Hyde architects
Teaching Vertical Studio on Gower

Exploring the Topography

The sensory allure of the Gower Peninsula has been the focus of one of this years Vertical Studios’ at the Welsh School of Architecture.

Every year ‘Vertical Studio’ proposals are invited from all teaching, research staff and external built environment professionals, designers and artists.

The summer term provides a great opportunity to broaden the students’ experience in research and design. Options are drawn from research, practice and other interests, to reflect the expertise and enthusiasm of the WSA community.

It was a pleasure to join Sergio Pineda, lecturer and researcher at the WSA along with  Shan Shan Hou. The aim; to help students gain an intimate understanding of the Peninsula (51° 33’48.28’ N,  4° 18’ 12.78’ W), with it’s ever changing weather patterns and rugged coastline.

Stone and Water - Posted by Sergio

The site for this specific project was a dramatic extended outcrop resembling a dragon known as Worm’s Head (“wurm” is an ancient Viking term for dragon) The environment is alive with wildlife that thrives on the isolation. This is reinforced by the peninsula being severed from the mainland twice a day by strong tides.

The Brief
The students were asked to design a grotto at the Peninsula as an interior space of enhanced rarefaction.

‘In atmospheric science, rarefaction is the reduction of a medium’s density, or the opposite of compression. Using it as a spatial descriptor, the Studio will refer to a space that is enclosed yet exposed, where atmospheric properties are distilled, intensifying our perception beyond a given envelope. This does not mean ‘maximum exposure’. Much rather, it refers to capturing unique atmospheric conditions through spatial form for the enhancement of human experience.’

The aim is to use parametric techniques, 3d modelling, and visualisation tools to represent the proposed interior spaces under the shifting atmosphere of the Gower.

Kristian Alexander Hyde

Students: Ben Ludlow, Bryony Martin, David Schnabel, Kate Godding, Korede Coker, Tansy Duncan