Hooke Park (now owned by the Architectural Association) was set up by the Parnham Trust to create a working demonstration of how a sustainable living and working community could be established in the countryside.
A range of buildings were designed that explored different aspects of timber technology in order to investigate how timber, in particular the local forest thinnings, could be better utilized.
The first phase, by Frei Otto, ABK and Buro Happold, saw the construction of a large workshop and a house. We then designed and obtained planning permission for five additional houses.
These houses would each serve a different social purpose in rural and urban situations: three for students, one for a tutor and family and one for visitors.
The five houses, although different from each other, were composed as a coherent group, with a study centre, all linked by a covered way.
Westminster Lodge was the first of these five houses to be built with eight student study bedrooms arranged around a communal space – suitable for seminars and other meetings.