The first week of building was slow and difficult as a result of a search for effective construction process. We were also hindered by a lack of material as much of the timber had not arrived. However we pressed on and began with the construction of Truss D. Whilst we were working upon this truss we were learning round wood carpentry skills vital for the build.
The Pizza Oven is one of the many wonderful interventions of the AA at Hooke Park. It seemed fitting that when the team was free to cater we should try out the brick oven. Everybody got involved to create great food.
This work was incredibly rewarding and also exhausting for many of the group members who were stripping logs for over a week. Once the timber has been graded it is fully peeled and then stacked with other timbers from the same truss. The tools most used for peeling were the draw knives, axes and spuds for larger trees. It was imperative to peel the timber as swiftly as possible as fresh bark is many times easier to fully remove.
There was a long list of logs required to build all of the trusses for the big shed and one of our tasks was to sort through and grade the logs arriving on site.
For the first few weeks at Hooke Park we were mostly getting prepared for the big shed big build. This involved a great variety of tasks from building saw stools to constructing a shelter for the team tea area. This was a fantastic opportunity to learn woodworking skills that would prove to be essential throughout the project.
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