Student Projects: Cabin Fever
Students recently produced three kinds of shelters for the Upper Valley.
The first, located in Hanover’s Oak Hill recreation area, is a wheelchair-accessible treehouse that was a project in ENGS 71: “Structural Analysis.” Student teams designed and built one component each—the roof, the walls, the supports—and jointly integrated them into the finished structure. “I always like them to do something real, see it from design on paper all the way through to having it built,” says Professor Vicki May. Students got into the spirit. “We had to determine the site, the layout, the elevation of everything, and from there we just let our minds and creativity go wherever we wanted,” says Christian Ortiz ’11.
The second shelter is a Habitat for Humanity house built a mile south of Hanover. Students in ENGS 44: “Sustainable Design” developed energy-efficient water, heating, and other systems for the house, which was further developed and erected by Habitat for Humanity members. “It is tremendously more energy efficient than the prior Habitat houses, and it has helped change Upper Valley Habitat’s approach to energy efficiency and building methods,” says studio art Professor Karolina Kawiaka, who taught the project part of the course. “It was great to work on a real project and have such a quick, immediate, local impact,” says Anastasia Miliano ’12, who worked on the house plans and increasing the R-value of the walls.
The third shelter is Titcomb Cabin, located on Gilman Island, a short paddle from campus down the Connecticut River. After the previous cabin burned down in 2009, engineering students stepped in to lead the rebuilding efforts. “We built the cabin in a way that best utilized the logs we had. We had a basic 3D model in SolidWorks at the beginning but tweaked that design heavily as we went along and as we learned more about the process,” says project leader Greg Sokol ’10 Th’11. In May CBS News sent reporter Mo Rocca to Gilman Island for a lesson on how to build a log cabin.