Last fall and early winter, Underhill House had the fun and honor of being featured in a very special publication, Curb Magazine.
Curb puts the journal in the UW-Madison School of Journalism. It’s where students who want to get hands-on skill in magazine writing, editing, design and marketing can cut their teeth.
These dedicated students work hard to make sure their magazine is a professional product that reaches far beyond their classroom. Curb has a print circulation of 10,000. It acquired more than 20,000 web hits during the month following the release and 100 iPad app downloads.
Curb was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in 2012 as the best student magazine in the nation. Undergraduate journalism majors create the entire magazine.
Last fall the class of 21 students scoured the state with their cameras and recorders in search of sustainability projects and ways to appreciate Wisconsin’s natural resources. Their theme for this issue was natural Wisconsin – an excellent choice.
One topic that caught their attention was WholeTrees Architecture and Structures who designed and built our home, Underhill House.
We built Underhill House as an ongoing laboratory to showcase a number of alternative and hopefully more sustainable building materials and techniques such as straw bale walls with lime clay on the exterior and earthen clay on the inside, unmilled branching timber frame , passive solar design , solar hot water and infloor heat, and a sod roof – all of which are working very well, so we love a chance to spread the word. We were very pleased when Lauren Mather called to ask if they could interview us about Underhill House.
It’s always interesting for journalists to find themselves on the other side of the camera/notebook, but I was especially pleased to be in the cross hairs of journalism students from my own alma mater.
Three students came out on what was unfortunately (for outdoor photography) a slightly overcast day. Grey Satterfield brought a very professional camera kit and began to shoot. Lauren Mather came along to check out Underhill House in person, and I found myself describing construction details to the lens of a video camera operated by Michelle Gonzelez. Video content is an element of journalism that was not available when I got my training.
I was impressed with the students’ professionalism throughout. Grey even scheduled a second shoot to get images he was more pleased with. On that occasion, I got to serve as his technical assistant and hold the reflecting umbrella in the corners to enhance the lighting. A reflecting umbrella is now at the top of my photographic wish list.
Because our home uses natural materials in a non-typical way which gives it an eye-catching look, and thanks to Satterfield’s stunning photography, Underhill House was picked for the magazine cover. That was exciting.
It’s an honor to be part of the real-life experience of such great young adults who will hopefully go on to explore environmental issues which touch all our lives throughout their full and productive careers.