The Whiteland’s Making Project 2022: 45 students, 5 trees, many creative specialists, 3 dogs and 6 structures

Nicola Crowson (Director), Guido Robazza (Director), Emily Langdon (Photographer), Gabriel Bernard (Photographer)

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


A community led by students that goes beyond the traditional design studio.

The project aims to engage students to learn about ecologies, timber, improvisation, collaborative making, and phenomenology. 5 trees and waste from the saw-mill were transformed into 6 structures that engage the users in their relationship with the woodland and its ecology. The 3-day adventure was supported by furniture makers, timber framers, architects, sawmill technicians and carpenters. All local business who shared their expertise in supporting students with their visions and learning skills of making. Primary to this is the guiding and nurturing the knowledge of wood, its use and jointing led by our carpentry team some of which are alumni of the School of Architecture.

The Whiteland’s Making Project is a collaborative project between Portsmouth School of Architecture, and The Whiteland Project CIC in the Meon Valley near Petersfield. The Whiteland’s wood is a native woodland restoration project that works with local businesses and educational groups, teaching and inspiring people to value the woodland landscape and the resources it can provide. As a school we have worked with the woodlands founded Johnathan West for nearly 14 years. Since Johnathan death we have been working with the community initiative and the landowner (Johnathan’s Wife) on new ideas.

This year the project promoted a weeklong timber construction workshop in the Whiteland’s wood, where students engaged in the design and build of a series of temporary timber structures, responding to the ecology of the woodland. The structures are designed to remain in place for a one-year period. The timber components recovered will be reused in a sustainable cycle that will engage further cohorts of students. Each making day was supported with a campfire conversation relating to the scales of the hand, body and landscape.

The Portsmouth School of Architecture has nurtured a particular path on building at the scale of 1:1. Taking inspiration from the woodlands and the opportunities presented by the materials. The aim is to make student learn hands-on making and co-creation processes in timber extracted from the woodlands. The experience of designing and making together is transformative. There are no leaders in the design, but only a community of makers. This means everyone can learn from each other as a community of enquiry and everyone has something unique to bring to the process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2022


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