An almost invisible architecture of Shelters, Shacks, Sheds, Spaces, Tracks, and Bridges…
My project began with the idea of building a bridge. It would cross a small tidal river to an island where a little shed would provide a place to shelter from the weather. The bridge and shed should be simply built from local materials but how to do this? How might care, craft, and attention be applied so that the apparently ordinary might become architecture?
This led to thinking about a landscape now empty of industry and to ways that might see a return of employment. A workshop shed-shelter building was designed to house the making of small structures using traditional methods of timber framing. Sited on the north bank of the river the workshop could be serviced by boats, supplying materials and exporting products. Over time associated craft-based activities would evolve and skills would be taught, accommodated in adjacent buildings that shelter an outside public yard. A landing stage and public café would be added. Residences might be added. Lastly a pedestrian footbridge could be constructed over the river, allowing people to follow the line of the old dismantled railway and thereby access to this ‘area outstanding natural beauty’.
The setting for this work is the River Ouse near Hamsey, north of Lewes, in East Sussex. Although within the South Downs National Park the land does not currently lie in public ownership. This is a location where apparently it is not possible to build. The aim, therefore, was to develop a slow gathering of buildings and spaces that would appear to entirely belong through a form of architecture that in plain sight would be almost invisible.