of course, cleaning up the site all along the way.

Oh, and the quilt, the magnificent quilt. The student’s final block iterations were sewn together, a quilt back was made with extra material from the naturally dyed fabric and a layer of cotton and polyester batting (yes kind of like insulation) was sandwiched between the sewn top and bottom. 

The students then basted the sandwich (quick, temporary seams) and made a PVC Pipe frame to hold all the layers together while each student intricately “quilted” area of their own block together to make one cohesive blanket. A border was made and all 13 of the students sat around the Morrisette dining table to whip stitch the edges of the quilt closed, while watching The Grinch and drinking hot chocolate. :,) 

The last class for the 3rd-Year’s History elective as a day long trip to Columbus, MS. The students ended like they began, seeing and sketching the southern vernacular with their wise captain, Dick Hudgens. They were then left to their own devises to finish their final watercolors, and they all, miraculously, finished! The pieces illustrated what the 3rd-years had learned about composition, color, fine water coloring techniques, and the influence of classical design on historic Montgomery homes. The works were displayed in the Morrissette House during the annual Soup Roast, as tradition holds.

Soup Roast bookended the fall semester 3rd-Years’ time at Rural Studio. They got to take one last tour around Hale County to see the amazing 5th-years, graduate students, and leftovers projects. Then, the finally of Soup Roast, the 3rd-Year’s presentation!

The students got feedback from their reviewers about their mechanical exhaust ventilation crawl space foundation (yup that’s a mouthful) and how they approached multiple residents moving into the product line homes. The 3rd-Years presented their ¼ bedroom or “nook” design in Joanne’s modified home through a built mock-up out of 2×6’s and pin up boards, so everyone could see and experience what the space will feel like.

Also, the final quilt was revealed! The students explained the premise of the class and had a conversation with the crowd about how this unconventional representation method expands our understanding of a project, the process of design, and cultivated empathy, in this case with Ophelia. The parade of students, architects, parents, teachers and friends then walked to the project site for Ophelia’s 20K too see the physical progress so far and meet Ophelia! The 13 3rd-Years returned to the site the next day to say goodbye and present her with the final quilt (she was surprised and very grateful). 

The next day, the students packed up the pods, said goodbye to Chastity the mouse and Cupcake the possum, then drove/ flew across the globe to get home, but left with a lot of love in their hearts for Hale County and each other. The fall students felt the honor of borrowing Rural Studio and Newbern as their home for 3 ½ months. For that, they will be forever thankful. Now Ophelia’s 20K is handed over to the spring semester students!

War Eagle to that!  

Then There Were Eight

After the threaded rods were trimmed, a torque wrench was used to tighten the nuts to HILTI’s requirement, 60 PSI.

Before the team left for the holidays, the walkway structure was all put up! Thanks to Rowe and Jeff’s help the team finished setting up all eight wall plates, and a few days later Devin and Charlie brought some extra muscle and to site. This facilitated lifting and bolting the “arms” and struts into place. The arms, being the assembly of the three horizontal plates welded together, on which the grate will sit. And the strut is the tube that connects the “arms” to the two plate tabs at the bottom of the plate bolted to the wall.

The future main entrance to the walkway, and point where levels were checked throughout the instalation of the brackets.

A 3x4x1/4 inch angle supports the south end of the grate, which is equivalent to only using half of the bracket.

First One down

Check tabs with torpedo level
Check height with site level
Drill 10 inches into building
Check hole is the right depth
Clean out debris
Put HILTI sleeve mesh in wall
Fill mesh with epoxy
Put the threaded rod in
Place washer and nut
Tighten nuts with a wrench
Rods ready to be trimmed

This week the team put up the first plate on the wall! First, they removed the clips from the conduit and strapped them in place to the scaffolding legs. This allowed the team to slide the plates behind the conduit and into place, and temporarily fix them to the wall with washers and tapcons anchors. In order to use the plate as a drilling template. The tapcons were removed once the first set of rods were cured and ready to receive washers and nuts. After all were done, the rods were cut to the desired length and tightened further with a torque wrench.

This week the walkway grate was delivered! Once all the walkway structure is up, there will be dropped in place.

Testing, Testing…

As the team prepared to start installing the walkway structure, a pull-out load test done in order to understand the strength of the brick, and its relationship to the HILTI anchors. The team installed two anchors with washers and nuts at different locations on the wall and tested both to failure load….and they passed!!

Shortly before the team left for Birmingham, the electrical was roughed in. This week, thanks to Mason’s help, it finally became live!

The color for the block walls has been decided, soon be painted grey ( second from the left)

Prepping for walkway structure

In preparation for putting up the wall plates, for the walkway, the Horseshoe Courtyard team set up scaffolding on-site, and ground off the old threaded rods on the East facade. These rods used to be part of the structure of the historic balconies, back in the late 1800s.

Testing jig, and ease of temporary attachment to the wall with Tapcons and washers. Initial leveling of tabs done with string attached to the 2×4.

The team also took a day trip back to the shop to cut the 5/8 inch threaded rods that will be used to fasten the walkway pieces, as well as the footing plates to the concrete. And the 1/2 inch rods that will connect the screens to each other.