Between 1990 - 2009 research by design focused on different forms of timber construction associated with various commissions. These are listed below. From 2009 to the present, the research has been more broadly focused on a commission for four houses in which the inherent quality of materials is used to influence qualities of space in a high density urban environment.
1990 – explored Japanese frame and carpentry technique in a design for the Garden and Greenery exposition in Osaka, Japan. This project looked at the roof lattice of the traditional Minka House, which was used to construct a cage in relation to a warped three dimensional space.
1994 - explored the construction of a timber shell, as a uniformly distributed loaded skin against deep snow, for a pavilion constructed in the mountains of the national park in Toyama Prefecture .
1997- an economy of means associated with coppicing of low grade material, to give added value to the timber, together with different slung timber and pole construction techniques, were explored through a commission for a seminar room for a new forestry school and visitor centre at Hooke Park, Dorset – unexecuted.
1998 – different wood bending and weaving techniques in relation to timber thinnings were examined in a commission for a temporary structure to be built by unskilled hands at Chiswick House – unexecuted.
2009 - explored strategies for woodland management using thinnings as bio-fuel, alongside aesthetic solutions for introducing bio-mass species into a country park setting in Dorset. A new timber drying store for sectioned structural timber was to be designed, to incorporate a chippings plant, farm processor for firewood and bio-mass boiler, providing heat for the estate cottages and historic house - unexecuted.
Since 2006 research has focused on a live commission for four houses being built in west London. This currently involves exploring details of cold moulding timber construction, used in boat building, as a way of resolving the organic forms of roof pavilions located on the four houses. This commission for high density dwellings also involves research into insitu concrete additives, to reduce the embodied energy of the cement content while maximising thermal mass. The colour differences of various percentages of PFA and GGBS substitutes are explored, in relation to different formwork surfaces and textures that reflect different qualities of light and shadow.
Architects Journal Specification, November 2007, “Peter Salter’s Walmer Road Houses”
Architectural Review, January 2011, “Fan Vaults”
Architectural Design Reader, March 2012, “Bespoke”
Ediciones Poligrafa 2011-12, Anthology of the work of Alison and Peter Smithson, “Strategy and Detail”