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common room


Cover Page Drawing of willow detail Jasper Stiby


Common Room First year live build project 2018/2019 University of Cambridge, Department of Architecture


Acknowledgements Thank you to the organisations who donated materials and who helped fund the project. Also to the volunteers who gave us advice and feedback at reviews, those who aided with the assembly of our elements, members of the Empty Common Community Garden Group, photographer Philipp Ebeling and our studio tutors. Client Empty Common Community Garden Group Special Thanks University of Cambridge Department of Architecture Cambridge Association of Architects Neubau Architecture Ltd Smith and Wallwork Engineers The Bikeman Cambridge Roof Exchange Landmark Scaffolding Lensfield Road Cycles Mole Architects Musgrove Willows S and G Cycles Travis Perkins

People To Thank Charlotte Synge Ian Cray (ECCG Group Coordinators) Simon Smith (of Smith And Wallworks) Martin Barras Hugh Craft Natalie Matanda Alice Hamlin Cristiano Lamarque April Glasby Francesca Sorrentino (Installation helpers)

Studio Master Julika Gittner Design Tutors Francis Fawcett Raphael Lee Jim Ross Book created by Bushra Tellisi Mollie Ring-Hrubesova Dorothy Zhang GrĂŠta TĂłth Millie Mitchell Eleanor Lee


Contents Empty Common Community Garden Design Brief Collaborative Effort

1 - Door 2 - Screen 3 - Exhibition Wall 4 - Storage 5 - Window 6 - Library 7 - Seat 8 - Hearth On Site Installation

2017/18 Design Competition Planning and Next Steps

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Appendices

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Elements

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Introduction

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Introduction


Introduction - Garden

Empty Common Community Garden Empty Common Community Garden is a thriving community lead green space, located in South Cambridge. The group is inclusive, open to anybody interested in the gardening culture and welcomes visitors to enjoy the space. Their philosophy centres around principles of sustainablity and self-sufficiency, growing food and flowers with no pesticides. The community garden aims to encourage bees and insects, as well as other wildlife, a recent example being trialling a bee home. This vibrant and friendly group of people are keen to encourage others to be a part of their approach to green spaces and permiculture. Having been awarded £15,000, funded by Cambridge Council and the University of Cambridge, the gardening group wanted to build a meeting shelter. We worked closely with Charlotte and Ian, the group’s coordinators, to ensure we responded to their aims for the project. “The students really took our request for recycled materials on board and most of the scaffolding and the scaffold boards are ex-building site use and were donated. Tin cans, from the college canteens, make a great facade; woven scrap bike tyres add local flavour while woven willow gives a natural touch. This was chosen to go with our own willow hedging, which can be used for repairs. Everything is down at the garden. It is much bigger than we asked for and we still haven’t got planning permission and the grant through, but we have some lovely structures to build with when we do.” (Charlotte, ECCG group coordinator)

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Above Birds eye view of the garden Photo by Francis Fawcett

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Introduction - Garden

Top Vista walking through the community garden Photo by Philipp Ebeling Above Photos and sketches of garden Rachel Caul

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Introduction - Design Brief

Design Brief The brief of this project was to design an indoor event space where local groups can meet, share skills and hold informal learning and making sessions. Neubau Architects’ design consists of a small platform that holds an building made up of eight wall elements of which some rotate and some are fixed. The structure is held up by a lightweight frame made from scaffolding and allows seating for about 20 people, covered by a tarpaulin roof. Each of the building’s wall panels has a discrete function such as acting as a door, a screen for projection, storage or a view to the outside. Each element needed to be fully functional, weathertight, conform to the engineer’s specifications and work with the other elements of the building to form a cohesive whole. This opportunity to design, calculate and construct a live project is scarce in architectural education, especially for first year students. We were extremely excited about this chance to be introduced to architecture through active engagement beyond the A1 page and being invited to share our ideas about what the structure could be.

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our element in context of structure personal perspective drawing and computer-generated views exploring how the structure will look from


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1 - Door 2 - Screen 3 - Exhibition Wall 4 - Storage

5 -Window 6 - Library 7 - Seat 8 - Hearth

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Left 3D visual sketch of structure Eleanor Lee Above Graphic of the elements and structure in plan Gréta Tóth

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Introduction - Collaborative Effort

Collaborative Effort Working on one structure all together as a year group as a crossteam collaboration was a challanging but exciting task. Not only did we work in groups of four or five on each element, but all of the groups had to come together to create a holistic design. There were many big group discussions throughout the design process helping development by allowing us to bounce ideas off of each other, gaining a better insight as a result. Working directly with both Charlotte and Ian from the garden group, as well as the project architect and engineer, also caused us to work collaboratively, thinking about different needs for the design and spurring new ideas.

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Opposite Development of group model Photo by Mykola Murashko Above Review discussion over models Photo by Eleanor Lee

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Elements


1 - Door The brief was to design a main entrance for the building in the West rotating wall element.

Yeliz Abdurahman Marcus Fernandes Lydia Roe Maya Suvarna


Element 1 - Door

Door We were excited to explore the idea of threshold in our project as the door is the visitor’s first physical interaction with the building. We were attracted to the idea of creating a space which could expand from the door to create a porch. Ultimately, the idea of having a deceptively plain exterior and a more interesting interior became central to our design. There was something very exciting about the charm of collaging. What started off as the idea of combining a few doors became a curious piece composed of wardrobes, cupboards, dollhouses and drawers. Our main aim was to create a wall that was visually stimulating with dimension and intrigue as well as a playful character.

Previous page Detail from installation Photo by Francis Fawcett Opposite page Design ideas collage Yeliz Hafizoglu

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Element 1 - Door

We sourced materials through a variety of ways such as through walking around charity shops to discover beautiful pieces of furniture, checking websites like gumtree daily, asking around colleges and searching around Cambridge for the materials we used. This stage was all about exploring and appreciating, being creative but still interpreting this creativity in a way which would be appropriate to the occupants of the building. 20


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Previous page Inhabitation sketch Lydia Roe Above Technical drawing of proposal Marcus Fernandes

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Element 1 - Door

Above Axonometric explosion of parts Yeliz Hafizoglu Opposite page Kit of parts Marcus Fernandes

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We started with the general frame construction that all the groups used but we built in extra struts to support the furniture we wanted to put inside. This furniture was then placed inside and glued and screwed into place. We had to cut up a lot of the furniture or sand edges off to either ensure the pieces fitted or to made pieces more visually attractive.


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Element 1 - Door

Although the final product seems different from our initial idea, we were happy with the outcome. The final design is both practical and playful as the doors open to offer up storage space but also create a cute and kitschy collaged effect.We worked well as a team and were resourceful in the way we collected our materials. By the end it definitely felt like we had become attached to the door.

Right Photos taken during construction

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Element 1 - Door

Above Completed element rotation sequence Photo by Lydia Roe

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2 - Screen The brief was to design a projection screen in the North-West and widest rotating wall element.

Beyyinah Ahmed Tia Grant Adam Hall Manika Patel


Element 2 - Screen

Screen We thought that it was really exciting to design a real and permanent structure as part of a community initiative. The Empty Common Community Garden has a lot of hidden charm and is extremely vibrant and welcoming. We drew lots of inspiration from the ingenuity of the gardeners and the tiny details which made the garden so special and unique, from tennis balls on top of skewers to the carefully painted design on the storage shed. Our initial reaction to the brief of a ‘screen’ was to create a wall of multi-purposefulness; a screen which could be transformative and be used by a variety of demographics. However, once we realised having a variety of pieces and materials on the screen would obscure possible projections onto it, we considered ways to allow the wall to remain interactive without hindering the screen. Further brainstorming unearthed the idea of constructing columns of tin cans instead. We experimented with different ways of manipulating the cans to create a variety of textures and shapes.

Previous page Detail from installation Photo by Beyyinah Ahmed Opposite page Design idea painting Tia Grant

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Element 2 - Screen

Above Tin arrangement modeling Adam Hall Right Visualisation Adam Hall

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The final design embodies everything we had intended it to. The wall element functions as a screen with a white washed reverse to project onto, a handy hatch to trade or pass objects through, and finally an interesting sculptural feature made of decorative tin can cladding. 33


Element 2 - Screen

Above Sketches of the tin can manipulation process Tia Grant

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The main bulk of our materials were tin cans of varying sizes. Roughly 150 cans were needed to complete the entire external face of the wall which we sourced from college kitchens and local shops and restaurants; this was both a sustainable and cost-effective use of material. The tins were hand-washed with labels removed before rolling and shaping to create a faรงade of tear drop shapes which echoed the dynamism of our initial ideas.


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Element 2 - Screen

The tin cans made for an interesting discovery into the use of sheet metal as a cladding material and it was fun to experiment with different techniques in order to create the unconventional, yet interesting patterned design. Our biggest achievement in this project was the collecting, cleaning, cutting, shaping and nailing of all the individual tin cans onto the wall. We are especially pleased with our material choice and decision to recycle these from university colleges and restaurants across Cambridge. This fits with the ethos of the community garden and it will be interesting to see how the design will gradually change over time, as the tin naturally ages and rusts. Given more time we would have liked to develop the screen element of the wall further as the design remains very conventional, we would have liked to have adopted a more creative approach. This would have had great impact on the inner space of the structure, especially because this is the largest rotating panel.

Right Photos taken during construction

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Left Completed installed element Photo by Francis Fawcett

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3 - Exhibition Wall The brief was to design a temporary exhibition space for artwork and crafts in the North rotating wall element.

Rachel Caul Abdullah Khan Suzanne Lambeek Barbara รœrmรถssy


Element 3 - Exhibition Wall

Exhibition Wall We were very excited that our first project would be a built project that would be used by the local community. This was an opportunity to create something that could remain in the community garden and help to facilitate the activities that occur for many years to come. The initial brief was to design a table element. However, through the design process, as we began to explore what the community garden required, the brief and function of our wall evolved from designing a table and exhibition space, to the inclusion of a screen, to becoming a screen and exhibition space and finally to an exhibition space which also provided display spaces with a whiteboard and a blackboard.

Previous page Detail from installation Photo by Barbara ĂœrmĂśssy Opposite page Initial design ideas model Rachel Caul

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Element 3 - Exhibition Wall

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We started with the idea of a foldable multi-purposetable, which was an idea that underwent many iterations. Towards the end, we became interested in the idea of foldable doors. We were particularly inspired by the nets covering the plants on the site and thus our screen-doors display drew on this idea through the Japanese-screen-divider inspired effect.

Left Isometric explosion of parts Barbara ĂœrmĂśssy 45


Element 3 - Exhibition Wall

Above Inhabitation visualisation Suzanne Lambeek Opposite page Design technical drawing Rachel Caul

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We used spruce beams, dowels and plywood sheets for cross-bracing. Textured plastic sheets and tissue paper were used to introduce different textures and effects. Because of the specific nature of our design, it was difficult to source recycled materials. Longevity became important to our design, so we researched how to treat our wood, therefore extending the potential lifespan of the exhibition space.


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Element 3 - Exhibition Wall

We loved our final product which emerged as a close representation of how we visualized the design to be. Through this live build project, we learned a lot about the use of different materials and the construction process. It was exciting to see the improvement in our drawings and our design from the first draft to the final product and we can all agree that the whole experience was a learning curve for all of us.

Right Photos taken during construction

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Left Completed installed element Photo by Barbara รœrmรถssy

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4 - Storage The brief was to design a storage space for the electricity generator and chairs in the triangular shaped static wall element.

Rosie Chalk Bence Lipcsei Bushra Tellisi GrĂŠta TĂłth


Element 4 - Storage

Storage We were initially interested in the sunlight on site, and how it channelled through the trees. Another idea we picked up from the garden was the strong use of wood by the community for sheds and panels and the resulting elements of colour distributed throughout the garden. We aimed at reversing the definition of the storage space from being a closed space that can be opened to an open space that can be closed off, hence creating a versatile space that could be used in various ways when chairs are not being stored. We wanted to reflect on the dynamic nature of the building and incorporate the idea of movement: whether in a more literal way or as a more abstract approach, through the means of a pattern. The other main aspect that directed our experimentations was the openness of the storage space, not just spatially but also visually in order to make the element appear as light and translucent as possible.

Previous page Detail from installation Photo by Bushra Tellisi Opposite page Initial ideas visualisation GrĂŠta TĂłth

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Element 4 - Storage

Opposite page Initial ideas visualisation GrĂŠta TĂłth Above Kit of parts Bushra Tellisi

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Whilst sourcing the used materials, our most important concern was to be environmentally conscious and to try to use reused or recycled materials as well as to be economical and source discounted or donated components. We used plastic bags, blue roof battens, different fabrics, handmade buttons, scaffolding poles and key clamps.


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Element 4 - Storage

Our main success was the exterior which consists of two symmetrically patterned walls and a beautiful interior curtain. This created a light, translucent, and visually interesting structure especially in strong sunlight conditions. The facade was also structurally sound despite the use of relatively minimal materials where the crosshatching of the wood helped to brace the structure alongside the embedded membrane of plastic bags which acted as a windbreak. 58


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Previous page Visualisation of mesh outside Bushra Tellisi Above Geometric arrangement sketches for mesh Bence Lipcsei

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Element 4 - Storage

Our construction process could be summed up by the phrase “learning as we went along�. We had some initial ideas about how the elements would be constructed as well as the order of construction, but through trial and error we adjusted our plans to develop a more efficient method of construction for our final design. Additionally, we had difficulty with the construction of the symmetrical and parallel diagonal pattern of the exterior where precision and consistency of measurements was essential to the design. The journey towards the final design brought many iterations and alterations but throughout the project we stuck to the aim of creating a sense of openness in the storage space. In essence, our final design set out what we aimed to achieve: a light structure that transforms the associations of storage spaces as being closed and dark to a light and colourful space. Our final structure may not quite be the realisation of the ideas we had in mind due to the limitations of designing the facade as opposed to the internal space on a practical basis of maximisation of space for storage. However, we learnt a lot about designing with the users of the garden in mind.

Right Photos taken during construction

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Left Completed installed element Photo by Rosie Chalk

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5 - Window The brief was to design a window that looked out onto the adjacent pedestrian path in the East rotating wall element.

Millie Johnson Mykola Murashko Maryam Popoola Ksenia Slutskaya


Element 5 - Window

Window We were assigned the task of designing and building the window element. We were all equally excited yet nervous at the prospect of designing a permanent structure that would be used for years to come. There was a lot of pressure to design something functional yet aesthetically pleasing. The window faces east and is located between the Library and the Storage component. We were all a bit shocked by the minimal amount of light directed at the window’s position and thought it would be quite challenging to reflect that in our design. Ultimately, given the amount of greenery in the space, the aim was to provide a space which interacts with nature in an intimate way while still allowing for normal relaxing activities within the interior. Our ideas evolved from a large window which plays an optical illusion on those passing by where the concave shape of the frame and the shutters achieve the same effect through the careful placement and form of individual fins.

Previous page Detail from installation Photo by Millie Johnson Opposite page Forest of shutters initial idea Mykola Murashko

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Element 5 - Window

The main aim was to find a balance between the flexible, undulating structure initially planned and the practical, structural frame. We decided on a wall component which would accommodate two windows which enable one to enjoy the calming view of nature, and one equipped with a seat. 68


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Above Watercolour light study Ksenia Slutskaya

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Element 5 - Window

Above Kit of parts and assembly of parts drawings Maryam Popoola Opposite page Axonometrics and technical drawings of final design Mykola Murashko

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We used timber for the main frame and plywood for the fins which cover the structure. We utilised sustainable materials in the design of the window using shards of glass sourced from recycled wine bottles embedded in the resin.


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Element 5 - Window

Unfortunately, our resin window was not successful as it became stuck to the frame and had to be chipped off. This was due to the minimal application of Vaseline and oil in the middle of the frame and the use of a wooden frame as a base. We encountered a few problems with the measurements of the trapezoidal fins as they were always too big or too small to fit into the frame. Nevertheless, we are content with the final result as it successfully reflects our idea. Despite the lack of a resin window, it was a successful project and it did reflect our ideas successfully. Other than the creation of tangible structures, another enjoyable feature of this project was working together and discovering each other’s ideas. It is interesting to see the combination of design tactics in the final structure.

Right Photos taken during construction

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Left Completed installed element Photo by Philipp Ebeling

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6 - Library The brief was to design a space to store books and miscellaneous gardening objects in the rectangular static wall element.

Amy Ma Millie Mitchell Daniel Sars Dorothy Zhang


Element 6 - Library

Library Our element was initially about libraries and storage. Sited with the back of the element towards a public footpath, we wanted the element to be visually interesting both on the inside and outside especially to the casual passer-by. There was pressure in designing an element that could be both exciting and loadbearing. Our initial interpretation of the space was as a library, but when considering the users of the garden, we were interested in offering storage for more than just books and began to explore the possible uses of the space.

Previous page Detail from installation Photo by Millie Mitchell Opposite page Painting of woven basket Dorothy Zhang

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Element 6 - Library

We were interested in using a combination fo materials, both natural and manmade, like those found in the garden. We were inspired by the repurposing of materials, a theme central to the community garden. We used recycled planks of wood and scaffolding poles which we found were effective as load bearing elements, providing lateral stability to the structure, whilst also being visually exciting in an understated way. 80


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Opposite page Scaffolding arrangement exploded axonometric Daniel Sars Above Sketch of design proposal Amy Ma

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Element 6 - Library

Above & right Plan, section and elevation drawings of design proposal Amy Ma 82

The alternating planks create a rhythm to the exterior which is punctured by the exposed scaffolding poles. For the hung baskets, we used willow from the sustainable company Musgrove Willows which, with an expected lifetime of 40 years, may outlast the structure itself.


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Element 6 - Library

Key issues encountered during the project involved the complex use of willow which required a week-long soaking process. This involved the construction of an outdoor pool to facilitate the length of the willow. The size of our structure meant that the frame needed to be built in the architecture department, dismantled, transported and then reassembled on site: a process which required extensive planning of the construction process and and the formulation of a careful order for the joining of the scaffolding poles with key clamps. We were happy with the outcome and feel that the element would provide a useful and beautiful storage space for the community. We expect to see that the element will evolve through time as it becomes adapted by its users, as the willow baskets age and change colour and as the hooks provide greater flexibility in the placement and arrangement of storage within the frame.

Right Photos taken during construction

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Left Completed installed element Photo by Millie Mitchell

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7 - Seat

The brief was to design a seat or seating space, encouraging a moment of pause in the South rotating wall element.

Francesca Jones Gail Lewis Helena Robless Jasper Stiby


Element 7 - Seat

Seat Working on a live project was both exciting and challenging. Our wall element was situated so that it would face the river with a path running next to it. This meant that, although the element would not be visible from inside the common garden, the wall would create the first impression of the pavilion to runners, cyclists and dog walkers walking north on the river path, so we wanted to create an intriguing design that immediately communicated the values of the garden. The proposal we were given was to create a wall and seat element. We started this project by drawing inspiration from the site and experimenting with models to see how we could incorporate a seat element into a garden wall which could blend in with the environment and blur the boundaries between building and site. We were drawn to the idea of organic forms and the bird’s nest shape which led to the creation of a cocoon-like, sheltered environment for the users to sit in. This idea developed into a more rigid, stable seat while retaining the organic form on the woven outside.

Previous page Detail from installation Photo by Helena Robless Opposite page Axonometric of outer and inner face of the design proposal Gail Lewis

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Element 7 - Seat

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Left Exploration into how we sit Gail Lewis

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Element 7 - Seat

Above & Right Kit of parts and assembly Gail Lewis

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We ordered 30kg of hurdle willow. This was hand-woven across a timber frame where we used 2.5m long steel rods as well as saddle clamps to fix the ends of each rod into the frame, forming a loom of sorts to weave our willow around. 95


Element 7 - Seat

Our final design was successful in the sense that we created an aesthetically pleasing exterior wall, as well as a comfortable seat, which was what we intended to build. However, given more time, we would have tried to incorporate willow as a material into the actual seat, instead of the seat being a plain plywood box. The project was very exciting and was a great opportunity for us to experience working alongside various parties such as the architects, engineers, clients, and each other as a year group.

Right Photos taken during construction

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Left Completed installed element Photo by Philipp Ebeling

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8 - Hearth The brief was to design a warm, social, gathering area in the semicircular static wall element.

Charlotte Bird Alias Buchanan Mila Giovacchini Eleanor Lee Mollie Ring-Hrubesova


Element 8 - Hearth

Hearth We were glad to have received the semi-circular element because it presented both a challenge and an opportunity to do something interesting within an unusual form. Visiting the site helped us understand the ethos of the community garden and who we were building for. As a result, the use of recycled materials became very important to our project. Our main inspiration was the simple shape given to us in the brief: a semi-circle. This inspired the idea of a hearth, or central gathering space. Our first design iterations played with the number of facets the structure could have and the possible materials we could use. At the early development stage, we agreed on a five-faceted structure, but our final design ended up being a lot smoother and true to the initial semi-circle shape. Our wall was fixed and part of the load bearing structure which, as a major design consideration, imposed a more stable scaffolding structure around which we had to bring back the semi-circle.

Previous page Detail from installation Photo by Philipp Ebeling Opposite page Sketches of weaving and inhabitation in design proposal Charlotte Bird

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Element 8 - Hearth

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Left Design proposal in context of other elements Eleanor Lee

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Element 8 - Hearth

Above Kit of parts Charlotte Bird Opposite page Exploded axonometric of one of the proposed timber frames Mollie Ring-Hrubesova

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The exterior cladding, timber frame and shelving are made from recycled scaffolding planks, given to us by a local construction company. The planks determined the form of the exterior cladding and led to us deciding to create the rounder exterior, fixed to a scaffolding pole structure secured with key clamps. In between the scaffolding poles we wove panels of bike inner tubes which also make up the material for the seats.


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Element 8 - Hearth

Throughout the design process, we went through a great deal of design iterations. Similarly, during construction, we hit quite a few walls: lots of stacked key clamps, planks being delivered late, methods for creating a curved timber frame being a few. However, we are very proud of the final product. The materials worked well together, the seats were comfortable, and the woven panels were intriguing and inviting. Overall, we think our design was successful and that the space will be used and enjoyed by the volunteers of the garden. It is a multifunctional space to store materials and tools, sit down, or lie back against the weaving. We all learnt a great deal with this project and hope to see it on a platform and under a roof soon.

Above & opposite Photos taken during construction

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Left Completed installed element Photo by Eleanor Lee

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On Site Installation

On Site Installation On 10th November, we installed our elements on site to show how the structure would come together.

Above & opposite page Montage of photos from exhibition preparations Photos by Francis Fawcett & Philipp Ebeling 112


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Appendices


Appendices - 2017/18 Deisgn Competition

2017/18 Design Competition Last year’s first year students took part in a project on this site to propose initial ideas for the structure. Their design brief asked them to design a covered meeting space, located within the garden on the same site. They considered similar ideas of sustainability, versatility, movement, community, and permaculture principles. Visualisations from last year’s design project (left to right) Joanna Lake, Smaranda Rusinaru, Anastasiia Kalinina, Gregory Kirbby, Nabil Haque 116


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Appendices - Planning and Next Steps

Planning and Next Steps This project is still in progress, with several options of how to move forwards. Following our installation event, the constructed wall elements have been put into storage on site until the raised base and scaffold skeleton has been constructed. The gardening group hopes to get a number of volunteers involved in constructing these bigger parts to the structure, then our elements will be lifted into place and the roof added ontop. Once opened, the building will provide a sheltered community space for the gardening group and wider local community.

Right Photo taken during construction Photo by Francis Fawcett

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Appendices

Opposite page Exhibition opening Photo by Francis Fawcett

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First Year 2018/19 Yeliz Abdurahman Beyyinah Ahmed Charlotte Bird Alias Buchanan Rachel Caul Rosie Chalk Gail Lewis Marcus Fernandes Tia Grant Mila Giovacchini Adam Hall Millie Johnson Francesca Jones Abdullah Khan Suzanne Lambeek Eleanor Lee Bence Lipcsei Amy Ma Millie Mitchell Mykola Murashko Manika Patel Maryam Popoola Mollie Ring-Hrubesova Helena Robless Lydia Roe Daniel Sars Ksenia Slutskaya Jasper Stiby Maya Suvarna Bushra Tellisi Gréta Tóth Barbara Ürmössy Dorothy Zhang

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‘Empty Common Community Garden: First Year Live Build Project’ Copyright of University of Cambridge, Department of Architecture In conjunction with Neubau Architects and client Empty Common Community Garden Group Published by James Cropper PLC May 2019 For ArcSoc Student Summer Exhibition Digital copy: https://issuu.com/archuniofcam/ docs/commonroom


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