Workshop #1 Graphics & Documentation with Danny Wicke and Tom Harris

Each September, 5th-year and master’s students participate in roughly four weeks of workshops led by consultants with expertise in subjects like landscape, sketching, structural engineering, building codes & ordnances, geotechnical and environmental engineering, as well as artists and graphic designers. This process is directed toward students gaining familiarity with the year’s projects, with consultants exploring important questions related to their field. Students also divide into charette teams to share the newly acquired knowledge amongst each other and thereby get to know one another better. The workshop process culminates with students choosing the project and designing the team they will be working both on and with for the rest of their time in the program.

How do you begin when you have no idea where to start? You just do. For the next few weeks, 5th-year and master’s students will document each workshop. At the completion of the workshops, the students will create a book of their experiences and lessons learned. The Graphics and Documentation workshop, with RS alumnus, Danny Wicke, and architectural photographer, Tom Harris, differs from any other because these lessons inform how the students work over the entirety of their book-making process. It sets the stage for how the next seven workshops will go as they create a framework for the entire process. Over the course of three days, Danny and Tom taught them about documentation, communication, presentation, and relation(ships). The students began the process of creating a book and working as a team.

The goals of the workshop were to emphasize the importance of documentation, discuss strategies for documenting work successfully, develop a structure to document upcoming workshops, produce a book that documents the workshop series, and build upon previous versions of the book.

Creating a book is more than generating words on a page. A good book tells a story. This workshop provided the basic framework of storytelling and how crafting a narrative with mindful design and documentation can make or break a book’s success. Book design and documentation act in unison, representing the narrative in a captivating way. When deciding how to design and layout a book, many decisions will overlap, making it crucial to have a general direction and overview of the book’s content from beginning to end. Some more technical design considerations include setting a baseline or regular grid layout, typography and font hierarchy, page margins, column count, paper medium, furniture, gutter space, book cover, and size.

Documentation should be mindful and not an afterthought to fill pages. The objective is to go beyond “just capturing” a moment by introducing an artistic voice that is represented through multiple mediums. Successful documentation is interactive and should captivate the audience. This workshop stressed the importance of elevating mediums (i.e. photography, montages, graphics, drawings, etc.) to intrigues the reader and further convey the story instead of acting to fill dead space. It is important to have a regimented game plan to record moments before they happen. This can be through the lens of a skilled photographer who is always considering light, angles, and exposure, or it is direction given to all team members to snap an individual moment that can later be used for a montage.

As the first workshop, the goal is to communicate direction prior to successive workshops in order to fully capture their significance and maintain cohesion between text and imagery.

The End of the Beginning

With July drawing to a close, our team is coming to terms with the reality that this phase of our project is also coming to an end. We’d like to celebrate the paths of each teammate as they move forward from the legacy that will be the 20Kv22 project, while also ensuring that our research and occupancy studies live on at Rural Studio.

Sarah has very recently been inaugurated as AIAS’s National President. She has already moved to Washington, D.C., where she will complete her year-long term as President. During this time, she will work to improve issues, programs, and policies essential to architecture and the experience of architecture students, while also traveling across the country and visiting dozens of AIAS Chapters. 

Chelsea will remain at Rural Studio and begin working as a Third-Year Studio Instructor, with Emily McGlohn. She plans to continue analyzing and living in one of the homes (either the Baseline or the Revised Home), while a future graduate student stays in the other. They will collect data from the homes and ensure that our team’s research is continued and utilized by future 20K projects. 

Kenny will join Community Rebuilds as an AmeriCorps VISTA. He’ll move to Moab, Utah where this group has been building affordable, low-carbon straw bale homes since 2010. As the new planning and development coordinator, he’ll help them evaluate their built houses, build new houses that meet the Living Building Challenge, and expand their work throughout the Southwest.

Michael is preparing to move to New York City and work alongside another Rural Studio alumnus, Lucas McCarrell, at the highly-praised, Manhattan based, architectural office of Cicognani Kalla.

We’re excited to see how our studies continue throughout the progression of the 20K Home, and we hope to see a change in the way homes are built and a decrease in the overall cost of dignified homes.

Please enjoy the following photographic tour of our project’s timeline:

Stoop Kids

Posing on the stoop of Dave's Revised Home

These past couple of weeks, while we’ve been collecting and analyzing data, we’ve also been doing a bit of construction work. We built a stoop for the back entrance of the Revised Home!

The back stoop, made up of a wooden deck-board platform and a concrete step, helps bridge the tall transition from our back door down to the ground plane.

Construction for the stoop only lasted a few days, and we can now enjoy a safe exit as well as a nice place to rest behind our house.

Never leaving the stoop,

The 20Kv22 Team