The Cook School is a place for fifteen people to work, live and learn “off grid” for a year. It is located in Braco, a rural and distinctive landscape in Perthshire, and home to one of the finest examples of a Roman fort in Britain. It was for this reason I felt it essential not to overpower the site’s ancient authority but to enhance the special quality it has as a ruin. The Cook School is a building based on simple architectural principles that respond to their context through light, material and function. It sits gently within its delicate setting but continues and amplifies its surroundings. I drew on the passive ideals of hermits and monastic communities as ancient environmental precedents. The scheme reinterprets and becomes part of the lost ramparts, destroyed by previous settlements, through the use of materials and forms that work well close to the ground. The building hence creates a direct relationship with the growing and cultivation of food at a very human scale.
En-titled ‘linger, savour, touch’, the Cook House project embraces the principles of the Slow Food movement and utilises them as a metaphor for Slow Architecture. The rural location, once home to a Roman Fort whose memory still exists physically on the site, provides a challenging and beautiful context on which to locate this place to dwell.
The relationship between slowness and the building required a textural and sensual approach to the challenges set.
The Cookhouse is a sensitive addition to the unique but eroding manmade landscape, proposing a 21st century addition to mark both the place and support and enhance the activity which it contains. Jack’s proposal demonstrates an astute reading of this sensitive site, carefully responding to the decaying ramparts and offering a self sufficient home for the resident cooks to live and work, providing an inspirational place for the celebration of growth, cooking and eating intrinsically connected with its locale.
The proposal is also driven from a sustainable imperative where location, building form and fabric mesh with the poetics to deliver an environment for human comfort supported totally from passive means.
Jack’s working method has been intensive and rigorous utilising an extensive process of model making hand drawings and computer modelling, together with theoretical and technical explorations that has resulted in a proposal that has reached a high level of refinement and is both materially tactile and culturally and technically aware.
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• Entry Date: 29 August 2010
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