Roos-Rohde House, Hampshire College Amherst 2014
The Roos-Rohde House is a newly created building on the Hampshire College campus conceived by the students for the students. This was a collaborative effort between the student body, administration, Wright Builders and RK Studio Architecture. I was involved with this project on many levels including working with Ray Mann and the students to both design and build what became a cafe mixed use space centrally located on the campus in South Amherst.
This project was developed to reuse reclaimed materials of a an unwanted horse barn on the new college presidents property. The barn being only 15 years old materials were typical pine timbers and boards. The structure was deconstructed by volunteers over the summer of 2013. Amazingly the roof trusses of 2×4 dimensional lumber were able to be saved by stacking them as sets in the final design. Otherwise 8×8 timber beams, 1×12 & 1×8 pine board were plentiful, after de-nailing. Barn doors and subsequent sliding hardware was saved.
The interior build-out was designed and fabricated by Hampshire students with help from Ray and myself during 2014. Spring 2014 started with design charettes, involving a UMass graduate studio and five Hampshire undergraduates. After a month of exploration in and out of the woodshop, the Hampshire team spent two afternoons a week in the woodshop working on prototype designs and techniques to be employed in the built-in furniture. These six weeks culminated in the design and casting of concrete sinks for the bathrooms, as well as a set of bench prototypes for the public space. As the T/A for the design/build part of the class it was great to see the students showcase these handmade fabrications at the building’s official ribbon cutting in May 2014.
This event was only ceremonial since the interior was just a shell at this point. With only a concrete slab and rough drywall to start with, the summer brought a new group of students to the project. A grant was procured to fund a 4 week design/build in July in order to help complete the cafe and seating of the space. Under rays guidance, I was tasked with leading four students of various skill levels through a collaborative fabrication process. During the month we surface planed reclaimed pine boards(after de-nailing and metal detecting), built a 40′ long bench utilizing these boards, designed a center island and check out counter for the cafe Mix’d Nuts (a collaborator in the project program). The cafe island and counter were built using the large 8×8 wood beams. Custom window trim which used a special treatment of the lumber was designed-cut-installed. Our last task was casting the concrete counters for the cafe, vibe cast and 2″ thick. Still in pieces, we felt great about our progress for the month.
The project resumed in September to complete the interior build-out to allow the R-R house to get a “go-ahead” or Certificate of Occupancy to open to the public. We were lucky to have Oliver Martinez a Hampshire student that was in the former Spring semester design/build studio to help finish this project. In the next three months Ray, Oliver and myself worked every Friday on designing and fabricating the final details of this awesome student center. From sliding barn doors that hide-out during the day, and lock the cafe up at night, to the request to have a double sink for ice cream scooping, the building reflects the community.
FOR THE STUDENTS BY THE STUDENTS