The Rochester Roundhouse is a permanent live build project designed and constructed by seven Master of Architecture students working alongside volunteers from the Newcastle University ‘Go Volunteer’ initiative and members of the local community. The project was developed in partnership with the Kielder Water and Forest Park Trust, Kielder Art & Architecture and Rochester Village. The Rochester Roundhouse is located in the Northumberland National Park on a dramatic site just south of the ancient Roman fort of Bremenium. The site has significant historical and archeological significance and the students had to navigate and work their way through difficult legislative constraints as well as taking responsibility for project management and cost control.
The students worked closely with the local community throughout the design and development process and they have collaborated with representatives and organisers of music events, toddlers groups, local schools and bushcraft skills training all of whom have contributed to the design process and are the beneficiaries and users of the completed structure.
Clients: Kielder Water and Forest Park Trust, Kielder Art & Architecture and Rochester Village
Tutors: Professor Graham Farmer, Peter Sharpe
Other Facilitators: Red Kellie & NUSU Go Volunteer, Rochester Village residents
Students: Megan Jones, Rumen Dimov, Josh Long, Mundu Sinvula, Simon Baker, Corbin Wood, Alex Burnie
Research Question: ‘Testing Ground’ is an ongoing research and teaching project established in 2013 by the School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape, Newcastle University and the Kielder Art & Architecture programme. Testing Ground is seeking a long-term understanding of small-scale, locally generated variants of built environment sustainability and is aiming to ground live build pedagogy within a consideration of the broader ecology of the building process, by using locally sourced materials, or reusing or recycling locally available resources where possible. Testing Ground is also aiming to explore social sustainability, by working directly with communities in participatory ways, using local expertise or providing local training opportunities whilst also adding a direct social and economic benefit to remote rural communities. Testing Ground is run as a ‘Linked Research’ module under the supervision of Professor Graham Farmer and Peter Sharpe, Curator of the Kielder Art and Architecture Programme.