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The final design of our sustainable structure was a snaking form with an elegant change in height and size. Initial ideas involved a more enclosed and regular form, but the awkward long site, as well as the opportunity to create different types of spaces led us to explode the more typical form and create the curving form you see in the plan.

Timber posts emerge from a low level out of the ground and rise up, gradually extending their arms further out which form an indicative shelter. Eventually these become high enough and extended enough to create places of refuge. These have seating added and revolve around the tree on the site as well as another new space which is imagined as an informal teaching space.

This segregation of the timber posts allows for a smooth phasing to be introduced if budget constraints only allow for a section of the design, which can be added to later when further investment is secured.

Materiality is given as indicative, but with the recommendation that recycled timber is used, perhaps old scaffolding planks. These are fixed either by digging and pouring small concrete foundations which then have a steel foot fixed into them, or a more simple detail of just burying the posts as you would with a standard timber fence.

We're all very happy with final design which we think meets the needs of the brief and client, as well as creates a novel yet simplistic way of teaching future generations about the topic of climate change. A tight budget constraint has been tackled with a very simple design that involves a phasing to allow for future bolt ons.
Posted 5 Apr 2019 12:53
Our design is based around large structural wooden columns, which then have infill panels which the undergraduates and the school children can design. To fully illustrate this to Mr Usher and the year 6 children, we have asked some of our undergraduates to design examples of what the infill panels could be.

We want this infill panels to function as the educational elements of our design, showcasing the sustainable and eco-friendly technologies and building techniques we brainstormed last week, and then discussed with the school children during the workshops. Some key elements of these were rainwater collection, plant growing and elements of play.

The undergraduates are producing some excellent work for these infill designs, and we’re really excited to see how they’re starting to take shape. As many of these designs features the re-use of water bottles, we’ve been discussing with our undergraduates the possibility of making 1:1 models and examples of how their ideas would actually work. Can’t wait to see what they start to produce!
Posted 3 Apr 2019 11:53
We are really pleased with how both of our models are starting to take shape. During today's events work we are focusing on continuing with the modelling, adding the trees made out of copper wire, painting and varnishing and finally gluing everything together.
To be able to properly coordinate the construction of these models, the undergraduates have had to develop their teamworking, communication and technical modelling skills. They have worked using both machines in the workshops as well as through hand modelling, and have also gained experience working with a wide range of materials, from standard MDF to acrylic, spray paint and copper wire.

We hope through modelling making during this events week, the undergraduate students have gained confidence in their skills. We are really impressed with the enthusiasm and ideas they have brought to the experience.
Posted 2 Apr 2019 14:14
On Friday the group set about drawing up the survey measurements they'd taken during the week in CAD which would go on to be used for model making and final drawings. An interesting hurdle was encountered when the final result seemed to produce a different result to what site photos and existing maps were showing.

With a very limited time frame and no more potential site visits available, some assumptions would need to be made. We used the existing football pitch as a right angle from which we could extend perpendicular lines across our site and counted bricks up the existing retaining wall to inform our levels data.

This whole exercise proved to be a great lesson for the group in how to finish work within tight deadlines, observing the bigger picture and not getting stuck in a level of detail and accuracy that couldn't be achieved. These assumptions will be passed on to the client via our design document with a note for a more detailed survey needed.
Posted 29 Mar 2019 12:43
This Tuesday we went to visit the site at St Mary's primary school with the undergraduate students for the first time and we had a great time there doing several tasks.

Half of the group went out into the garden areas which contain several distinct themes to observe and survey the official site for our sustainable structure. This meant using measuring equipment like laser distance meters and tape measures which we used to take measurements which were in turn sketched out onto a site plan. From this we will draw up our CAD drawings back in the studio tomorrow.

The other half of the group went into the school to give a presentation to the students on climate change and Architecture's role within it. We then proceeded to talk about the architectural design process. We wrote out our ideal homes as lists of requirements which we then sketched as plans and sections. Once these were complete, we made 3D models of them from recycled card. Now that we all have a better understanding of the design process and the important topic of climate change, we and the students are all much better prepared to engage in consultation on our design proposal.
Posted 26 Mar 2019 22:26
Last week Group A member Laurence went to visit St Mary's to find out the details of the pedagogy and how St Mary's apply it. He went along as a visitor to one of their off site visits where the group walked from the school to a woodland nearby, learning about various plant and tree species along the way. Learning the names and identifying features of the trees brought a new found respect for nature to the students as forest school attempts to raise the next generation of environmentalists.

Other practical skills like crossing the road safely and being respectful of dog walkers and their pets were also being learnt. When the group arrived at the site, they participated in practical and physical activities, as well as engaging in group discussion to learn from each other.

St Mary's apply the holistic education approach of forest school, developing the students emotional, physical and spiritual skills as well as their cognitive abilities, growing their appreciation for the natural world around them and getting some fresh air and exercise. All in all, the trip proved to be a great inspiration for the sustainable structure, which will hopefully be a physical part of the children's play that educates them about environmental protection, just like Forest school.
Posted 18 Mar 2019 21:50
Group A's brief includes designing a sustainable structure that educates the students of St Mary's about the topic of sustainability. This opens up the possibility for the way in which the project is constructed to be an educational tool itself. This has led us to researching possible construction techniques that involve recycled materials or waste products. Here's one such example:

Eco Bricks are a way of containing non recyclable bits of plastic like cling film, salad/pasta packets etc and creating an indefinitely reusable building block. They enable plastic to be kept out of the environment and the not so efficient recycling system. Once full to capacity (0.33g per ml) they can be sent to collection points and used to create green spaces in communities such as this. Find a bottle, stuff it full of bits of plastic (washed and dried)- you wouldn’t believe how satisfying it is!!
Posted 3 Mar 2019 23:20
As the Events week approaches, Group A have drawn out the first week's session plan that the undergraduate students will participate in alongside their MArch colleagues.

The second week consists of turning all of the analysis, research, consultation and presentations completed in the first week into the outputs required by the brief. This means hitting the ground running on Monday when the students get into the workshop to complete the two different types of models we will be creating; one site and one structure model.

The week progresses with architectural drawings, diagrams and visualizations being created that will make up the design document that will be handed over to the client to inform their construction.

The week finishes with a presentation to the Saint Mary's school students who will have participated in the design process on what the group have produced and finally the official handing over of the finished outputs.
Posted 11 Feb 2019 17:47
As the Events week approaches, Group A have drawn out the first week's session plan that the undergraduate students will participate in alongside their MArch colleagues.

This first week is focused around analysis, concept design and end user participation, as the students undertake survey's and client presentations, draft sketching and model making and perhaps most importantly, group research and discussion. This plan builds the platform from which the brief's outputs will be achieved in the second and final week.
Posted 4 Feb 2019 11:22
On Tuesday, Laurence presented the Group’s brief and strategy for their events project to the 1st and 2nd year Architecture undergraduates. He spoke about the great opportunities for the undergraduates to improve on their sketching, model making, digital drawing and 3D visualisation skills as well as giving experience in presenting and communication. He also put forward the exciting opportunity that the brief presents to educate about the pressing topic of climate change, as well as to be a part of the design of the construction of a live project. The final outputs for the project will be a site model presented to the school along with a design document and a building model that will be presented at the exhibition.
Posted 31 Jan 2019 15:56
St. Mary’s in the southeast of Manchester is a Roman Catholic Primary school accommodating for ages 5-11. The site is mainly single-storey teaching accommodation with one block of two-storey which sits up against the main road, shielding the various play areas from noise. Outdoor spaces are divided up into many sections, giving the children and the teachers the ability to learn and teach in several ways about many different things, including forestry. The specific site sits within these learning spaces and will require of the project the same intrigue and fun that the others maintain.
Posted 17 Jan 2019 18:04