Hazelmead has arrived and with most of us now living on site we realise how much we need our Common House to complete the development and the cohousing community.
A couple of years ago we were in conversation with Hooke Park, the Architectural Association’s educational facility for landscape-focused design, to explore alternative ways of raising our Common House.
Two of their alumni, Georgina Bowman and Jack Cardno, have since gone on to form Common Practice, a Bridport-based architectural design practice focused on empowering communities to build using local materials. They have developed a natural construction method using low cost, low-carbon, locally sourced and – where possible – reclaimed materials. And it is this model we are using to build our Common House.
Georgina and Jack are now working with Bridport Cohousing alongside SNaB (School of Natural Building) to facilitate a self-build, educational, and contractor-led schedule of works.
Barbara Jones and her colleagues from SNaB are delivering a programme of workshops and training courses which will contribute to the build. As the author of Building with Straw Bales, she is a guru of straw bale construction. The programme also includes concrete-less foundations (using reclaimed F1 car tyres), lime plastering and clay rendering.
Phase 1 is a large multi-functional room with kitchen, toilet and store room. Common Practice have built the wooden frame offsite in their workshop at Denhay Farm with the help of some skilled carpenters and volunteers from Bridport Cohousing.
Andrew, my brother, is going to be moving here hopefully soon, and he’s not able to do this kind of thing so I wanted to contribute on his behalf. It’s been a really good experience to do something practical, learn a few more skills. I think it’s a great, green project.”Volunteer Jerry Smith
Through the courses and volunteering hours, BC members are learning the necessary skills to extend the building next year to add phase 2 – an office and smaller meeting/social space.