WAKEFORD HALL: HONOURABLE MENTION – Suspended Timber LanternsProfile

by Joanna Chrobak, Architectural Designer at Invent Design Create
02 April 2016 Hooke Park, Dorset   Joanna Chrobak, Architectural Designer at Invent Design Create, tells us more about her Wakeford Hall Competition entry, and what getting an Honourable Mention means for her.   [caption id="attachment_5619" align="alignnone" width="360"]Jo's Proposal for the Wakeford Hall competition Joanna's Proposal for the Wakeford Hall competition[/caption] My entry was not a direct response to the brief, but more of a response to the site. I read through all of the planning documents as well as the proposals and guidelines and then went on a trip to the site.   When I arrived the site had a bustle about it, but I didn’t see a single soul. There was a smell of smoke, it was pouring with rain and it was cold. When I stepped out of the car and walked between the trees in the rain I felt as though I never wanted to leave.   I was drenched with rain but loved every second of being amongst those trees. It was my first and only time at Hooke Park and I felt its magic.
I walked around amongst the trees and had a feeling for the site. I measured the distances between the trees, trying to understand their natural rhythm. I sketched and wrote down things I noticed about the undulating forest floor and density of views - I only took one photo! When I started working on the project a couple of months later the magic of that place was still with me and when I analyzed the proposed site location it baffled me why one wouldn’t try in every possible way to be as close to those trees as possible, to feel what I felt that day.   Architecture is a possibility to experiment and the Hooke Park competition was such an amazing opportunity to test ideas with enthusiastic students who are determined to push boundaries and to create poetry in a truly beautiful place.   The love for architecture, the ability to study and explore a sustainable building material, the endless possibilities, innovation, and the love of that site were what I had hoped would come through in my entry. [caption id="attachment_5621" align="alignnone" width="360"]Jo's Proposal for the Wakeford Hall competition Joanna's Proposal for the Wakeford Hall competition[/caption]
I entered because this is my dream project! Understanding a sense of place, having the ability to experiment, push boundaries, and work with talented, inspired people - this is architecture for me. That is what I had hoped my career in architecture would lead me to experience. My personal interest focuses on the importance between the connection humans have to nature and how architecture is a tool to grow that relationship. Hooke Park provides the space for that connection in an unprecedented way because of the materials, flexibility, and the ability to test ideas in a collaborate environment.   As a foreign woman working in architecture in the UK this honorable mention means everything to me. My Australian degrees are worthless in the UK, which has meant I have had to work twice as hard and have had to try to prove my worth in practice, on site, and as a professional.   I know so many talented and amazing women from Canada, Australia, the USA, and Brazil who are the backbone of offices in the UK, but will never gain the title they so dearly want or deserve, because of the boundaries preventing them from registration. In a small way this is my voice for all of those amazing women working in architecture who work twice as hard for usually half the pay, who still get treated like fools in an industry that humiliates them rather than praises them.   The balance of a masculine and feminine approach to design is becoming slowly acknowledged as the old dogs in the industry start to accept that a less aggressive approach to architecture, construction, and business is becoming more acceptable. This can already be seen in the group mentality of BIM and NEC contracts, which have a more open-minded approach to a team environment, rather than a traditional “us and them” mentality. I wish for the new generation of architects a time when women’s skills will be more appreciated and valued and where women achieve at least equal success to men without having to burn out and work twice as hard for the same result.   For more information: Joanna Chrobak - Invent Design Create Wakeford Hall Competition Hooke Park microsite