The contemporary desire to set historic landscapes in aspic is recognised and repudiated by the Hadspen Estate’s present custodian Niall Hobhouse. From its origins in the late seventeenth century, the estate has undergone many changes in its ownership, its boundaries and the use of its land. Accordingly, Hobhouse has emphasised loose-fit strategies to enable its further development. The main house and other properties have been renovated and restored, but other additions have been pursued that simultaneously engage with and demonstrate ambivalence to its historical situation.
In this spirit we have been invited to make theoretical proposals for a new settlement on the estate for sustained economic use and also to propose strategies that will ensure its future independence in terms of energy and water supply.
On our visit to Hadspen, the students were asked to identify, measure and record in precise drawings and rigorous photography the following:
• The estate as a whole.
• A site for their individual proposals for a belvedere.
• A site for the belvedere to be constructed by the studio in March.
• A site for their individual proposal for a settlement.
The photographs and drawings that the students have undertaken at a range of scales give emphasis to significant existing settlements and structures, landscape attributes, topography, land use, routes and energy infrastructure.