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The Handmade Collective

Part 1 Project 2012
Anwen Regan
University of the West of England Bristol UK
The Handmade Collective mechanises the human condition, its design created by examining the role people seek in the community and the world.

Stroud is a town with a history of a thriving fabric industry, but today it is a disjointed and threadbare community. A town proud of its innovative technologies and independence, a transition town with a buzzing organic market and a co-housing scheme but also a town with social inequalities, poor job prospects and unhealthy lifestyles.

The Handmade Collective acts as a skeleton for rethreading the community through sustainable living and creativity. The Collective provides the learning and skills required to live a sustainable lifestyle. It will be the heart of a community which can grow and extend across the river, built by the residents exploring sustainable technologies and future-proof ideals. Studio spaces and workshops act as small-scale incubators and a community space encourages integration.

The skeleton provides stability, protection and expansion. Body movement, growth and adaptability was studied, learning from systems of the human body to create a building which people can interact with and become an extension of. In Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s words, Our own body is in the world as the heart is in the organism: it keeps the visible spectacle constantly alive, it breathes life into it and sustains it inwardly, and with it forms a system. To develop the personality of the network the building acts as a system, working in the same way as the human body, exploring the relational movement of elements, the growth and intensification of complexity as the community’s needs are aggregated. Orderless feedback loops sense and react to provide the ideal environment. The services, working as inter-linked systems designed from the inside out, form the core of the building.

Recycled and reclaimed materials are the skin of the building, it will decay over time but the skeleton remains an adaptable and reacting system. The human beings living in this environment are part of it. They will not gaze at it, it will seize them and they will become a part of its greater network.

Anwen Regan


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