Given imminent environmental concerns, trees are the source of an essential building material for the future. The AA Wood Lab will advance the role of our woodland campus in Hooke Park, Dorset, to educate architects in the sustainable use of forest produce to both build projects and drive new forms of research. Working with leading thinkers and practitioners, and collaborating closely with scientists, the Lab will develop a research programme beyond conventional architectural thinking. Integrating the latest science, design and fabrication technologies alongside traditional material knowledge, the Lab’s problem-solving approach will derive building strategies directly from wood’s inherent properties.
In YR1 we will undertake a thorough retrospective analysis of exemplary projects from Hooke Park’s 30-year history of experimental wood building. Projects have included our own students and tutors, as well as renowned figures such as Frei Otto, Richard Burton and Ted Happold. By looking first backwards, the Wood Lab will project forward, laying the groundwork for projects to come. This will lead to the preparation of a major print publication and launch of an online platform to promote wood research across the AA.
The AA Wood Lab is directed by Hooke Park Warden, Zachary Mollica, and has been made possible thanks to the generous support of John Makepeace – who as director of the Parnham Trust (1982–2001) founded the Hooke Park campus. The Wood Lab is a part of the AA Residence – a cultural platform to research and develop new ideas and forms of practice at the intersection of architecture, art, technology, policy and design.
For all enquiries please email Zachary Mollica.