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The New Wildwood: Reinstating Britain’s Forests with Smart Agriculture

Part 1 Project 2019
Aston Oakes
University of Reading | UK
Greenham Ghost Train/The New Wildwood

With the background of the UK's vulnerability of food security and Brexit uncertainty, this project is based on research into the loss of UK wildwoods, medieval small-scale farming methods, modern intensified food production. The potential of the abandoned Greenham Common airbase led to the project for a hybrid landscape design for research into intensified and sustainable farming.

Parallel rammed earth walls root the design as landform 'relic' fused into the adjusted common and airstrip on the Greenham plateau. The deep walls not only house the inhabitation of the research programme, but also subvert the idea of 'the wall as a barrier'. Each wall-strip emerges from the land and then encloses the functional components of the research centre. This, then defines a diversity of spaces which allow a creative social openness without sacrificing specific scientific operations to be studied and analysed.

Foresting Greenham Common, passive climate moderation, along with the use of locally available resources result in an Architecture intimately embedded into its natural and human context.

This project hints at how architecture can synthesise landscape, natural resources and built form, and re-address our relationship with nature itself and ingeniously invert the memory of site.

Aston Oakes


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