This project is concerned with the creation of a research community within a rural context. It is set in Thetford forest, 19,000 hectares of recently planted woodland. This research settlement is to be understood as a satellite of the departments at Cambridge University. It is to promote the independent study of Bio-Technology and Sustainable Agricultural ideas as a social more.
The programme of the settlement is organized around two kinds of research. On the one hand, research that happens in the enclosed and highly serviced environment of a laboratory; on the other, investigations happening in contact with the land. These investigations are set in a “public garden” promoting didactic concerns to a professional audience. The other spaces necessary for the support of the community are study rooms, administration, refectory, short and long stay accommodation, green houses, workshop and storage from gardening machinery and equipment.
The themes explored are:
(i) The ordering of institutional space that promotes strong relationships between its occupants and the community surrounding it.
(ii) The appropriate scale of buildings in relationship to the landscape in which they sit.
(iii) The integration of low embodied energy methods of construction, the use of catalogue and locally available materials
(iv) Methods of energy conservation and natural ventilation appropriate for the comfort and well-being of users in contact with the landscape.