Staff and students from the University of Westminster had a great opportunity of designing and building ‘The Growing Space’ at Cody Dock, with three year funding from the QHT.
This is a fantastic opportunity for students to gain direct, hands-on experience of the design and construction process, enhancing and broadening their range of skills, and developing their confidence through dealing with stakeholders and construction professionals.
Students are applying their academic learning to professional contexts thus enhancing confidence whilst widening their understanding of the complex relationships between stakeholders. Live projects help apply students’ technical and social skills. Whilst the focus is on the practical ‘impact’ of the work, a primary driver is the development of ‘soft-skills’.
Cody Dock has provided a unique opportunity to apply our knowledge to real use and the charity is a fantastic showcase, which students have been studying in detail. Students have been learning about the multi-layered benefits to communities and taken part in many of the activities: the therapeutic gardening and community workshop element of our Live Project provides a great programmatical base. We are using sustainable building methods and regenerative design is at the heart of what we do.
The project aims to be a beacon of community engagement and to inspire children and young people from challenging contexts. The projects will include outreach exhibitions building on initiatives and allow students to tap into their own local knowledge networks and communities. Students are taking part in Cody Dock’s community engagement programme and are very interested in the area exploring the ecological richness within this historically significant post-industrial site.
We have received in depth briefing from the Team of Cody Dock and provided a fantastic experience for students to work with real clients who have such a far-reaching vision and values. We have interviewed the therapeutic gardener, learned about social prescribing and local gardening, taken part in the citizen scientist programme amongst many other activities and students have participated the varied programmes, broadening their horizons and initiating regular volunteering. Students have presented their design to the client, who provided valuable feedback, which we are in the process of incorporating into the final detailed design.
We are working cross-disciplinary with our environmental designers, understanding environmental conditions and requirements throughout the seasons and developing a strategy for this. There is a water collection system and we are looking into irrigation systems as well as exploring the possibility to install hydroponics systems.
Partners: Nicholas Alexander, OfCA, Webb Yates Engineers