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-Treehouse Dwelling-

Knock on Wood

The project began by looking at the etymology of the expression “knock on wood”. One theory states that it is a remnant of the pagan belief that trees were the home of the ‘little people’. Knocking on wood would stop these malevolent spirits from hearing your plans and sabotaging them. This developed into a project exploring the acoustic properties of wood; a playhouse where interaction with the architecture produces sound and teaches music. The project is sited in Sheffield town centre, a city notable for music. Sheffield has many derelict spaces, one of which is the often deserted Fitzalan Square. The specific location is on the façade of the old main post office, deserted since the 90s. The building is a small intervention that aims to help repopulate the once busy public space by occupying it with sound. The model incorporates a xylophone staircase, for which there is a working prototype of the hammer action, and a gourd like space where simple music teaching games can be played.

-Fitzalan Square-

-Main Post Office Building-

One of the many derelict pockets of space in Sheffield town centre.

Abandonned since the 90’s.

-Wooden Instruments-

-Jacquard Loom-

An Instrument in ‘Flow’ which translates the Tyne into music. Wooden Piano Hammer African Xylophone Utilizing Gourds

Information carried on punched cards.

Piano hammers hit the keys when someone treads on the steps. Traditional hammers can have more than 60 individual parts- the design needs to be simplified to be feasible.

Gramophones are inclined towards the square, repopulating it with sound.

Xylophone keys can be flexible in size as the note can be tuned by hollowing the back of the key to varying degrees. However, they must be held loosely in order to create reverberation of the air between itself and the existing building skin.

Design reuses original post offices features to create an entrance exclusively for ‘the little people’.

The design is built around the existing staircase.

Inverts the idea that children should be seen and not heard.

-Knock on Wood-

Concept mdoel 1:50


Hammer, a, is held in tension behind the catch, b, at position 1. a

Pressing the step, c, moves the catch sideways slightly, releasing the hammer

2. c

which hits the key, d, with force,


though not enough to bounce back behind the catch, coming to rest at position 2.


-Hammer Prototype 1Keys made of walnut (hard enough wood to reverberate) and held loosely in place by felt.


The catch, b, is held in tension by an elastic chord to the bottom of the step, c,


at position 1. Pressing the step releases catch to position 2. The hammer, a, is pulled down by the string, e,


which is also attached to the step. Once the pressure is removed, the springs, f,




push the step back up and the process is reversed.

2. e

-Hammer Prototype 2-

-Knock on Wood-

1:20 Model, Front Elevation

-Knock on Wood, 1:20 Model Plan View-

-Model DetailsClockwise from top left: site model, music box for ribbons to feed into, xylophone staircase, gourd from inside, gourd structure.



c a

-Night Time View-

-Daytime Viewa. Xylophone Staircase, b. Gourd Playhouse, c. Musical Ribbons Game, d. Organ pipes.

-Chocolate Dwelling-

Sugar Bloom

This project began looking into melting architecture, not simply as a form, but as an action. Sited at Lambeth Pier, along the banks of the river Thames, the programme is for a pavilion that dries flowers from the adjacent garden museum, and translates the movement of water into a release of incense. The Thames was once the source of the Great Stink of London, and as such it is appropriate that the building is in full view of Westminster, where the problem was most pertinent. To create a melting architecture the building references the joints and workings of marionette puppets.

-Site: Lambeth PierDirectly infront of the Garden Museum (a converted church) and in view of Parliament.

-Chocolate Dwelling-

-Mesoamerican Carving-

-Sculptural References-

The Origins of Chocolate.

above: Melting wooden carving below: Henry Moore sculpture

-Chocolate Dwelling-

-Sugar Bloom-

Melting Architecture.

Chocolate’s response to moisture.

-MarionetteA reference for moving joints.

-Chocolate Dwelling View of the pavilion from the Thames.

Above: smoke detail Below: tailored sandbags and airbags, so they stay on the surfacce of the water.

-Incense Pavilion Front Elevation -

-Incense Pavilion Side Elevation -

-Chimney Dwelling-

A Place for Ghost Stories

Sited in Beaconsfield Old Town, a place famed for its ghost stories, the project celebrates the idea of telling stories around a campfire. It is to be located in Beaconsfield Woods. The marshy terrain, suitable for mushrooms, would be difficult to host a campfire; therefore this dwelling creates a hanging cocoon in the clearing. The design incorporates a loosely-tied skeleton, around which is a translucent skin inspired by the tradition of telling stories through light and shadows. It also doesn’t entirely shelter the occupants from the woods, and therfore keeps them as a setting for imaginative stories. The skin is designed to shrink in the heat and act structurally.



Site in the woods


Old Town Church: Thought to be a nineteenth century vicar, this ghostly apparition manifests by the pulpit just before evening prayer. There he remains for a few minutes before fading from view.


Several times during the 1920s, the sound of coach wheels were heard travelling along the road, though nothing was ever seen. It is thought they are related to an accident involving a coach and horses occurring in the early nineteenth century.


Royal Standard Pub: The drummer boy was one of twelve Cavaliers executed outside the pub, and is the only one who remained earthbound

1. 2. 3.

-Beaconsfield Old Town-

-Ghost Stories -

Historic town with a strong tradition of ghost stories.

A selection of tales from the town.

-Chimney Dwelling-

-Site: Beaconsfield Woods -

The woods have a marshy terrain that wouldn’t suit a campfire.

A clearing in the woods has a tree growing sideways, offering the opportunity to have a suspended building.

-Structural ReferencesAbove: Chrysalis, the chimney dwelling will be a lightweight shell that hangs from trees. Left: Batwings, a skin that performs structurally.

-Shadow Theatre ReferencesAbove: Traditional Indonesian Theatre opening. Laft: Film stills.

-Interior View-

-Chimney Dwelling, 1:20 Side Elevation-

The interior seating is connected back to the other trees in the clearing (via the flu).

The lightweight skin is designed to sit on the horizontal branches.

-Chimney Dwelling Plan View-

3 Dwellings  

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