Design & Make is a new MArch programme established to explore novel and alternative modes of architectural design enabled through making. Based at Hooke Park, the AA’s woodland site in Dorset, the core agenda is developed by the students’ engagement in prototyping activities and on-site construction. This objective leads to an individual design thesis that runs in parallel to working collaboratively on a designed project to be erected during the summer.
Autumn 2010 marked the birth of the programme, starting small in
terms of student numbers, but ambitious with the project: the 500m2 Big Shed assembly workshop at Hooke Park. Over the 2010–11 academic year, this agenda and project has been a joint task working
with Diploma Unit 19 and the input of those students is described in their segment in this book.
The autumn term began with a project that introduced design and fabrication tools, followed by a four-day group design-build project that began with using raw logs from the forest and ended with a large inhabitable ‘solar vessel’. This experience was followed by similar site-specific, design-and-make explorations by each student, informing individual design concerns that determined conceptual propositions for the design of the Big Shed. Through debate, these propositions were combined and collided, leading to a single Big Shed scheme driven by the consensus ambitions for adaptability (in terms of spatial and environmental configuration), climatic and landscape specificity and a material ambition to use Hooke Park timber in its round-wood form.
The processes of planning submissions, structural rationalisation and detailed design made a steady progression throughout the year, leading to on-site construction commencing mid-summer.
In parallel with the project work, seminar courses focused on the cultural theory of making as design; sustainability theory and practice; fabrication and construction technologies; and the theories of collective design. During the fourth term, the experiences, analyses and critiques of the project will be reconciled and then proposed in the written D&M thesis.