Day 1

Written by Jessie Morley: Jessie studied architecture at Oxford Brooks, and has been working in practice for the past three years. She’s about to start her masters in architecture at Brighton this September.

We arrived at Hooke Park late morning, perfect timing for meeting the tutors and other students over a delicious lunch. This year’s Kingcombe visiting school is truly an international affair with participants from the UK alongside students from as far as India, China and Saudi Arabia.

Re-fuelled we headed to the workshop gridshell to begin the afternoon’s programme. After an introduction by Hooke Park director Martin Self we toured the main campus buildings and immediate forest with Estate and Development Manager Jez Ralph. His knowledge of the forest and how this relates to the buildings that can be produced was fascinating. With his guidance we began to see the estate, not just as a picturesque landscape; but as a working source of material and opportunity driving the constant architectural experimentation and innovation throughout Hooke Park.

With this in mind we returned to the workshop to discuss our own project with tutors Clementine Blakemore and Alex Thomas. Based at the Kingcombe Nature Reserve this will be one of the first Hooke Park designed and built projects to be based outside the estate. With the design outlined and a site visit scheduled for Wednesday it will be straight into the workshop to start initial timber frame fabrication tomorrow.

The day concluded with another great meal followed by each student informally sharing some of their own work with the group. The range and diversity of everyone’s experience was astonishing, but the common thread running through each was the overriding desire to learn through ‘making’. With such an inspiring setting, exciting project and enthusiastic fellow students this fortnight looks to be very promising!

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