Some of the PAD studio team recently accompanied SPUD youth on a trip to Hooke Park; the Architectural Association’s woodland site in Dorset. The 150 acre working forest is a growing educational facility for design, craft, construction and landscape focused activities. Traditionally inhabited by the Architectural Association’s degree and masters architecture students SPUD youth were invited to Hooke on one of the first outreach workshops.
SPUD youth is a free to attend design group with live projects for people aged between 11 – 17yrs. The Lymington youth group are currently working on a landscape project with St Thomas Church. The students are exploring ways to revitalise the church grounds and its public spaces through a variety of interventions which will improve the public’s experience. SPUD youth took some of their ideas to the workshop at Hooke to explore the construction of their designs as well as having an adventure in the woods.
The weekend started with a tour by the estate manager of the woodland who showed us the experimental structures created by the AA students. These vary from sculptural interventions, dormitories and workshops. All the materials used to build these structures are sourced the surrounding woodland. We were all inspired by the changing forest light and the architectural forms on display at Hooke Park. After our tour of the park the students were challenged to build their own structures from spaghetti and marshmallows. This was followed by some fantastic vegetarian food, games, guitar, movies and s’mores melted on an open fire.
Day two was workshop day. After an induction by Charles, the workshop manager, the students explored the site for trees to be felled. These trees were selected from an area to be thinned as part of the forest management. The group moved their wood back to the workshop where they worked to create prototypes of their ideas. The students demonstrated excellent team work, building together, distributing tasks and helping each other. The children’s freedom and light-hearted approach was applied through intelligent decisions and watching them enjoy the process of making was inspirational to behold.