WAKEFORD HALL: WINNER – INTO THE WOODSProfile
by Natalie Ow, current AA year out student, and Kien Pham, AADipl2012
04th May 2016
Hooke Park, Dorset
Natalie Ow, current year out student having completed AA Intermediate School in 2015, and Kien Pham, AA Diploma School 2012 graduate, tell us about their winning design for the Wakeford Hall Competition, and the process that got them there.
Our proposal intended to introduce another living and breathing organism into the Dorset forest – Wakeford Hall, an extension of and into the woods. It imagined how the new Wakeford Hall will take inspiration from its enviably unique position in the woods; bringing the inside outside and vice versa. It will seamlessly transition and integrate into the forest, in which it will put down its roots and find its home.
‘Growth from the core’
Growing from a central core, a radial plan of varying pockets of spaces emerged, branching out from the nucleus. This allowed the core and individual flanges to be developed and built independently of each other and in phases. The potential is thus presented, to utilize the structural system as a foundation to flexibly develop the programs around the site – allowing for sustainable yet, constant evolution.
The tree column principle
The organic forms and principles became a recurring theme throughout the spatial plan as well as the main structural system – what we refer to as the ‘tree column’. The numerous tree columns are spaced out, almost resembling the density of the surrounding forest, further integrating it into the space. A ringed CNC bracing system connects the trunk and branches of the column together through contouring and layering, thus creating a foundation for strength and stability. It also established an outline for foliage to flourish.
Thus, a symbiotic relationship is created between the machined and natural, generating a hybrid. As the delineation of nature and machine was ambiguous, it further blurred the boundaries between the inside and outside.
Relationships of contrasts and thresholds were also explored within the project. Imagine light filtering through a translucent membrane… This imagery of komorebi (木漏れ日) is mimicked using varying degrees of transparency to achieve different levels of permeability between the interior and exterior.
Reflected ceiling plan
For us, alumni of the AA, the competition was not only a rare opportunity to explore the hidden treasure of the school, the Hooke Park campus, and express our curiosity towards contemporary timber construction; but also an honour to experience the process with the whole AA community, including the other fantastic winners and entries. We were surprised and deeply humbled that the jury had seen potentials in our idea, and that it became a starting point of research and development for the students of the Design & Make programme. We, as much as anyone, look forward to visiting the upcoming Wakeford Hall.
For more information:
Wakeford Hall Competition results
Natalie Ow PR2015
Kien Pham PR2012