The Design & Make Studios runs throughout Phase 1 of the course and consists of three studios (Induction Project, Core Project, and Hooke Park Project). Through increasing size and complexity, they lead to the production of a complete, full-scale, experimental building at Hooke Park. Progressively, methodologies of designing through making are introduced and developed. Each studio is supported by visiting tutors, mentors from practice, consultants and other invited lecturers, critics and jurors; and are carried out in the D&M studio space, the fabrication workshop, and the ‘big shed’ assembly workshop.
The four-week Induction Studio provides an intensive introduction to the essential techniques of contemporary design production. Design software tools (Rhino, Rhinoscript, Grasshopper) are introduced through a series of taught workshops. These cover the fundamentals of 3d modelling, generative and parametric modelling techniques, and the principles of integration with digital fabrication. Initially based at AA’s London facilities, parts of the Induction Studio are shared with a workshop group from AA DRL (Design Research Laboratory). The course is concluded in its final week with the integrated design and manufacture of small (furniture-scale) pieces using the Hooke Park workshop.
The remainder of term 1 consists of the Core Studio in which inhabitable 1:1 test constructions are made in the Hooke Park landscape. Here, the focus is on experimentation and the development of a design methodology which reciprocates between on-site making and studio-based representations (ie one that is explicitly counter to the conventional process of design being complete before construction begins). The constructions act as a vehicle to research and test architectural ideas that will be developed further in proposals for the Hooke Park Project and accommodated in the final built project. An individually produced design-dossier submission documents this research.
The Hooke Park Project commences in term 2 and consists of the concept design, scheme design, design development and construction documentation of the project that will be completed at Hooke Park during Phase 2. Fundamentally, each of these stages is is driven by full-scale prototyping, mock-ups and physical testing, carrying out in the Big Shed and on the actual site for the building. On returning to Hooke after the Christmas break, the student cohort is helped to structure itself as a design atelier, to work collectively on the design development of the project(s) to be built. Working closely with consultant engineers, the various building sub-systems (structure, façade, fit-out, plumbing, electrics, and other environment systems) are fully defined. Presentations are made at the end of each design stage by the students to the AA Hooke Park Advisory Group and cost consultants for approval. The Studio is concluded with the submission of a collective Design Report document.
The Make Studio runs from the start of Phase 2 to the Completion Deadline (end-October 2012) following which the build project is assessed. During the academic summer break (July-September), taught activities cease but on-site activity continues. Students are required to spend a minimum of 4 weeks at Hooke Park during this period, contributing to the making of the building they have designed.
The Make Studio begins around the middle of summer term, with the mobilisation of the project’s site as a managed and regulated building site, with the relevant CDM and other health & safety regulations observed. Depending on the nature of the building project, professional contractors and trades-people are engaged where necessary to supplement the skills of the students.