Grafting: How Do We Repair Our Approach to Rural Development?
Tasked with the wider agenda of designing village extensions within the South Downs National Park Authority, this project began with a series of collages in varied media. Exploring relationships between urban and rural developments, later generating hybrid objects from themes first found.
From this, I have explored how we harness the natural environment. Initially, looking at agriculture, and the dramatic transformations this imposes on our landscape. Alongside the notions of acceptance and tradition many have, for such ideas or processes once considered radical, and how this may translate to rural development.
Following this, I researched the manipulation and mutation of single plants for desired outcomes, principally through grafting. This generated a series of experiments using houseplants, leaves, crochet and stitch. Since then, I have queried the relevance of contrast and colour between what was grafted and the original piece and how these interventions are considered as repairs or reform, and the process of pattern making and repetition from craft.
Architecturally, I have begun testing the process of grafting, and colour coding, alongside the generation of collaged plans, in the context of village development. In the act of grafting one dwelling to another, settlement types appeared within hybrid plans, for single large buildings, prompting the idea of a village within a building, a building within a village. Also, the concept of one building containing many things.
I am now looking to explore these themes in closer relation to the village of Alfriston, East Sussex, and the two sites, allocated here for residential development by the SDNPA.
I wonder – Can one large building repair a village? Are such repairs meant to be evident? Is there a case for a building to be added to now and/or later, rather than the finite units understood in current development strategy? Is there a pattern or process, like with stitching, that generates the methodology for development? And most importantly, does Alfriston need repair?