Winding down…winding up

Tangentfield exhibition, Centrespace Bristol

The nights have pretty well drawn in now and its time for a couple of weeks of contemplation and stillness before the start of another bright ascendant year.

Since the Craftedspace website was launched in March we have been forming new connections and methods of working to nourish our aim to deliver successful public realm projects.

This October, we were invited to exhibit our work in Bristol by Tangentfield, a vibrant collective within the emergent grassroots architecture network driving community projects around the world. There we met young architecture students and graduates keen to be involved in vital projects for learning and exchange.

Our work often brings people into the great outdoors to experience space within and without a carefully-crafted enclosure. It was from the natural world, or from a pretty close approximation, that we’ve been taking inspiration.

Our first Woodland Design Laboratory this August in the Snowdonia National Park launched our action research programme to explore site-specific architectural intervention. Working with materials from the woods, we quickly explored strategies and developed a deep and intimate knowledge of the environment in which we were working.

The model of the design laboratory is transferable but the outcomes are specific to not only the site, but pertinent to the group on the day, the weather and what all those who attend bring, and hope to find. More to come in 2012…

Privately, we have been working with the Tir Heddwch Retreat Centre to gain planning permission for its new rural enterprise. Potentially, permission could be granted under the new One Planet Development Policy in Wales if we can show that the project is low carbon, economically sustainable and of social benefit. This policy represents a real shift in thinking about sustainable development and is a gift for those wanting to live and work on the land.

We are currently prototyping a design with Working Woods for a modular timber frame structure built from local Douglas fir and Cedar. Prototype 1 is a beautiful small building designed for use as a compost toilet but could be so much more as well.

Departing briefly from our love of the outdoors we were invited to design and build a hand made kitchen close to home for an engineer with exacting requirements and restricted mobility following a serious accident. The result is a celebration of pedal operated, touch screen high tech solutions within a palette of slate, oak, glass and terracotta. We will publish photos in the New Year. The team involved are extremely talented and we look forward to working with them again.

So for 2012 we have several strands of work.

As part of the design laboratory programme, we will be offering two events; one in the spring at Graig Wen in Snowdonia which will comprise a focused design and subsequent build project, and one in the autumn within the Dyfi biosphere which will be an open design laboratory, enabling full immersion in the landscape with no prescriptive outcome.

We will continue working with private clients to realise their design ambitions, though we wish to orient ourselves within the market to commissioners of charities within the natural world and other public realm commissioners.

It is work of this kind where our practical, innovative and sensitive approach is often most effective; where the opportunity to work alongside varied and passionate teams has a real sense of purpose.

I also plan to develop a solo production this year as Jenny Hall independently of Craftedspace. This will be an opportunity to undertake a period of research and development to investigate archetypal themes relating shelter and belief systems. I anticipate this inwardly directed period will feed our architectural practice and the capacity of Craftedspace, capacity to create public realm projects which are both innovative and vital.

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”Henry David Thoreau

(Adam reckons that sounds a bit cannibalistic – apologies if you don’t like the metaphor either!)

A happy solstice, Christmas and New Year to you all from Jenny and the Craftedspace family………

One comment

  1. Nice post, those working wood boys should get a website. That Henry Thoreau quote is one of my all time FAVES! So raw, so immediate, so practical. Put it in your mouth and convene with it! The woods, the shelter….so on xx Happy contemplating and charging.

    Caitlin on December 21, 2011 at 8:45 pm


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