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elevations, dig, draw, and maestra

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011 

Today I am acting as Maestro, or, Maesta, rather. Our goals are site elevations, dig, and draw. We are also preparing for a presentation with our client, Julie. Through our meeting we start to understand her expectations and interests more – she likes open space, good storage in the kitchen, counter space, lockable places, a balance of concrete and wood, and she had some great ideas for how to incorporate more of the mined rocks into the project through the columns or the retaining wall.
After a quick, and hot afternoon of one group digging more of the foundation wall and setting the lines and the other group building a mock up of our rock faced retaining wall, which also tested for how the rough sawn and plywood textures came forth, as well as a test of mica powder on the top surface. Here I learned how to properly use a float and an edging tool for the concrete top. This is slightly different from the Rockite models I’ve done in prior months!
The evening is the most comfortable time of the day. The solar water heated showers are hot and ready, the sun is still hot, but the air is cooling. The breeze is steady and keeps the bugs at bay. We finally got the other solar panel hooked up to the right battery, so we were able to charge the devices we are oh-so dependant on.
Tonight I have a second juice of energy, ready to tackle the confusion of the elusive foundation wall details and the formwork elevations. Tim, Adam and I hash it out by lamplight and I’m finally able to explain each of three systems fully to the next Maestra. I’m excited to start finally feeling like I have a handle on these things – the systems which we often so easily draw in as lines without thickness.

- Keihly

I am in a dual Masters program in Architecture and Urban Design at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. I am participating in the RAW Dakota 2011 workshop in Custer, SD July 13-27, 2011 and blogging about the experience. Thoughts you'd like to add? Thanks for reading! – Keihly Moore

In the trenches

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Today, dirt has a new meaning. So does formwork, and accounting for material thickness. It's nice to become more and more versatile and comfortable with power tools, work-arounds, and jumping around lines that are marking the buildings.

Tomorrow the concrete guys come. We'll have to be quick on our feet with the rebar and the rocks from the local mines that we'll be using for the facing of the foundation walls around the kitchen.

Monday, July 18, 2011 

The pour! We scurried about in the morning – assigning teams and tasks. By 9:20am we took our places, lining the trenches as the concrete truck lumbered into the site. We heard it from afar…the dread, nervousness and anticipation of the unknown was thick in the air. None of us really knew what to expect. How was the chute going to fit in our 9” wall? We had 10 minutes per cubic yard, and we had to hand place rocks –choosing flat faces that sparkled (feldspar, rose quartz, mica). We ordered 7 cubic yards of concrete, and we came up a little short, but the concrete guy was free in the afternoon, so he reloaded and came back.

I must interject that watermelon is a savior. Seriously. 87 degrees, digging and sweating, dripping…the cool wateryness of the watermelon was the best thing for the moment.

Dripping with watermelon juice,

I am in a dual Masters program in Architecture and Urban Design at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. I am participating in the RAW Dakota 2011 workshop in Custer, SD July 13-27, 2011 and blogging about the experience. Thoughts you'd like to add? Thanks for reading! – Keihly Moore

To explain…

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

concrete as wood

I love the plasticity of concrete and it’s ability to change its characteristics…(sometimes this doesn’t work in your favor, of course!)

I wanted to explain the next few waves of postings. Due to the stubbornness of battery charging with both my computer and the wifi, I was not able to post everyday as was previously scheduled. I was, however, able to write in my sketchbook each day, which I then kept in a word document for when the stars would align and both the wireless and my computer would have battery at the same time for longer than 10 minutes.

I hope you enjoy the following stories. We’d like to hear from you!


I am in a dual Masters program in Architecture and Urban Design at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. I am participating in the RAW Dakota 2011 workshop in Custer, SD July 13-27, 2011 and blogging about the experience. Thoughts you’d like to add? Thanks for reading! – Keihly Moore


Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Thursday, July 14

Today we are faced with detailing the vision. We have the basic scheme, but there are oh-so-many unknowns. Retaining wall as separator or extension into the landscape? What does leveling the ground mean for a comfortable space? Wall conditions that echo the forest…where does the undergrowth stop..what’s the density of the forest that surrounds?
Other questions that pop into our minds: How do you establish a connected dialog while maintaining individuality? (materials, texture, pattern, opacity) Other strong forest elements that dominate our views are the verticality and repetition, a level of softness and similarity as your eyes near the canopy, shimmering aspen, glittering amongst the ponderosas (that really do smell like butterscotch!)
Today we also measured the site – staking the lines, using the transit for elevations. Remembering those handy geometric equations…how do you measure a right triangle? Oh, yes – a 3-4-5, or in our case, 12’, 16’, and 20’.
. . . . . . .
By the end of the day, we did achieve most of our goals – the backhoe came in to dig the holes, we figured out our foundation details and we finished a wall section mock-up to explain our ideas of a gabion wall system inside the wall. This is the first time I’ve ever built a wall section mockup full scale on the first full day of design work! I love it! Our wall system consists of 4 basic layers (starting from the exterior): 1×6 pine rough sawn vertical slatting, spaced every 3 inches, corrugated metal siding, gabion wall interior, and interior 1×4 horizontal slatting to contain the rocks (found on site – shist, mica, and rose quartz dominating the group.)

We pondered the views – the sitting versus the standing, framing certain elements and thinking of the desired effect.

Tomorrow we prepare for a presentation to the client, and I will be the designated “Maestra” for the day – directing the workflow and making sure people know what they’re doing. Project manager didn’t sound quite as fun as maestra, right?
The coyotes howl in the distance, yes, there is a pack that roams. The near full moon rises, it’s light feels like a street light! It’s perfectly completely quiet…no cicadas, no crickets, no frogs like I’m used to. The grass is soft, though, and the breeze between the pine needles is comforting; sleep comes quickly.


#RAWDakota 2011
Custer, SD

Intro in the Abode

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Wednesday, July 13

Our first night we gathered in the Abode (last year's RAW project) and overviewed the coming weeks while soaking in the sunset as we sat perched high on the rocks. We could see our new project site from here in a nifty clearing perfectly aligned with the view from the Abode.

In an overview, Paul explained the goals of this workshop:
1) Learning to be in contact with nature in a design situation
-how design is impacted
-thinking differently – surrounded by the environment as you design (not just sitting at your desk in studio)
-general and specific design – realizing the connections and how they inform each other

2) Design + building connection
-develop a broader set of skills
-gain respect from other people on the site
-design for the other 90% – a chance to apply our skills

3) Teamwork – in school the focus is mostly on the individual
-learning to communicate and share
-building consensus

In school students are involved with the first 10% of the project, and rarely the rest. Here, with the basic site of the building chosen along with the basic program, size and structure, we are focusing on the other 90% of the project we don’t normally get to tackle.
It feels like we have a lot of work ahead of us! I’m excited!

More soon,

- Keihly

I am an MA at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. I am participating in the RAW Dakota 2011 workshop in Custer, SD July 13-27, 2011 and blogging about the experience. Thanks for reading! – Keihly Moore

The start.

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Day 1. For the next 2+ weeks I'll be chronicling my adventures and experiences with the RAW gang!

11.30A Tuesday, July 12. RTD Bus route AB from Denver to Boulder thoughts.

As I embark on my 5 week adventure and think about where I've come, I've been lucky to have experienced so many landscapes in recent weeks. The first view of Denver is flat. Real flat. No trees! Only grass, no crops. Big sky. it seems like the sky overpowers the landscape, demanding your attention. So different from the various swamps I visited just a week ago. I'm excited to explore the new landscape of the Black Hills – and the culture, history, topography, and the stories that the landscape brings.

It's cooler here, a welcome relief from the vice-like humidity of the Carloinas (although, it does help out my curly hair!) It was 89 degrees at midnight last night in Charlotte!

Already the airport is different – with tornado shelter signs everywhere. Cowboy hats, backpacking packs and more raw exposed lumber – the West has its flavor.

The missing tree canopy got me the most. It seems like the landscape is more utilized, the weather more watched.

And! The mountains! They just emergy from the clouds as if they are one mass. The coloring is so similar its hard to differentiate between the matter made of water vs the matter made of earth.

It's interesting that the mountains and clouds mimic each other in form, pattern, light, and color. Both fade in and out of sharpness and detail.

Life seems to hold a different realness when faced with the towering mountains. It's been a while since I've seen them so large. The effect is renewed. The ocean has a similar effect, buy at a different magnitude. Both conquer.

Lot's of clerestory windows. And fences. And it makes me miss my horses.

The greens are grayer here, or perhaps bluer.

Until later,

- Keihly Moore