The Core Studio projects are full-scale inhabitable structures that are designed and built in the Hooke Park landscape. These test constructions act as vehicles to research and test architectural ideas that will be developed further in proposals for the Hooke Park Project. By building using materials from the woodland, designing in immediate response to the site, and coping with the English autumn environment, the realities of a Hooke Park project are understood. The 2011 projects are shown here.

The Cocoon is a design derived from the experience of walking through the forest of Hooke Park in Dorset. Its design explores the relationship between natural light, material and occupational space. It represents a journey through the forest inviting and challenging the visitor to anticipate, imagine, explore and discover the natural beauty of the forest from a uniquely different perspective. Even though it uses the trees as vertical support, the design is site specific as it weaves through 3 selected trees in the forest.

The selection of materials for the project was based on the team’s design ambition to maximise the use of material from Hooke Park. Four sheets of plywood and one western red cedar tree was felled and milled to create this unique ergonomically sensitive design shelter with interior spaces that provide areas for relaxation and enjoyment of the amazing framed views of the winter sunset. An important characteristic and advantage of the green and untreated timber is the high flexibility achieved after milling into thin strips, permitting the cladding strips to bend and take new form.

The interior spaces of the cocoon, enable the visitor to have a unique visual and tactile experience through its undulated canyon-like forms created with the cedar cladding, the fresh smell of the wood and the articulation of the light, bringing the visitor closer to the canopy of the trees and surrounding environment.

Architecturally, the team’s ambition was accomplished thanks to the unique material characteristics, the spatial transformation of the interior spaces through articulation and penetration of the natural light, and a strong tectonic language, achieved by the imperfection but novel materials and form.

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