Smout Allen

Tom Budd Y5

Bigger Than a Hamlet Smaller Than a Town. Villages in England have always been tied to their immediate context. England’s rural communities no longer develop around an agricultural economy as they had done historically. However, this key principal of the context informing an economic starting point can be viewed in a contemporary sense. The motorway has become the common contextual component of the sites of the government’s newly approved garden villages. This study is proposes that a new village economy could evolve from the motorway service station and with a constant flow of traffic comes the opportunity for trade, reminiscent of the traditional row plan village.

 Through the creation of an Emergent Process of Village Planning, this study seeks to propose an alternative approach to the design of contemporary Garden Villages. The theory of emergence is defined as: “a morphological process that is the reverse of design, where form is determined by actions, instead of actions being chosen to realize a form.” (Helie, 2012)

By determining a series of rules that govern the spatial layout of a village, settlements will be able to form at a locally led level, removing the bias and profit driven approach often associated with the planning of housing developments across Britain.

In order to create a series of rules that govern spatial layout at a village scale, a method of rapid testing and optimisation was needed in order to assess their effectiveness. To achieve this, the Grasshopper plugin for Rhinoceros was used to create a script embodying these rules. This allowed the rules to be implemented without the need for human design decisions. The script can make the variable decisions, with the creation of the rules parameters being the role of the designer. This allows the testing and optimisation process to be devoid of personal bias associated with design and aesthetically based decisions. This script then became the foundation of the village’s design, with physical models used as a means of realising the forms generated within grasshopper into architectural proposals.

National Reserve 2018