St. John’s is a small Church of England state school, located in the Buckinghamshire village of Lacey Green. The project to design and build a new Music Room for the school was initiated as Clementine’s final design thesis at the RCA in 2014, and is continuing as a long-term collaboration with Grysmdyke Farm, the Architectural Association, and Webb Yates Engineers.
The first phase of the project was developed with input from construction professionals, teachers, parents, children, and a team of international design students who participated in the AA Lacey Green Visiting School. Relationships were established with regional manufacturers and suppliers who enabled the construction of the pavilion through the provision of in-kind support and expertise. The structure was prototyped and fabricated at Grysmdyke Farm, a research and fabrication facility in the village, using timber donated by Hooke Park, a managed forest owned and run by the Architectural Association. As a reciprocal frame, with each member resting on the adjacent one to create an interlocking lattice, the structural design reflects the ethos of collaboration and interdependence within the project as a whole.
The pavilion opened in 2016, and the design development of Phase 2 (when the space will be enclosed as an interior classroom) recently started – with a view to construction taking place in 2017. The second annual Lacey Green AA Visiting School took place in July 2016 and focused on the design and fabrication of furniture for the new space. Through this process of incremental and collaborative completion, the project suggests ways in which built structure can become an ongoing framework for social and cultural infrastructure.
The project won the Sustain RCA award in the ‘Visionary Processes’ category, was highly commended in the Helen Hamlyn Design Awards, and recently received a RIBA McAslan Bursary for Phase 2. If you would like to become involved or support the project in any way, please do get in touch!