Five North-London schools joined together with the University of Westminster’s Fabrication Lab, Aberrant Architecture and local arts centre Artsdepot to create a structure that allowed students to tell their story through design.

​The workshop, curated by Aberrant Architecture in collaboration with Artsdepot, was attended by 140 children between the ages of eight and 14 from the London Borough of Barnet. The aim of the project was to introduce a younger generation to architecture and design during a time when cultural funding is under threat

The project combined the use of both computer and hand work, making an authentic design process. The bricks were designed with 3D computer modelling software and transferred into CNC modelled moulds produced at the University of Westminster’s Fabrication Laboratory. The Fabrication Laboratory was launched in 2015 which included the addition of two workshop areas offering advanced digital model making facilities, equipped with flexible computer controlled tools. Beside student activities, the Fabrication Lab offers specialist short training courses along with support for research and PhD students.

The bricks were made using the construction material ‘papercrete’ which is a make from recycled paper and adhesives. Each school was assigned an individual colour – including pink, purple, yellow, green and blue. The students added clay ornaments to the bricks alongside adding the name of their school to give them to take ownership of their work.

Matthew Haycocks, Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, said: “It was especially good to see school children as young as seven in the Fabrication Lab, learning how to use modelling software to design their own 3D object. We were as excited as them to see the individual designs combined to become a part of the ‘Storytelling Igloo’. A wonderful collaboration with a beautiful result!

The Storytelling Igloo was in an exhibition at the Apthorp Gallery at London’s Artsdepot from 13 to 31 December 2017.

Learn more about the Fabrication Laboratory at the University of Westminster.

Storytelling igloo

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