The Orchard

Location: Serge Hill, Hertfordshire
Type: Horticulture / Education / Community Space
Client: The Serge Hill Project For Gardening and Health
Collaborators: Tom Stuart-Smith, Structure Workshop
Duration: 2018 – Ongoing
Status: Technical Design

Situated within the Green belt of St Albans City & District, the building and gardens will provide facilities in the interests of social welfare, horticultural education, training and recreation. The project is aimed at local residents, schools, colleges and those will special needs and is part of an on going collaboration with The Serge Hill Project For Gardening and Health and Tom Stuart-Smith’s landscape studio.

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The proposal will facilitate the education of the public in the subjects of sustainable horticulture, psychological wellbeing and care of the environment, while improving people’s quality of life through community gardening, growing, horticultural projects and community events. The project will be a way of putting local people more in touch with the soil as well as with each other.

The building was granted planning permission on an undeveloped site in the Green Belt under ‘Very Special Circumstances’ and will begin on site in August 2020. It will be built with a radically low embodied carbon footprint, using locally sourced hemp, timber and unfired earth blocks. Its structure consists of precisely cut CNC plywood portal frames in-filled with hemp, enabling a light, open and high performing structure.