This movie by photographer Jim Stephenson offers a look behind the scenes at this year’s Studio in the Woods, an annual architecture workshop that invites students to design and build wooden structures in a forest.
This year saw six teams of students experiment with timber construction in the Wyre Forest, in the English county of Worcestershire.
The results include an 18-metre-long cantilevered bridge, a giant speaker that amplifies the sounds of the forest and a human-scale nest.
Taylor said the aim of the programme is to bring the act of making into otherwise theory-heavy architecture education, enabling participants to rethink the relationship between designing and making.
“Students never really get to work on the building itself – usually only an approximation of the building as a model or drawing,” he explained. “Working on the actual thing/building itself is completely different.”
The material palette for the summer residency is always informed by its location, which changes each year.
The programme this year centred around oak, which grows in abundance in the Wyre Forest, but which the local community has little understanding of how to use. As a result, it is largely used as firewood.
This year 60 international students and architects were split into six groups, who each interpreted the timber in diverse and interesting ways.
A team led by architects Guan Lee, Hannah Durham and Adam Holloway built a structure around a set of musical instruments, which includes a robotic piano that plays sounds recorded in the woodland through a giant timber speaker.
Shin Egashira and Zoe Berman worked with students to create a structure that takes the form of nest, providing an enclosed space within the forest.
It is made from waste timber found on the woodland floor.
Made from small sections of oak, it takes the form of a Belfast truss.
Taylor and Bowles teamed up with Charley Brentnall of Carpenter Oak to help students create a “room for a tree”.
Barbara Kaucky and Susanne Tutsch worked on a structure that promotes diversity by channelling sunlight to the forest floor, while Kate Darby and Gianni Botsford led students to build a map of shadows.
Taylor said that one of the best things about the programme is that it offers an opportunity to test ideas through making at a one-to-one scale.
“It’s the hands-on/tactile experience the students and architects gain in the woods something they can carry on with back in the real world,” said Taylor to Dezeen. “Many gave claimed it changed the course of their thinking and redirected them.”
Studio in the Woods is now part of the Global Free Unit Network, which offers learning outside the framework of conventional academic institutions.
All structures created this year will remain on site for up to 12 months, to allow the local community to come and observe them.
Photography and film are by Jim Stephenson.
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