Students of Design & Make use the prototyping and realisation of buildings as vehicles for design research, developing modes of architectural design that integrate full-scale making. Situated in the unique context of a historic English woodland the course is based at Hooke Park, the AA’s Dorset campus for research in timber and alternative rural architectures. Students inhabit an environment that combines studio, workshop, building site and forest as part of a wider rural community that is rich in craft tradition. Working within a masterplan for the extension of the campus, student teams design and construct experimental projects at Hooke Park. This research is structured in two strands: innovative environmental design tested through the holistic design of complete buildings, and the development of material-construction systems using new fabrication technologies and the timber available from the surrounding woodland.
Two courses are offered: a 16-month MArch course for graduates of architecture (5 years’ previous study) and a 12-month MSc course for graduates of architecture, engineering or other relevant disciplines. Both courses consist of seminar classes, design-make studio projects and the individual production of a dissertation (MSc) or thesis (MArch). For MSc students, the final projects consist of full-scale prototype structures in timber, whereas the MArch students collectively design and construct permanent buildings within the Hooke Park campus. The fundamental academic premise is common for both courses: that research-derived knowledge in architecture is best acquired through the concrete realisation of design intent.