As part of our Collaborative Process Exhibition we designed and build a 1:1 prototype structure, exploring the concept of flat pack, temporary architecture.
The design, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Bishop’s Hat’, was first sketched following a series of community engagement workshops we held at various churches in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight. Faced with the challenge of activating and heating old, large and often protected spaces like churches, the studio explored the idea of ‘a room within a room.’ By building a smaller temporary structure within a larger volume the community could continue to use the space while only needing to heat the smaller area. In the warmer months the structure could open out, split apart and be reconfigured to house different activities, once again utilising the larger volume within the church.
The design is demountable, modular and simplified into a ‘kit of parts’ requiring only an Allen key to fully assemble. It is made with a timber frame and OSB clad, built as corners that can come together or break apart, each ‘part’ can slot in and be re-configured upon the base. The 1:1 prototype build was intended as a proof of the concept, that the design can be constructed, utilised, deconstructed and reconfigured in different places and forms. We were all happy that it worked successfully; after four days constructing all the parts, it only took 1 hour to take down and flat-pack!
The vision was to create a structure that can act as a temporary activator. By deploying the structure into an existing space in need of reimagining, it can gather its community in a safe and warm space to host activities and conversations and spark new ideas. With the next iteration we hope to explore its functionality further, with integrated upgrades such as insulation, electricity and cladding so this simple structure could take on many more forms.
We collaborated with Reading School of Architecture to involve two of their students, Dorina Boros and Anna Knight Gonzalez, to join in the building of the structure and to reimagine the design in different formations and locations across Southampton. The students’ designs were presented, along with the built structure, at our exhibition at God’s House Tower in Southampton.
Many thanks to the amazing build team, Peter Bolton, Robin Price, Kane Applegate and Laura Whitney. Also, thanks to Bentley SIP Systems who provided the materials and to God’s House Tower for letting us create a lot of sawdust in their amazing exhibition space!
We plan for the structure to evolve and take a journey with us to new projects and places. If you can imagine the Bishop’s Hat in one of your spaces, please reach out to our team!