Established in 2010, AA MArch Design & Make is a 16-month post-graduate design-build masters course in architecture that is based at Hooke Park, the Architectural Association’s woodland campus in Dorset, western England.
Students of Design & Make develop new and alternative modes of architectural design that integrate full-scale making. They inhabit an environment that combines studio, workshop, building site and forest, as part of a wider rural community of rich craft tradition. Working within the framework of a masterplan for the extension of the campus, student teams design and construct new experimental buildings at Hooke Park. The core outputs of the course are a collectively designed-and-made experimental building and an individually produced design research thesis.
Because students live, work, design and build at their building site, a unique opportunity is presented to generate architecture in response to the conditions and phenomena presented by the site, contact with the materials of building, and reactively through the processes of fabrication and construction. Environmental and ecological imperatives are experienced directly and so approached with design immediacy.
Design & Make is open to postgraduate students of architecture who wish to pursue design and realisation of alternative rural architectures. With access to the woodland as a source of building material and to Hooke Park’s woodworking facilities, timber building technologies underlie the programme’s agendas. With timber framing experts as part of the teaching staff, the reciprocal relationship between construction and design is made explicit.
The 16-month programme consists of two Phases delivering four types of taught component:
Phase 1 (Terms 1, 2, 3): Design Studios and Seminar Courses
Phase 2 (Summer & Term 4): Make Studio and Design & Make Thesis.
Term 1 (Oct, Nov, Dec)
Induction Studio: a 4-week introduction to the programme’s key design methodologies
Core Studio: a 6-week design research project, constructing inhabitable structures in the Hooke Park landscape
Seminar Course 1: Making as Design – exploring the histories, theories, and cultures of architectural design philosophies that prioritise making.
Seminar Course 2: Agendas of Ruralism – presenting the cultural and societal issues of rural England and their consequences for design approaches to sustainability and architecture
Term 2 (Jan, Feb, March):
Project Studio: The collective design of the building at Hooke Park that the student cohort will construct
Seminar Course 3: Alternative anatomies and fabrications
Seminar Course 4: Collaborative practice
Term 3 (May, June):
Project Studio: continues
Make Studio: Construction of the building commences
Summer Build period (July, September):
During the summer academic break, construction activities continue at Hooke Park, alongside participants on the SummerBuild programme.
Term 4 (Oct, Nov, Dec):
Make Studio: concludes with the completion of the building(s) in late October.
Thesis: the D&M Thesis is completed for submission at the end of the programme (January 2014 for the 2012 intake). This is an individually produced design research thesis that derives its propositional argument from the student’s engagement within, and critical analysis of, the built project and the process of its design and production.
AA graduate school website here.