Big Shed – Architectural Association Design & Make
The ‘Big Shed’ is a 500sqm Assembly Workshop that provides a new sheltered workspace at Hooke Park (the AA’s woodland estate in Dorset) for full-scale prototyping, testing, and pre-assembly. It was designed by students of D&M and AA Diploma Unit 19, whose concept proposals were combined into a scheme for a faceted timber skin manipulated according to site, environmental and functional influences. The building is oriented to provide a campus entrance sequence and to open onto a large central work yard, in which saw-milling and fabrication activities are carried out.
The building structure, engineered with consultants Atelier One, has pioneered the use of high-capacity screwed connections within large round-wood trusses. Developed through an experimental testing collaboration with Bath University, this approach allows trees to be used ‘in-the-round’ in complex structures without the need for major engineering processing. The project was developed through full-scale testing and prototyping by the students. Nozomi Nakabayashi, the first graduate of D&M, led the design development, working with support from Mitchell Taylor Workshop.
The fabrication of the trusses was carried out by a team of students both from Design & Make and summer volunteers on the AA’s ‘SummerBuild’ programme at Hooke Park, who worked alongside experienced timber framers led by Charley Brentnall. Each of the planar trusses was fabricated and assembled horizontally, before all being lifted into position on the building’s concrete slab. Similarly, the cladding cassettes were assembled flat and then raised into place.
(Design & Make)
(Program Director) Martin Self
(Studio Master) Piers Taylor
(Studio Master) Kate Darby
(Make Tutor) Charley Brentnall
Mitchell Taylor Workshop
University of Bath – Department of Mechanical Engineering
Jean-Noel Lacraz (French Companion)
Melaine Bronsard (French Companion)
Summer Build Participants
Beatriz L. Plaza Martin
Bruce Hunter Inglis