Studio Pivot

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, complications may arise. Unfortunately, just when prefabrication was ramping up in the shop, we learned that all campus activities would be shut down in accordance with Kansas State University’s response to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and the Net Positive Studio has transitioned to online learning for the remainder of the semester

We had hoped to share with you our progress on the construction of our house in St. John. However, even though our construction efforts have been halted, that has not stopped the studio from making the most of this unprecedented situation. Instead of focusing on construction, we have been afforded the opportunity to focus our attentions on other critical tasks. We have completed our construction documents and had a weeks worth of prefabrication under our belts before the break, but our studio is still in the process of designing much of its casework, an important element of the house. With this gifted amount of time to work remotely, we have formed a new team that has been dedicating their time to thoroughly designing the creative elements for our kitchen, closets, and other storage areas. 

Besides these efforts, we have also shifted our focus to the completion of a book that will document the studio’s activities throughout the year. During this time of crisis, we have been able to reflect on how our efforts to provide rural communities with affordable, energy efficient housing, may become even more important in the aftermath of COVID-19. We have also been able to reflect on how this crisis has affected us as designers and citizens, and how our response can affect the environment around us in the near future. These reflections, along with the work done to create our net-zero home,  will be included in our book near the end of the school year. We can’t wait to share the Net Positive Studio’s hard work with all of you. 

One final word on the St. John house: we have not given up on completing our project. While we can’t predict what lies ahead of us, we can always persevere. Through this crisis, we have more knowledge on the needs of families across our country and how we can aid them with design. We are confident that, with some hard work, we will be able to share this project as a built work in the near future.

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