ClientDavid Levitt OBE
ContractorStudio Bark Projects
A bespoke lodge in the Norfolk countryside, built by students using traditional local materials.
An enchanting project both in its setting and in the unique story of its construction. Surrounded by quintessential Norfolk countryside, the remote site is located on an idyllic former rabbit warren, accessible only via a long winding track.
The project involved the design and construction of a 100m² low energy timber barn prototype using only UK sourced materials and built by a team of architecture students – most of whom had never picked up a tool before. This approach is one we’re passionate about; bringing diverse groups of architecture students into the heart of the construction industry via our live build programs.
Warren Lodge is a modern interpretation of a traditional Norfolk barn, with a Dutch-style kick in the roof, however, the innovation lay in the detailing. All the building materials originated in the UK. The whitewood structural timber is sourced from Britain, licensed and FSC certified. The handmade clay roof tiles are also made in the UK, as are the trusses. The custom steel gussets are locally made, while the barn is clad in reclaimed bricks and local Douglas fir. Specifically, the interior of the building has been left unfinished, exposing the insulation while enhancing the impact of the two large exposed timber trusses.
The completed building sits naturally in this gentle corner of the countryside, bringing traditional local materials into the present day. Meanwhile its impact will be felt further as the skills and techniques shared in its construction will be carried with the next generation of architecture students.
“I think that architectural students these days, particularly in the era of Design & Build and particularly working for the larger architectural practices, get almost no experience at all of what it’s like to work on site, what the issues are and we hope this will be a really invaluable experience for them… because it’s most unlikely that they’ll get it anywhere else.”
- Client David Levitt OBE, Warren Lodge client and founder of Levitt Bernstein Architects
What was Bark Live Build 2015?
Bark Live Build seeks to bridge the gap between architectural education and the on-site application of architecture. In reality, students can graduate from university with very little understanding of materials, construction terminology, or technical detailing. Hence, opening up the construction of Warren Lodge as a student build project enabled us to pass on these practical and professional skills. The students learned how to run a site and programme, interpret drawings, gain ‘hands-on’ carpentry, joinery and roofing skills – all on an actual project for a real client. With very real budgets and deadlines, the students acquired skills that they can take forward into their architectural careers.
Over a period of three months, we ate, slept and lived on site with the students, teaching them how to use tools and work with each other, arranging tutorials with consultants and suppliers on site so they could pass on their best practice knowledge to the students.
“Being involved in this project has been really influential for me; it’s given me aspirations for what I’d like to do in the future… It’s also given me a broad range of skills, such as roofing, which I’d quite like to explore in the future”
– Nathan Riches, student, Northumbria University
“Before I did #BarkLiveBuild, you’d draw two lines and they’d stand up, because on paper, anything stands up and it doesn’t have to work, so this is mainly just actual, valuable knowledge”
– Rachel Yemitan, student, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
“Truly inspirational, it touched so many – all involved can be rightly proud.”
– Grown in Britain via Twitter
“An inspiring story encouraging people into construction – the message on sustainable products and innovation inspire the self build market.”
– Nathan Garnett, Event Director, UK Construction Week
Bethany Scott, Northumbria University
Daniel Wilkins, University of Brighton
Funto Thompson, The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL
Jason Boamah, University of East London
Imaan Hanif, University of East London
Melvin Wong Qi Han, University of East London
Nathan Rich, Northumbria University
Rachel Jones, Oxford Brookes University
Rachel Yemitan, The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL
Vasco Raposo, University of East London
Wilson Lam, University of East London
Zhi Yoong Law, University of East London
Consultants & Suppliers
BSW Timber Structural timber
Wienerberger Handmade clay pan tiles
Timby Traditional Roofing Roofing specialist
Back to Earth Natural wood fibre insulation
Midland Lead Lead suppliers
Stand Engineers Structural engineer
TRADA Timber consultant
Coillte SmartPly OSB
Anson Timber Works Timber trusses
Mulholland Media Film production
Eastern Counties Sawmilling Mobile sawmill
Berry Hall Woodlands
Whole House Energy
Grown in Britain
Royal Forestry Society
TRADA Timber Research & Development Association
Studio Bark Projects Team