ruralstudio

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” …

Raisin’ the Roof

With things picking up in the Studio entering fall semester, convocation, and neckdowns, we were working with a tight deadline for when the boom truck was booked to raise trusses before the chaos started. 

While building the trusses, we did a series of physical and sketch studies to test column composition and location and hardware for the splices. Once the trusses were finished, we moved into column construction focusing on how to make the three plys as tight as possible and create a structural and aesthetically pleasing screw pattern.

Using a template to place screws and lag bolts consistently throughout column.

Moving between the woodshop building columns and site, we began to place and steel feet on the column footings and drill holes for anchor bolts. We located each footing focusing on centering them along truss lines so that the truss can slide into the column. We then set the threaded rod using apoxy and set leveling nuts to ensure the steel plates were all sitting at the same height.

Truss raising day finally came (after weeks of stress dreams and some long days). With the generous help from West Alabama Mechanical and United Rentals for a scissor lift and man lift, we were able to get all of the trusses up in a day! Seeing the structure raised and beginning to understand some of the spatial aspects of the pavilion in real life has been a big boost in the project for us.

The four happy (and relieved!) ladies
Thankful for the BEST clients (we’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it because it’s true) and some incredible community volunteers who believe in this project and love Moundville!
The men “helping” (but really, we couldn’t do it without them!)

20K Ann’s Home is complete!

On Saturday, September 21st, we celebrated the beautiful work of our 5th-year students, Ayomi Akinlawon, Jed Grant, Madeline Gibbs, and Yikuan Peng, and our lovely neighbor Ann at the ribbon cutting ceremony of 20K Anna’s Home. Thank you to all of our supporters and community! Without your support, none of this work would be possible!

20K Ann’s Home has a research and design focus of “aging-in-place.” The team took on the challenge of designing a home for the entire life of its occupant, not simply accepting the narrow understanding of “aging-in-place” that considers life following retirement. This meant providing spaces that are flexible and remain suitable as a family expands and contracts during different phases of life.

In addition to providing a living room that can easily transition into a third bedroom if required (when those teenagers need their own space or the favorite niece comes to stay), the design creates a strong connection between the interior and the porch with double doors. Not only does this approach create accessibility for someone in a walker, wheelchair, or even a hospital bed, it also provides space for families to gather and support one another. The house also prepares for this life cycle with details that are both durable and affordable to maintain.

Learn more about the 20K Ann’s Home on our website.