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​THE KINGCOMBE CENTER

2017 Architectural Association Design&Make

The Kingcombe Boardwalk & Pavilion was initiated as part of collaborative research project developed in partnership with the AA School at Hooke Park and the arts charity Common Ground, seeking to explore ways in which contemporary forms of rural architecture might emerge through an engagement with the landscape, culture and people of West Dorset.

Working in partnership with local craftspeople and ecologists, the aim was to test both innovative design ideas and methods of construction – focusing on locally sourced skills and materials, the accommodation of landscape and wildlife within architecture, community engagement, and interdisciplinary practice.

Designed in collaboration with Timber Workshop and engineering firm Structure Workshop, the project focused on the reconstruction of a boardwalk and pavilion at the Kingcombe Centre – a nature reserve run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust.  With additional input from furniture designer Alice Blogg, graphic designer Eva Kellenberger and landscape designer Sara Sall, it was built incrementally over two years as part of short design/build Visiting School workshops. Based at the AA’s rural campus in Hooke Park, these involved small groups of international architecture and design students eager to learn from a hands-on engagement with materials, a site and community. In this way, education and exchange was a core part of the project – with the definition of ‘localness’ being informed by the cultures and experiences of a range of different people.

 

Phase One of the project was completed in July 2017 using British-grown timber donated by Hooke Park and the Woodland Trust, and was also supported by local businesses and foundations, whilst Phase Two was completed in 2018. A number of public events such as lectures, story-telling, volunteer opportunities and celebratory ‘Topping Out’ events, took place during the Visiting Schools to enable engagement with the wider community.

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