WAKEFORD HALL: WINNER – Continuous Designing of Hooke ParkProfile

by Paul Loh and David Leggett, partners at Power to Make/LLDS

 

23 March 2016

Hooke Park, Dorset, and Melbourne, Australia

 

Paul Loh and David Leggett, partners at Power to Make/LLDS, tell us more about winning the Wakeford Hall competition for Hooke Park, and what it means for them.

 

We are delighted that we are one of the two winners for the Wakeford Hall Competition in Hooke Park. In many ways, this is a curious project for our office.

Wakeford Hall competition panel 1

Wakeford Hall competition panel 1

There are two key factors motivating the project. Firstly, we are located in Melbourne, Australia, over 10,000 miles away from London. Our physical distance from the project means that we need to remotely disseminate our ideas and transfer ownership of the design to the Design and Make students at Hooke Park. This requires a different methodology that looks at design strategy as a continuously evolving process; to borrow a term from software development, we call this ‘continuous designing’.

Wakeford Hall competition panel 2

Wakeford Hall competition panel 2

 

Secondly, as an architectural practice that has its own digital fabrication workshop, we have a deep interest in material research. Most of our projects at the moment require us to explore making and assembly processes as design strategies. The brief for Wakeford Hall simply provides a framework to test our process further.

Model of the proposal

Model of the proposal

Responding to our first motive, we asked: how do we design a project that can be ‘un-designed’ after the competition? Our aim is to design a series of tactics that allows students to unpack the design process: taking the defining moments of the project and re-formulating an emerging design language through future material research. So, what we have presented at competition stage is but an instance of the design ‘machine’, the real fruit is in the working through of the design.

External view of the proposal

Exterior view of the proposal

We designed the building as pedagogy, a matter that is close to our teaching and practice. The strategy laid out is not a tabular rasa of ideas but aims to seek a radical rethinking of current and emerging research at Hooke Park, tapping into existing research to go deeper and perhaps more daring than before. At the same time, seeking new means of making, inventing tools and techniques as part of the design process.

The making processes (techniques, tools, and materials) are themselves a form of design strategies, a way of thinking, investigating, and interrogating design through action.

 

Our second motive sets out a series of making techniques as research trajectory. The aim of this is to sustain the proposal as it moves through phases of construction. Programmatically, the building is conceived as ground, enclosure, and envelope; the ground as the hall, the enclosure as the library, office, and reception, and the envelope as a green ‘skin’ that will be eventually be taken over by the existing flora. Here, we want to test how technology and ecology can deeply penetrate architecture. It is not just imbedded or overlaid but critically part of the making of the architecture itself. That is to say, the materials are technological and ecological media and making is a procedural strategy that operates within the formulation of the schema.

Interior view of the proposal

Interior view of the proposal

What is described above starts to formulate an agenda of continuous designing, not simply as a methodology of thinking for our practice but we literally present it as a physical manifestation of Hooke Park, as a laboratory of experiments in timber technology built over a period of time. In this sense, the competition brief intrigues us. It presents itself as a perfect opportunity to test out this methodology. Designing with making strategies, inventing tools, devising tactics, and deepening research trajectory is all part of this continuous designing process; a perpetual investigation for our practice.

 

For more information:

Power To Make Site

Power To Make Tumblr

Wakeford Hall Competition

Hooke Park Info