Straight from the Woods

12 November, 2018

"There is much to learn from architecture, before it became an expert's art."

Bernard Rudofsky



Workshop members are in a woodland with a woodman.  His woodland is two hills away from our new construction project, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - the Chilterns.  It has taken us 15 months to get all the permissions in place and now construction will begin.

We are discussing the felling of his Oak and Larch trees.  This is clearly emotional for him.  Saying goodbye to one of his beautiful 165 year old Oaks will not be easy, it will need to be for a very good reason.  He has chosen to work with us, and not vice versa.  He is the latest Workshop member to help us achieve high levels of craft in our architecture.  The woodman says the Oak is ready to become boards and shingles on our building.  He doesn't do many projects.  I haven't seen these levels of prototyping and craft knowledge since we met Martin the metal man.  Everything is used in the woodland and nothing is wasted.  Making a fire with fire wood.  Making a box from wood with pegs, placed upon the fire.  Steaming bending the Larch in the wooden box.  Affixing the steam bent Larch onto a wooden sub-structure using a wooden mallet made in the woodland.  All Larch and Oak left to weather naturally as the external cladding on two family retreat rooms with uninterrupted views over the Chiltern landscape, from where the trees came.

This is an emotional journey for the Workshop and we are learning so much from the woodman.