Designed by Richard Burton of ABK and Frei Otto, with the engineers Buro Happold, Hooke Park’s workshop uses spruce thinnings to form a vault from a series of compression arches. The result is a remarkable long-span enclosure built using low-value material from the surrounding forest. Now 25 years old, the building has needed remarkably little maintenance given its experimental nature. It is heavily used throughout the year by AA students.
The 600sqm workshop building consists of three timber shells. Two of the three bays of the roof accommodate a well equipped joinery workshop while the third contains studio and office facilities. The arches that form each bay are arrayed in a fan-like arrangement and are of spruce thinnings of typically 100-150mm diameter. Initally straight, and fixed at their bases, pair of these elements were bent downwards to form the arching curve and a central third element spliced in at the crown.