Project 2: Terratorium



“A place of the land” the Terratorium is a proposition of its place, and of its produce, an Architectural response to the “Terroir” of Oxford.

The “Terratorium” will comprise a condensed autonomous and site-specific productive space and landscape, stemming from your Instrument observations and readings: a response to local abundance, conditions, resources, materials, aspect, erosion, wear, climate, traditions, history, myths and character. And by contributing to the productivity of the city the “Terratorium” will inform and in-part define the Oxford terroir.


The proposal will integrate and inter-twine the spaces, activities, tools, equipment, and materials for making and cultivation, to define a productive territory adjacent to the Sheep-Wash Channel, at the intersection of the transitional landscape and the city, and in response to the seasonal flux and opportunities.

You will choose a “Crop” and how this is transformed into the chosen “Produce” to define the spatial and experiential brief; the scale of cultivation sufficient to sustain the chosen labour of love: jam, wool, juice, chairs, bread, stone, lace, heat, energy, honey….to be sold, bartered or exchanged at the local farmers market or elsewhere.


The proposal will be a bespoke response to the chosen the process and experience of each activity, so each aspect of growth, manufacture and use is questioned to develop a spatial and constructional proposition from first principles.

The result may be permanent or temporary, mobile or static, singular or one of a network, in seasonal or constant use. It will be comfortable for one person to work intensively: a space, place, and territory of purpose and delight.

The choice of materials, methods of construction, structure and environmental systems are an opportunity for playful inventiveness and experimentation; a reflection (maybe a bye-product) and reaction to the “Crop”, “Produce” and processes, tuned to respond to the transitional states and conditions of place.

By harnessing the potential of place: inserting/ overlaying/ integrating additional activity and occupation within the existing increasingly mono-vailent urban fabric, the “Terratorium” will engage with the wider context of the city and it’s transitional landscape, there may be a social agenda.

cj lim_cow


The project will be tackled in small groups of two or three students, working intensively together to analyse, define, research, understand and document: the site and it’s location, the “crop”, the making process and “produce”, and to develop their ideas from first inspiration to final iteration. Each group will be encouraged to engage and experiment directly in the activities proposed and with the proposed materials and methods of construction to define the spatial brief and inform the development of the design.

Each group will produce a shared physical model, maybe a shared digital model, and a shared pool of iterative design process work. But the final documentation and drawings for the project will be completed individually: drawn from the shared work, and acknowledging the original authors of any drawings/images/models.

Each student will present the complete project and essence of the design process in no more than 10no. A1 (Or equivalent) Hybrid Sheets integrating constructed, drawn, rendered and photographic components into each sheet including models, materials samples, and samples of the “crop” and “produce”. The iterative design process will be documented by each student in a bound “Process Folio” read in parallel to the Hybrid sheets.   The layout, sequence, design, format and narrative of the hybrid sheets will be unique to each student reflecting their contribution to the group.

To begin the process, you need to get beneath the skin of the urban fabric to understand what it offers, how it is shaped and how it responds to the reality of place; your “Instrument” together with your groups skills, obsessions and associations will fuel your proposals.

La Trufa, Ensamble Architects, Galicia, Spain

La Trufa, Ensamble Architects, Galicia, Spain

Four phases of work:

  1. “Propose”
  2. “Explore”
  3. “Prototype”
  4. “Document”

1: Propose:

  • Consolidate your readings of the site through the group instruments in site drawings and models
  • Based on your instrument readings of the site:

Define the Produce

Define the Crop

2: Explore:

  • “Crop” Research: visit and document existing local cultivation of the chosen crop: define seasonal timelines, phases of work, tools, quantities, patterns of use, scale, spaces, ideal conditions, resources, materials and traditions
  • Experiment and document cultivating your chosen “crop”
  • Develop a physical model of the process, spaces and arrangement for cultivating the “crop”
  • “Produce” Research: visit and document an existing local producer of the chosen “produce”: define the production timeline, stages of work, tools, equipment, machinery, quantities, patterns of use, scale, spaces, ideal conditions, resources, materials, ingredients and traditions
  • Experiment and document making your chosen “produce”
  • Develop a physical model of the process, spaces and arrangement for making the “produce”

3: Prototype:

  • Combine Crop and Produce models on site: Explore and experiment
  • Develop the “Terratorium” proposal in detail through iterative models, drawings, sketches, photography, images, CAD models, samples, prototypes
  • Complete a detailed physical model, and maybe a digital model, of the final (group) proposal
  • Develop and explore the proposed materials, structures and environmental systems through drawings, models, sketches, images, 1:1 testing, experiments, and samples

4: Document:

  • Working individually
  • Complete up to 10no. A1 sheets or equivalent Hybrid Sheets documenting the proposals, spatial experience, use, “crop” and cultivation, “produce” and making, and essence of the design process
  • Complete a bound “Process Folio” of iterative design process work to support the Hybrid sheets 


Materials, Media and Drawing:

Use any media, material or technique that is appropriate to best communicate your ideas



  • Introduction:                               Thursday 9th October         Week 3
  • Interim Review:                         Thursday 6th November     Week 7
  • Review:                                       Thursday 20th November   Week 9
  • Portfolio Review:      2nd yrs     Monday 8th December        Week 12
  •                                      3rd yrs     Thursday 11th December   Week 12


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