2020 Semester Design/Build - Week 4

September 18, 2020
By Eva Hogue, Semester Program Teaching Assistant


Written by Quinn & Tryg

Monday -  Today we began the process of narrowing down our tiny house designs. The instructors took the most similar pieces of three broad design concepts and put us into groups of four to start the process. We began work before lunch and after an enjoyable, prolonged lunch break we got back to work in our separate spaces throughout the building. Robbie helped Quinn step up his bushcraft skills by teaching him a new fire starting technique. Eva made heavenly ginger cookies after lunch that pushed us through to our sparse, fire-cooked dinners.

Tuesday - Today, we started class by going over the readings from the textbook. We talked about composition of simple structures to create fluid “hybrids” and we focused on context driven design.  Then, switching back into the groups created Monday, the pods took a reductionist lens to their designs and boiled their common threads down to the most impactful elements. Annalisa, still feeling under the weather, was able to video in to offer critiques and design alternatives from the Mad River Lodge.  Mocha, Norberto's pup, also sat on Aidan’s lap for at least 20 minutes which was a groundbreaking step in their friendship.

Wednesday - We started the day by presenting our three separate designs to Anastasia and Eva. Afterwards we had to make the big decision of whether to move down to either one or two designs. We (the students) resisted a quick jump down to one design and we split into 2 groups to brainstorm a more refined design for one hour. Before dinner, we met back up with our ideas and decided to continue on with the house that had a more-refined design. We left the day with a clear purpose the next day; to design our house. P.S.  They’re drilling a new well for the dorms which is a pretty insane process. The massive truck is seen below propped several feet above the ground.

Thursday - Thursday morning, we opened with a discussion about the Black Lives Matter sign and touched base with the administrative staff about Yestermorrow forming a stronger public stance with minorities through scholarships, targeted outreach, and a more culturally focused curriculum. After lunch, we had a Zoom meeting with Laura Bailey from Maclay Architects about wall structures, where we covered the pros and cons of different sheathing, insulation, and construction designs. We went over common construction oversights and addressed proactive sustainable choices to minimize these pitfalls. After the meeting, the reigns were effectively handed over to the students to come up with the plan for the presentation for Friday morning. Quickly, groups formed to cover model building, plan and section drawings, evocative perspective watercolors, 3D modeling, and sunlight charts. Working diligently from two until well into the night. We were able to surpass our own expectations for each group's final product.

Friday - At 9am we had a critique on our design from Mac Rood, Britton Rogers, and Johno Landsman. It was a very productive 90 minutes figuring out what the strong points and downsides of our design were. We were happy to get input from the "buildability" aspect of the design as we know how important it is for our structure to actually make it to the site. The points that the critics brought up outlined the work we have to do next week before our presentation to the clients on Wednesday. After the critique we took the day to relax, eat and explore the Mad River Valley.