Entrance View into Hooke Park, rendering by Samuel Nelson

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.

Project Team:

Design Team
(Design & Make)
Nozomi Nakabayashi
(Diploma 19)
Elena Gaider
Eyal Shaviv
Olivia Putihrai
Samuel Nelson
Sanem Alper

Teaching Team
(Program Director) Martin Self
(Studio Master) Piers Taylor
(Studio Master) Kate Darby
(Make Tutor) Charley Brentnall

Excecutive Architect
Mitchell Taylor Workshop
Piers Taylor
Luke Holcombe

Structural Engineer
Atelier One
Aran Chadwick
Luis Fernandez
Elizabeth Bizmut
Eva MacNamara

Civil Engineer
Buro Happold
Bob Riley
Joseph Walton

Main Contractor
Charley Brentnall

Timber Testing
University of Bath – Department of Mechanical Engineering
Richard Harris
Nick Gathercole

Site Manager
Oscar Emanuel

Davy Luscombe
Dominic Taylor
Henry Russell
Jack Draper
James Stubbs
Jean-Noel Lacraz (French Companion)
John Laurence
John Sin-Fai-Lam
Jonnie Brockwell
Mark Baddon
Melaine Bronsard (French Companion)
Nick Freydag

Christoper Sadd

Workshop Manager
Charlie Corry-Wright

Summer Build Participants
Alex Thomas
Beatriz L. Plaza Martin
Daniel Miles
Dave Cladwell
Guilherme Rampazzo
James Barnfield
James Rai
Jess Mill
Jonathan Evans
Ryan Manton

Resident Photographer
Henrietta Williams

Georgie Corry-Wright
Tia Corry-Wright

Bruce Hunter Inglis
Merry Hinsley

A 38m jib crane was brought in to raise some of the larger roof panels. This was Oscar’s last erection in Hooke and it was an exciting day.

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Many of the wall panels have gradually been erected using the tele-handler. This is a difficult and slightly dangerous process as many of the panels cannot be permanently attached until all of its neighbors are in place. It is vital that they are positioned in exactly the correct position and so often energy is invested in adjusting and securing the panels with ratchet straps.