Sourcing a palette of materials drawn directly from the landscape around the Crake Valley, we got our hands dirty as we fabricated different elements of a collaborative building. Together we built an outdoor classroom at Nibthwaite Grange Farm (Dodgson Wood), a productive vegetable garden and a new place for learning that facilitates close contact with the land and the culture and cycles of rural life.
We built a timber frame from green larch which is a local fast growing durable softwood milled at Graythwaite Estate sawmill. We used oak dowels hewn from locally forested oak. Working with John Atkinson we learnt dry stone slate wall construction, a technique which is ubiquitous across the Lake District for everything from farm walls to fine houses. As part of the client’s brief we made a gate from irregular timber with renowned oak swill craftsman Owen Jones MBE.
Returning to a primary relationship of what architecture is - the movement and configuration of material from one place to another - we will explore an understanding of how historic technologies can still be relevant as we respond to some of the greatest challenges we face today. As part of this workshop we will be revisiting the use of stone and timber and looking at how they can be applied in contemporary construction.
In the context of the climate crisis, working with locally sourced, natural materials is one of the key actions we can take in reducing the embodied carbon of the buildings we make. In order to do this we need to re-engage with traditional construction techniques.