National Trust, Ightham Mote, Kent, 2014.

This OB1 LIVE collaboration with the National Trust was comprised of three phased projects on the themes of approach, enter and dwelling. The focus of these projects was to investigate and propose revised entrance strategies for Ightham Mote, a 14th century manor house in Kent.

Phase 1. “Creature Houses” consultation event. In order to explore the way that visitors approach, enter and dwell, full scale Creature Houses were designed, made and installed in the courtyard as part of an event to consult visitors about their experience of visiting the house. The installations were designed to accommodate bats, death watch beetles and even accommodation for wallabies that had escaped in the area and formed a “mob” in the grounds.

Phase 2. “Entrance Strategies”. The consultation event informed site strategies for improving the experience of entering and orientation for visitors. Strategies were presented to the National Trust using films and models. Proposals included different entrance routes to take advantage of seasonal change and journeys that focused the visitor on the beautiful sounds of the place.

Phase 3. “Entrance Building”. To conclude the project and connect the themes of approach, enter and dwelling, each student designed an Entrance Building to the site that included an exhibition about the house and grounds as well as providing welcome, tickets and visitor information. Proposals included building forms that made a virtue of the unusual sunken topography of the site and others made uncanny spaces that embraced the intriguing nature of the place. A book recording the project outcomes was presented to the National Trust for discussion as they address the visitor experience to the site.

The National Trust. With thanks to: Nic Durston, Tom Freshwater and Bernadette Gillow.

Staff, volunteers and visitors to the National Trust’s Ightham Mote.

Jane Anderson, Dr. Orestes Chouchoulas, Ruth Cuenca, Dr. Orsalia Dimitriou, Rob Houmøller, Peter Merrett, Pouya Zamanpour

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