School of the Crafts
The project is defined by its purpose as a place for the teaching and appreciation of traditional building methods and materials and its site alongside the ruins of a 16th century Dutch castle.
The School of the Crafts, completed through an exchange with the University of Liechtenstein, deals with the site of the ruins of the historic Slot Schaesberg in the Netherlands. The existing Foundation set up to protect the ruins has began restoring parts of the castle and adjacent stables, using the process as an educational opportunity for surrounding communities – therefore the workshops of the School will provide the facilities for the teaching of these traditional crafts. This purpose led to an approach which has a strong focus on materiality and the details of construction, mainly in timber and brick, which go on to form a key part of the character of the scheme. In parallel the wider context of the site and its history plays an important role, particularly the gradual process of decay and reconstruction which creates a strong identity. Part of the challenge of the project was to understand how a new proposal can understand and interpret this in a way which respects this history but also acknowledges that it is ultimately only a frame within a continuing process of development and alteration by those who occupy its spaces.