This Red House The Journey of Building North Carolina State University Mon, 22 Aug 2011 13:13:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Deck The Halls With A Story Fri, 19 Aug 2011 18:41:20 +0000 Read More >]]> The hunt for artwork that tells the story of our state’s largest university didn’t start too differently for the chancellor’s residence’s interior designers than it does for many of us – looking into our past. While we might hang prints that were handed down from parents and grandparents, NC State also had a legacy to consider. Design Lines – the interior design firm tasked with outfitting the new home – chose pieces for the residence by exploring the rich history of NC State in one of the university’s secret gems:

D.H. Hill Library’s special collections research center.

Rob MacNeill, designer with Design Lines, spent time hunting through treasures in the special collection’s vault to find pieces that would speak to the university’s past and present.

“For the chancellor’s residence, I didn’t want to go the obvious route of hanging pictures of different NC State buildings or landmarks – we wanted something different,” MacNeill says. “There were so many sketches and prints that spoke to NC State’s roots as a land-grant university that serves the state of North Carolina. And that’s the story we wanted to tell through art.”

For instance, MacNeill selected some prints (made from original slides) that show wood fibers – perfect for the university’s history and commitment to forestry and natural resources:

And then there’s beautiful photographs of North Carolina plants shot by Bertram Whittier (B.W.) Wells (1884-1978) – a famed American botanist who headed the botany department from 1919 to 1949. His passion led him to write The Natural Gardens of North Carolina – with help from the North Carolina Garden Club – which gives an account of North Carolina plant life and advocates for the study of plants in their natural environments. Wells took hundreds of photographs of plants from North Carolina and beyond and converted them into lantern slides to accompany his lectures. Many of his slides, including the ones selected for the home, were hand-colored by Wells himself

And it doesn’t hurt that these beautiful prints will make another one of NC State’s favorite plant-lovers, horticulturist and chancellor, Randy Woodson, feel right at home.

MacNeill also found two extremely rare portfolios created by French designer Eugene Alain (E.A.) Séguy. Séguy’s Papillons {Butterflies} collection, published in the 1920s, was produced using the pochoir technique which entails hand-coloring each plate through a large number of stencils. So how does a famed French artist have special portfolios housed in NC State’s library? Turns out, after a little bit of digging, that the collection was acquired to help support  NC State’s highly regarded entomological rare book collection. (Who knew?!) The collection has been built over decades with support from faculty and donors committed to NC State’s research and teaching in the field of entomology.

And then who can forget another big nod to NC State’s history –  our athletics. MacNeill grabbed some great prints to be used in more casual places in the home. Aren’t these fun?

So there you have it – from football advertisements to detailed wood fiber prints – a glimpse of some of the great art to be displayed in the new residence.

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Moving Along and Winding Down Thu, 14 Jul 2011 19:31:51 +0000 Read More >]]> The chancellor and his family should be thankful that the Carolina summers are reaching triple digits, because if it was a bit cooler out, I might be tempted to start squatting in the new chancellor’s residence during these last few months of construction. What just a few weeks ago was bare-bones drywall and molding is being transformed into a spectacular home.

As those who have built a home know, the construction process  seems to lag as the behind-the-scenes work gets done: wiring and plumbing, permit checks and inspections. But you know the end is near when there is a flurry of movement. Once the floors are installed, the cabinets, countertops, lighting and painting are not far behind.

At the house this morning, dozens of workers were installing cabinets, patching holes, touching up paint, pouring concrete and much more. From here on out, day-to-day progress will be significant with move-in just a couple of months away.

As construction winds down, This Red House will keep you posted with some neat behind-the-scenes looks as the finishing touches are put into NC State’s newest nest.

In the meantime, make sure to check out the photo gallery for a peek into today’s activities.

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The Roots of a Home Fri, 29 Apr 2011 15:02:34 +0000 Read More >]]> While the outside of the new chancellor’s residence doesn’t look all too different, the inside is being transformed week by week. Recently, the drywall has been put up and trim, molding, windows, doors and details are being added.

The beautiful cypress and poplar detailing seen throughout much of the house has been harvested from NC State’s own Hofmann forest – an 80,000-acre forest located in the coastal region of North Carolina.

The cypress wood is used for the tongue-and-groove ceilings in many areas throughout the residence. Cypress is often used for its versatility, strength and stability. Use of a stable wood  in a tongue-and-groove board application is an important way to help prevent gaps as the house settles.

The poplar material also was selected for its stability. The tight, smooth grain of the poplar allows for a very fine paint finish to complement the trim throughout the house.

But far beyond its use for building materials, Hofmann Forest has served as a “living lab” for the university – much like its use in basic and applied research and outdoor-classroom instruction.

Formal research in Hofmann Forest began in 1936, concentrating almost exclusively on hydrology and the growth of pines. Since then, research has expanded to include topics such as fire ecology, organic soils, site productivity, biodiversity and more.

Now, parts of this historically “NC State” forest will make a home for chancellors for years to come.

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Shine Bright Thu, 10 Mar 2011 15:48:37 +0000 Read More >]]> You may catch NC State’s chancellor planting a garden outside the new chancellor’s residence, but you are not likely to see him climbing up a ladder to change a light bulb in the foyer. Why? Because the state-of-the-art LED (or light-emitting diode) lights being installed throughout the residence are designed to last as long as 50,000 hours – 50 times the life of the typical incandescent bulb and five times the life of the average fluorescent light.

Besides their longevity, LED lights use far less energy than the other two conventional fixtures – another example of how sustainability permeates the home’s design and function.

All the home’s LED lights have been donated by Cree, Inc. – a leader in LED lighting and a company with leadership that emerged from NC State laboratories. A total of 112 LED recessed can lights and 20 surface-mount LED lights are installed throughout the house.

This is all part of a larger initiative that started three years ago when NC State became the first “LED University” in the world by committing with Cree to foster the use of efficient LED lights throughout campus. The first sizable installation was completed a little more than three years ago when LED lights were installed in the chancellor’s office in Holladay Hall. Today, LED lighting can be found in NC State residence halls, parking decks and a host of other locations around campus.

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Museum on the Move Mon, 31 Jan 2011 13:45:26 +0000 Read More >]]> If you see artwork making its way down Hillsborough Street – it’s not “Night at the Museum” come-to-life on campus. As construction on the new chancellor’s residence continues to progress, the conversation has begun regarding how to “repurpose” the existing residence to serve as the new home for NC State’s Gregg Museum.

The Gregg Museum, located in Talley Student Center, features revolving collections of textiles, ceramics, outsider/folk art, photography, architectural drawings, modern furniture and more. Every year, the museum – which is free and open to the public – puts on six to eight exhibitions in its galleries to foster learning and understanding of the cultures of North Carolina and the world.

In the Spring of 2010, during the initial planning for the Talley  renovation, the rearrangement of  a number of programs and projects were considered. But a museum has security, storage, access and climate-control needs  that are really different from other kinds of programs. So during this planning process, it was determined that the Gregg Museum could better serve its purpose if it were not subsumed amid the rest of the activities that go on in Talley, but, like the library, have its own facility. Various potential locations on campus were considered, which were gradually narrowed down to five, and then one – the chancellor’s residence.

The new location will provide better public access, chances to create new programs – like outdoor sculptures, arts festivals, concerts, installations, film screenings, etc.- and an opportunity to create a new cultural landmark for both NC State and local community.

The current chancellor’s residence will need to undergo some transformation before the Gregg Museum can establish its new home. All renovations will be made with private, non-state-appropriated funds.

Fundraising for the Gregg Museum move is currently underway.

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New Year, New House Fri, 07 Jan 2011 13:40:38 +0000 Read More >]]> The new year  has brought with it some major changes in the construction of the chancellor’s residence – inside and out. In December, all interior building systems that had to be installed prior to installing insulation and hanging drywall were completed. These include major undertakings like the heating and cooling duct work and controls, electrical wiring, plumbing, natural gas piping, IT and communications systems, and security and fire protection systems. All these systems have been inspected by the appropriate code officials,  and the builders have received the green-light to go forward with insulating the house.

As we mentioned previously in This Green House: Part 1, foam insulation is much more efficient than the traditional fluffy pink insulation most of us have in our homes. The foam insulation being used in the chancellor’s residence is sprayed in to fill the entire wall cavity, as well as the underside of the roof structure. This reduces infiltration of outside air, and provides a robust thermal barrier – all while reducing energy waste.

After insulation is complete, the next major step will be hanging the drywall – another milestone in the home’s construction.

But the inside of the home is not the only thing getting TLC treatment these past few months. December also saw the completion of the exterior brickwork as well as the roofing system.

And while some of us, myself included, are excited about the forecasts of a “white winter”, those hard at work on the residence – who are making excellent progress on the construction – hope the snowy stuff remains at bay.

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Really Open House Mon, 22 Nov 2010 17:07:17 +0000 Read More >]]> Last week, the first “open house” was held at the chancellor’s residence. No, not that kind of open house. There were no party decorations, fruit punch or homemade cookies (although I did smell some good ol’ North Carolina BBQ cooking somewhere as I was heading out.)

So why hold an open house event before the drywall is up?

Forest products company and donor to the construction project, Weyerhaeuser, is using the chancellor’s residence as a demonstration site for the latest in structural framing materials. Nothing but cutting edge for these studs. The lumber, which received one of the first designations of “Green Approved Products” by the National Association of Home Builders, is analyzed by a computerized grading system that goes beyond the typical visual grading, which is a fancy term for eyeballin’ a board to see how straight it is.

One of the framing engineers joked that each inch of that lumber has more information about it than our entire life’s medical history.

It’s a big deal because, often, builders have to order 25 percent more lumber to account for defects, which end up on the burn pile.  The lumber (Southern Yellow Pine) is grown is eastern North Carolina.  From farm to frame, the lumber travels less than 100 miles. All of these factors make it an environmentally-friendly, and a Carolina-grown choice.

I asked Brian Turner, Weyerhaeuser’s structural frame specialist on the project, what has been interesting about working on NC State’s chancellor’s residence – compared to other commercial and residential projects he’s worked on.

“The most unique experience in working on a project of this scale is the opportunity for a heightened sense of collaboration across organizations beyond the ‘typical’ supply channel,” Turner explained. “For example, we hosted approximately 45 students (from NC State’s College of Design structures class) to receive a ‘job-site’ style lecture on structural methods, concepts and materials commonly used in industry. It was great to spend the better part of an afternoon sharing industry information and applications with the students. Also, many of our coworkers are NC State graduates, so there has been a lot of excitement and pride in our work on this important project.”

So this is not just a construction project – it’s a living lab. Hundreds of students and building industry professionals walk through the residence on a regular basis to learn more about the state-of-the-art building practices and materials being used through every part of the construction process.

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This “Green” House, Part I Fri, 05 Nov 2010 14:15:50 +0000 Read More >]]> While the chancellor’s residence is most certainly this university’s “red” house, it can also boast of being “green” as well. Sustainable building practices are playing a major role in the home’s design.

The home will be certified under several nationally recognized green building programs that provide third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

One of the key elements of the home’s design was the use of geothermal heating and cooling – as opposed to traditional HVAC units.

Thermal energy is extracted or released from the earth’s subsurface (about 150 feet down) – which is reasonably constant, approximately 62 degrees Fahrenheit year-around . Running a thermal loop to this constant temperature strata by drilling wells vertically or horizontally (see picture) allows for this heat transfer to pipes. The pipes contain fluid from which heating or cooling is extracted.

The result: major cost savings. Using geothermal power versus a traditional heat pump can provide as much as 50 percent energy cost savings from a conventional heat pump using outside air for heat exchange.

Also, because the chancellor’s residence will serve dual-purposes – a family’s private residence along with a larger space designed for entertaining large groups – there will be two separate heating and cooling systems.  The smaller system, which can adequately handle the heat load of a family, will be used the majority of the time, and the larger system will only kick-in during larger events to handle the heat and humidity load generated by a couple hundred people.

Adding to the energy efficiency within the home, all the duct-work is insulated, tightly sealed and located within the thermal envelope. Also, instead of that fluffy pink fiberglass insulation that most of us have in our homes, the chancellor’s residence will use continuous foam insulation. Foam insulation is spray-applied as a liquid, and expands as a foam that fills every nook, crevice and gap to create a continuous air-tight seal –  resulting in less energy waste. Also, the residence’s metal roof – which is insulated on the underside – is designed to reflect heat, so that the attic won’t be subjected to the extreme heat and cold, as is the case in many traditional homes.

NC State’s chancellor’s residence is using a variety of state-of-the-art building practices to build a home with less environmental impact, higher energy efficiency and cost-savings that will benefit the university for years to come.

Stay tuned for more “This ‘Green’ House” posts which will explore other green-building techniques and materials – from LED lighting to locally grown and harvested lumber and more.

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Exterior Update Thu, 21 Oct 2010 17:50:14 +0000 Read More >]]> Masonry work continues this week at the chancellor’s residence. The beautiful brick, called Canyon Creek, is a tumbled brick that is being installed with a light raked joint  that will best reveal its characteristics. The raked joint design – made by by removing the surface of the mortar while it’s still soft to provide a recess between the brick and mortar – highly emphasizes the joint and is sometimes used in modern buildings in order to match the historic appearance of their locales.

The home’s builder, Randy Beard of Rufty Homes, explains that this particular brick will only become more beautiful over time as weathering will reveal more and more of its natural characteristics.

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Brick By Brick Wed, 13 Oct 2010 15:13:07 +0000 Read More >]]> It should come as no surprise to friends of NC State University that when it came time to build a new chancellor’s residence, only one building material would suffice. Why, the brick – of course! The brick is one of the most recognizable aspects of NC State architecture and literally the foundation of the university.

A little fun fact for the Wolfpack faithful, courtesy of “The Brick”,  a book designed by NC State students to guide new students through the history and landmarks of the university:

At the first Board of Trustees meeting in 1887, the board requested 1.5 million bricks and a labor supply from the director of the State Penitentiary. Today, if you wandered around campus with a calculator and a good pair of walking shoes, you would find more than 4,270,000 bricks on campus.

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