A prefabricated interior office and staffroom installed within a food distribution warehouse, designed, sourced and constructed over ten-weeks.

The Challenge

FareShare is a national charity that responds to two urgent issues facing the UK – food poverty and food waste. It combines the two by redistributing surplus food, which would otherwise be thrown away, to the people who need it most. An in-house health and safety audit necessitated a separation of administration and staff facilities from the food areas of the warehouse operation.

The Brief

To design and construct a free-standing structure to accommodate Fareshare’s administrative and staff facilities within their warehouse to satisfy health and safety requirements. Budget £1,500.

The Approach

The project was undertaken as an extra-curricular project because of short timescales and the newness of Live Projects within the School of Architecture. Design work was completed towards the end of the academic year and fabricating and assembling during the summer break. The project was organised as co-design workshops with students, academics, Fareshare staff, project manager and structural engineer. Students led the production drawing stage. There was a significant ‘eureka’ moment, when student Alex Durie re-thought the design process from traditional design led to resource driven after the team failed to create a design, that when costed, was within the financial limit. Subsequently, a £48 eBay purchase of two hundred sheets of 450mm by 2400mm, 4mm thick plywood off cuts singularly determined the design solution. A comprehensive design quickly emerged and construction by students, academics, client and friends took place over 10 weeks during summer. 

I felt that my lack of knowledge in the construction side of things would mean my input would offer very little to the project. As time progressed, I was learning things from the other students that I wouldn’t necessarily have learnt in lectures.... When the design was complete and I was allocated the task of drawing up the final plans, I was confident that I could do a good job. This made me realise how much I had progressed since the project started.

Aimee Major BA Year 3 student

The Impact

  • Conference: ‘The Fareshare Project’ paper was delivered at the Architecture ‘Live Projects’ Pedagogy International Symposium 2012 at Oxford Brookes University
  • Book Chapter: ‘The Fareshare Project’ in ‘Architecture Live Projects: Pedagogy into Practice’ by Harriet Harriss and Lynette Widder
  • The structure allowed Fareshare to continue their food re-distribution operation from their warehouse

External links:

Students: Rachael Branton, Claire Burrell, Zoltan Deak, Alex Durie, Antonia Frondella, Ron Graham, Harry Hewlett, Jamie Ho, Nick Jones, Aimee Major, Vahagn Mkrtchyan, Tom Partridge

Friends: Phil Taylor, Chris Needham, Vikram Kaushal

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