AA Design + Make Masters study at the Architectural Association Hooke Park

Timber Seasoning Shelter

The Timber Seasoning Shelter is a 150sqm canopy that will be used to shelter the stacked drying of Hooke Park sourced timber for future projects. The student designed and built project has been used as a vehicle to test the innovative use of steam-bent timber elements in a reciprocal grid structure.
The team developed an steam bending machine capable of creating the unique geometry of each of the 148 paired elements of beech timber sawn from trees selected from the Hooke Park woodland by the students.

Student team: Meghan Dorrian, Kawit Ko-Udomvit, Omri Menashe, Glen Stellmacher

Tutors: Charley Brentnall, Stewart Dodd, Martin Self

Workshop and site supervision: Charlie Corry Wright, Edward Coe, Jack Hawker

Structural Engineer: Arup (Francis Archer, Glen Rust)

Membrane supply: Architen Landrell

Timber Testing: Bath University (Nick Gathercole)


  • TSS Film – Safwat & Williams April 22, 2014

    May Safwat and Henrietta Williams (graduates of the AA’s AAIS programme) have completed a short film about the project:

  • TSS complete! April 8, 2014

    Photos: Valerie Bennett

  • Scaffolding gone February 19, 2014

    The remaining scaffolding has been removed and the columns painted. Photos: Glen Stellmacher.

  • Scaffold removal February 13, 2014

    Despite the wind storms, the scaffolders have removed the majority of the scaffolding today.

  • Video – FINISHING UP February 12, 2014

    Video: Glen Stellmacher.

  • Membrane Installation Nearing Completion January 20, 2014

    Final adjustments are made in the installation of the membrane. All photos: Valerie Bennett.

  • Membrane Installation January 8, 2014

    The team begins to install membrane, cut to shape and patterned to form around a series of ridges and valleys created through push ups and valley cables.

  • Lifting the GlueLam. December 15, 2013

    The team lifts the double-curved glue-laminated beam into position.

  • Dusk working November 24, 2013

    Working late to complete the ‘stitch’ of the component patches together. All of the elements are now bolted into position!  Photos: Valerie Bennett.

  • Doubly Curved GlueLam Layup November 24, 2013

    The team works to lay up a doubly curved glue-laminated beam, which will serve as part of the perimeter to the structure. Each lamella within the beam has been CNC-cut from ash planks, each with unique curved geometries according to their positions. Photo sequence: Glen Stellmacher

  • Video – LIFTING Z November 17, 2013

    The lift day for patch Z – the final piece of the canopy. Video: Glen Stellmacher.

  • Seaming Patches W-X-Y November 5, 2013

    The team commences to close the gap between two large prefabricated patches of the structure. Photos: Glen Stellmacher.

  • Lift Day October 29, 2013

    Five payloads are lifted into position throughout the day, culminating in the positioning of patches Y1, Y2, and W onto a temporary scaffold deck. All Photographs credit to Valerie Bennett

  • Video – LIFT DAY October 22, 2013

    Video: Glen Stellmacher.

  • Section W moves out of the Big Shed October 16, 2013

    Following their assembly in the Big Shed, each patch of the structure is telehandled into the yard, awaiting erection by crane.

  • Section Z assembly starts October 3, 2013

    The shelter team begins bending, assembling and construction of section Z of the roof canopy.
    Here the components are uniquely bent to allow for the freeform shape of the canopy to develop in construction.

  • Video – HOOKE PARK MOVEMENT October 2, 2013

    Video: Glen Stellmacher.

  • Assembly panorama September 9, 2013

  • September 8, 2013 – TSS: Resuming Production September 8, 2013

    After a much needed summer holiday break, the team and a new cohort of Summer Build volunteers have resumed the steaming, bending, assembly and construction sequence of the Timber Seasoning Shelter.

  • Steam bending process July 28, 2013

    The steam bending jig consists of twenty pneumatic actuators that push against adjustable blocks which define the unique curvatures of each pair of elements. This sequence shows the process of calibrating the jig to match a projected image of the curvature, introducing the steaming element, then bending the top and, finally, bottom, elements of the paired component.

  • First test bend July 23, 2013

    July 23rd marked the first test bend of the new fabrication jig to be used over the next three months to steam bend 318 unique members.

  • Fabrication preparation July 21, 2013

    During the days leading up to the welcomed assistance of Summer Build, extensive material and systems prep are underway.

  • Prototyping the steam bent components July 10, 2013

    An adjustable pneumatic steam-bending jig has been developed and used to produce a flat prototype patch of the roof structure. In this test, all the components are identical but the actual roof will include variation.


  • Project background July 4, 2013

    Ph1_3 Ph1_2 Ph1_1


  • Felling timber June 4, 2013

    The first beech trees are being felled and assessed for their potential use in the project.