Rural Studio Third Years Spring 2016

Mar 27th, 2017

Rural Studio Third Years Spring 2016

Hello, from the current Third Years at Rural Studio! This semester we have been working both on-site and in the studio finishing previous projects while designing our own. Three teams have developed in the interest of tackling six projects.


Worms & Berms

It’s all in the title, really. Worms & Berms has been tasked with the challenges of: 1. designing and installing an ‘earth tube’ (what we call a worm) to utilize the consistent subterranean temperature, in conjunction with a chimney, in pursuit of regulating the temperature in the storehouse for our home-grown, home-harvested stored goods (the chimney-tube combination will create a vacuum that releases the air inside the storehouse while pulling in air from the tube), and 2. figuring out what program(s) to fill the hollows behind the greenhouse (one of which is currently inhabited by a berm). The team has decided on adding a berm (making that two berms total) and a pump-house for the irrigation team’s pump. Currently the team is making final decisions on vegetation, planning for the pump-house, and has figured out all the specs for the air tube (installation will begin soon!).

Irrigation Nation

Irrigation Nation is undertaking the irrigation system both for the garden and the greenhouse. They must find a way to utilize harvested water in order to grow our produce as well as make sure that the harvest practices are efficient and operable. The team is making way with the drip irrigation system and has successfully installed a pump, powered by our solar panel, to operate the C.O.W. (Column of Water). Their current challenge is installing five underground cisterns and a trough in front of the greenhouse for water collection.

Shade & Shelter

Shade & Shelter is concerned with evaluating / improving the canopy system for the greenhouse and seed-house (the pulley system and the fabric(s) used for shading and/or insulation) and the gutter systems for the courtyard, which will feature an awning between Chef Cat’s kitchen and the storehouse. They are currently testing a full-scale mock-up of the canopy system (2 bays, 1 pulley, 2 canopies) and are in the process of making the final fabric selection (shading in the summer and insulating in the winter). Regarding the awning and gutter system, the team has installed a full-scale mock-up and has met with our structural engineer consultant (meaning that they are in the final decision-making-stages and should soon be ready to order the parts and begin installation!).

Farm work, studio, & other classes

Life in rural West Alabama is great. We are all (mostly) enjoying the rural lifestyle: sparse cellular signal, wildlife, driving 10+ minutes to get to a gas station or grocery store, and good southern cooking. Addressing the wildlife comment, we have had several mouse-encounters, domesticated a lizard, captured (and attempted to preserve) a couple of spiders, rescued a turtle, and made friends with a frog and a dragonfly.


We have been working on the farm several days a week this semester. So far we have finished installing the cladding in and around the courtyard, put screens in the windows in the greenhouse storage shed, built a deck, completed fascia installation, poured concrete bases for the courtyard steps, as well as several more undertakings. We have also been taking turns working in the garden with Eric (our gardener) which we have all enjoyed.

­­In our history seminar class, we have visited countless historical buildings around the area. We have been practicing a lot of sketching on these field trips (attempting to make great improvements on our form, and skill in general) while learning so much about significant features of different architectural styles. Outside of class we have been working on our watercolor assignments: this semester we third years were assigned not only an elevation of a historically documented building, but also at least one detail of our respective buildings. Our students have a wide variety of compositions and our professors seem enthusiastic about our final products.



Additionally, we have been working hard on our chairs in woodshop. We all had mostly successful mock-ups a few weeks ago and have since been working on the final chairs, our drawings, and the final presentations. It is evident in our current work how far we have come and how much we have learned since we were first assigned a structure made out of paper.

This somewhat sums up our semester; everyone is welcome (and encouraged) to join us April 30th at Pig Roast to check out everything we’ve been working on! The Third Years wish you well and hope you continue to stay updated on Auburn’s Rural Studio!