A building like an asymmetric gemstone sits in the middle of the forest. The smooth exterior contrasts with an exposed frame of load-bearing logs. The varying dimensions of the logs immediately catch the eye. Larch is used for its durability and availability.
A great deal of larch is currently being felled in the UK to prevent the spread of sudden larch death caused by the water mould phytophthora ramorum. Larch frames were built on the ground and then lifted into place, before being covered with exterior cladding sawn from 30 locally felled Western red cedars.
The Hooke Park Assembly Workshop is a collaboration between the Architectural Association’s Design+Make programme and the architectural practice Invisible Studio. The workshop will be used as a place for the programme’s students to construct new buildings for the campus.
Structural engineering firm Atelier One helped to calculate all the forces at play, a task made more complex by the naturally varied dimensions of the logs. The factors that had to be taken into account included narrowing, log straightness and strength, which was assessed by counting the number and size of knots.