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Je Ahn of London-based Studio Weave discusses how a series of design and build workshops are reintroducing architects to working on site in this movie by Stephenson/Bishop and Andy Matthews.
Studio Weave co-founder Ahn led this year's Studio in the Woods summer workshop programme for students, architects and designers, first initiated by architect Piers Taylor of Invisible Studio to encourage a more hands-on approach to design.
"It started when a collective of architects came together as friends with the desire to make things with their own hands in the landscape," says Ahn.
Participants use teamwork and communication to design and build as they go rather than drawing and planning off site.
"As architects we are getting pushed further away from what's happening on site and the real world," Ahn says. "You imagine things through your drawings and students are exactly the same, doing hypothetical projects that look beautiful... but how they're actually built and realised is another matter."
Sixty students, practising architects, furniture designers and sculptors spent five days creating timber structures amongst the woodland while camping on site last month.
Designers led five teams to build small shelters hidden in the trees, weave planks between tree trunks and create seating that skirts the edge of the woods.
The workshops take place in a different rural location each year. This year's site was in Stanton Park, near Swindon in Wiltshire.
Swindon Borough Council acted like a client for the permanent structures, the first occasion this has happened in the programme's seven-year history.
"This is the first time that we have a lifespan of these structures, which changed the dynamic of the design quite considerably," says Ahn.
The designs were responses to a narrative about an imaginary community of industrious folk living around the site, created as part of a wider project that Studio Weave has been working on with the council.
"The Studio in the Woods workshop changed the way we practice and how we see things," Ahn concludes.
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