ProjectRDLAC Garden Room


ClientRDLAC Community Centre

ContractorStudio Bark Projects


A live-build education project to close gaps in climate literacy and diversity

A live-build education project to close gaps in climate literacy and diversity

RDLAC Garden Room is a community project for Royal Docks Learning & Activity Centre in Newham, East London. The project was an early iteration of Studio Bark's No Building As Usual program, designed to close the gap in diversity and climate literacy in the construction industry.

Photo of tools and tape against timber background

Building diversity in architecture education

Studio Bark is passionate about teaching sustainable construction and has been running educational live build projects with students since 2012. Our educational programs intend to respond to gaps within the building industry regarding a lack of diversity and climate literacy. The RDLAC Garden Room project was an early iteration of our educational program which we have now established as No Building As Usual.

A group of people building using modular timber blocks

Workshops with the University of East London

The program involved four workshops.

The first focused on the innovative U-Build modular frame, which was created by Studio Bark. The second workshop focused on prototypes for the modular and demountable green roof system. The third focused on the modular and demountable cladding system. And finally the fourth explored flexible and stackable furniture.

The project itself involved a relatively simple garden room structure. However it incorporated unique environmental features, including a long pop-up hatch window (powered by reclaimed car-boot pistons), a modular (locally sourced) Douglas Fir skin and a modular green roof.

Windows using car pistons as hinges


Studio Bark developed U-Build. a low-impact modular construction system in association with engineering firm Structure Workshop and CNC workshop Cut and Construct. U-Build has been designed to change the preconceptions of self-build. As a result, the RDLAC Garden room presented the team with an opportunity to test the first full-scale prototype of the modular system.


Studio Bark financed the project, supported by a few key sponsors and helpers, including Metsawood (@MetsaWoodUK), Back to Earth (@backtoearthsw), Armaria Design and Butyl Products Group.

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