The weather wasn’t too kind to us on the first stay of the workshop, but the team stayed positive and smiled through soggy feet.
We started off with introductions – to everyone in the team, ASF-UK, and the Building Plot. Andy led the briefing, and explained where the project has come from, and where we hope that it is going.
The Building Plot developed as an idea a couple of years ago – from a combination of growing interests and concerns within ASF-UK and a relationship with the Eden Project in Cornwall. We felt frustrated by the waste within the construction industry, and were interested in how to localise design and construction, and address the inefficiencies in the process. The Eden Project gave us a piece of land to test ideas. A period of research and development followed looked at the feasibility of creating a social enterprise prototyping building components from waste materials, and finding markets for the components and ideas. A harvest map was used to track waste streams and locations within a 50 miles radius of the site. From this a small workshop pod was built in 2009 using materials from a small selection of the suppliers identified.
These two 4-day workshops are about skills training, testing materials, fun, and possibly a built intervention. As a group the first question that came up was ‘what is the vision?’ This generated a discussion which essentially became a brief.
We discussed the brief for the site, the materials available and desired, and what initial ideas that people were thinking about. We also started to talk about the skills available in the group, from timber carpentry to the creative re-use of car tyres and green technology. Despite the rain it seemed a good idea to start testing ideas on site, to really understand the space and the context. One team hooked up a canopy so that work could continue despite the rain, and the rest of the team looked at the materials we had on site, and how to start to develop connections.
After lunch and a brief discussion, a small team were shown how to deconstruct a tyre to get a strip of rubber. The team became pretty good at it, working up a sweat from the energy involved and showing new people how to get started. Another group looked at how to integrate the existing workshop pod into the design, and a few of us went to collect timber and more tools.
By 5pm we thought everyone had done a good days work and so we started to pack up and most people spent a few hours exploring Eden before coming back to a soggy campsite!