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Rural Studio Celebrates Project Openings

Rural Studio Project Openings

On August 23, 2014, a crowd of over 150 visitors gathered in Hale County to celebrate the completion of six Rural Studio projects. The group spent the afternoon caravanning between five 20K house sites, and the celebration ended in the evening with a ribbon cutting and opening ceremony for the Greensboro Boys & Girls Club, a project three years in the making.

The large number of 20K houses was an initiative of the Rural Studio’s 20th Anniversary Celebration. Most years, only a single 20K house is built, but for the 2013-2014 academic year, all student teams and year levels were devoted to developing new iterations of the 20K house.

The Third year class completed two 20K models in Footwash, Alabama for clients Rose Lee and Jason Turner. The houses, adaptations of previous 20K models “Mac’s House” and “Eddie’s House,” are positioned closely together on the property, creating a private courtyard. The project explores the landscape implications of clustering 20K houses, adapts an existing one-bedroom 20K model into a two-bedroom house, and tests an array of new construction details.

The Fifth year and outreach students were split into four teams, and each team was challenged to expand the 20K product line by designing a two-bedroom option. The new houses are the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth iterations of the 20K house and are coined “Sylvia’s House,” “Idella’s House,” “Bobby’s House,” and “Michelle’s House,” after their clients. Each of the designs tests a range of construction materials, methods, and details. Sylvia’s House uses a hip roof structure with an enclosed soffit that helps bounce light through high windows; Idella’s is wheelchair accessible and has a bathroom that seconds as a tornado shelter; Bobby’s integrates ramp access to the backdoor beneath a four-foot roof overhang; and Michelle’s minimizes roofing material by eliminating overhangs and providing localized shade over windows. At each stop along the tour, the student teams and clients stood before the audience and gave short speeches to much applause.

The final event of the evening was the opening of the Greensboro Boys & Girls Club. The Greensboro Boys & Girls Club was begun in 2011 and is the first step in a multi-phased plan to overhaul the site of Greensboro’s former National Guard Amory into a recreational center for the Boy’s & Girls Club and the City of Greensboro. The new Boys & Girls Club facility is a wood-framed structure that covers a footprint of 5,100 square feet. It houses a classroom, computer lab, office, snack area, and restrooms and provides a covered outdoor space for recreation and special events. The building has a simple gabled form and is clad in corrugated metal with minimal overhangs, a reference to vernacular utilitarian structures such as barns and warehouses. However, the cladding is bright blue, the signature color of the Boys & Girls Club, and the simple form is carved away in areas to reveal wooden interiors. Generous windows and skylights illuminate the interior, and the ceilings and walls are finished in OSB sheathing, giving the space a warm hue. At the ribbon ceremony local and state leaders spoke including Mayor Johnnie Washington of Greensboro, District Judge Tim Evans, Senator Bobby Singleton, and Regional Director of the Boys & Girls Club Tony Bush. The evening ended with food and music for all.