Hooke Park is a 350-acre working forest owned by the Architectural Association and located in the West Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Prior to coming under the ownership of the Architectural Association, Hooke Park was developed in the 1980s as a college for teaching and researching new ways of using wood in furniture and construction. A small campus was built in the forest, following the ethic of using low-value timber from the surrounding forest as construction material. The result was three groundbreaking prototype buildings which demonstrate the rich potential of round-wood construction. These buildings are used by students for workshop, accommodation and dining.
Hooke Park website here.
Forest The Hooke Park estate comprises approximately 140 hectares (350 acres) of woodland, consisting mainly of spruce and beech trees planted in the 1950s. There are also stands of western red cedar, douglas fir and corsican pine, and of combined oak and spruce. Designated as Ancient Woodland, there is a rich variety of woodland landscape, including recently felled clearings, an ancient willow coppice and a broadleaf coppice of ash, hazel, alder and poplar. There is an active forestry programme that maintains the woodland, with the objectives of sustainable timber production and improved biodiversity.
Googlemaps view here.
Studio The Hooke Park workshop building includes a studio space for Design & Make students. The Hooke Park Studio includes computing facilities, photocopier, printers and an A1 plotter. Each student has their own permanent desk in the studio.
Fabrication workshop The Hooke Park workshop is fully equipped with woodworking hand-tools, power tools and machines include a CNC router. The workshop is shared between D&M and visiting groups from the main AA school. Workshop machinery: 3-axis CNC router 1220mm x 2440mm bed, tilting arbour saws, wood lathes, metal lathe, band saws, morticer, planer thicknesser, bench grinder, bench drills, horizontal borer, bench mounting disc sander, belt linisher, panel saw. Spindle moulder and four sided planer (only operated by workshop staff).
Assembly Workshop The, D&M student designed ‘Big Shed’ assembly workshop provides a 500sqm prototyping, testing and pre-assembly space for D&M students.
Robotic Fabrication Facility The Kuka KR-150 robot arm with 2.7m reach is sited in the Assembly Workshop.
Libraries Hooke Park holds a small reference library of books covering topics of sustainable and rural architectures, timber and other fabrication technologies, forestry, furniture making and other crafts. Students also have access to the School’s Main Library in London, and all the other facilities at the AA in Bedford Square.