Building Typologies

10th Jul, 2019

Building Typologies - Visits during the SPAB Scholarship

The SPAB Scholarship has already provided us with a huge number of amazing experiences. One for which I am particularly grateful is the opportunity to study building conservation projects and first hand techniques all over the country. This unique programme has allowed me to explore many different vernacular buildings and their construction; it has been incredibly special to travel the UK with like-minded people, and discover areas which were entirely new to me.

Up to the Scholarship, I was working with Caroe Architecture in London. My fascinating projects with Caroe were predominantly central London ecclesiastical, masonry buildings. I am excited to return to this specific context post-Scholarship. I will be looking to find ways in which to embrace the diversity and ‘spirit of place’ I have observed across the UK, and the understanding I have gained of vernacular buildings and their context.

I feel it has been important for me to experience anything with a different building typology to that which I have come across during my professional work. This includes some very exciting and different typologies, such as windmills, thatched walls, and timber frames (lots of these!)

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On Thursday 18th April, we met Tim Buxbaum and explored several Suffolk windmills with him. This included Kersey water mill, a post mill and a smock mill - the first time the different windmill types have been explained to me, and I found each fascinating!

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We spent two days thatching with Kit Davis in Blewbury, 17-18 June. Kit patiently showed us his craft as we tried our hand repairing thatch to a wall. This was an entirely different construction type to anything seen on the Scholarship so far, and all new to me.

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Nick Joyce patiently taught us about timber framing over two days, 5-6 June, in Worcester. Again, this felt new to me - despite having learnt some fundamentals of timber-framing at University and during work, I had clearly forgotten everything! Nick started the day with a test of our knowledge. Mine was seemingly very limited… but at the end of the two days I felt able to identify some parts of a timber frame and loosely understand carpenter’s marks.

We have requested further visits to continue broadening our minds, and to continue to widen our experiences. To name a few, we would like to see:

  • Coastal Buildings (and other exposed buildings) - assess coastal effects on fabric failures and possible repair methods; for example, a Martello tower.
  • Public / Cultural buildings - libraries, art galleries, museums, theatres, cinemas, hospitality…
  • Working buildings - agricultural, Light houses, industrial, mills (more types!), transport buildings…
  • Conservation of modernist architecture - 20th century
  • Managed ruins, and/or previous ruins with new use - Fountains, Astley Castle…