Hands-on experience for Architecture students

Each year, students from BArch (Hons) Architecture students visit Hill Holt Wood to explore sustainable approach to architecture and building techniques.

Architecture students gathered in Hill Holt Wood
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Architecture students gathered in Hill Holt Wood

Each year, BArch (Hons) Architecture students visit Hill Holt Wood to explore sustainable approaches to architecture and building techniques. Hill Holt Wood is a woodland social enterprise, working with local community to create a better environment, alongside being open to the public every day of the week.

During the day-long study trip, students were split into three main activities which rotated during the day. The first group had a tour of the wood and was introduced to the principles of sustainable forestry management. It is important for future architects to be able to identify different types of wood, and be able to specify sustainable timber while recognising the differences between hardwoods and softwoods, properties and characteristics.

The second group heard about the sustainable approach of Hill Holt Wood, followed by a tour of the owner of the firms’ house. This introduced the students to principles of eco-design, zero carbon, energy and real-life application.

The final group was more activity-based, and gained some hands-on experience with the materials. Students were introduced to simple techniques of straw bale construction, including making stakes, creating openings and splitting bales. They were then introduced to the principles of reciprocal frames, and made reciprocal frames from locally sourced timber. At the end of the session, the group came together to make a larger structure comprising of straw bales walls with a reciprocal roof on top.

Sustainability is a key industry issue, so the chance to be able to have hands-on experience of materials and methods used in construction gave the students invaluable insight.

Hands-on experience for Architecture students

Published on 15 April 2016
  • Category: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment

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