Forest Classroom, Hampshire, UK
The Ash roundhouse is a community meeting space and a nature based classroom built by the community
The L’Abri Fellowship is a Christian charity that provides a safe space for people of all paths and backgrounds to explore their unanswered questions around the Christian faith. The L’Abri community wants to strength its bonds with the local village to be able to serve them better.
To facilitate such interactions, L’Abri wanted to create an outdoor space that stands as a neutral ground welcoming any and all people to use as a space of meeting, retreat, reflection and learning.
Doug, an active member of the L’Abri Fellowship, had a vision for the wooded area and began to curate the space and develop prototypes of structures to be built. Sadly, Doug died in July 2018, but his legacy, now known as Doug’s Den, lives on in the this wooded copse.
The Design of the Roundhouse was directly inspired by a smaller willow dome constructed by Doug himself and acts as a memorial for him. The circular nature of a roundhouse feeds into the objective of providing a neutral space, with a circle having only one ‘side’.
The structure itself is made from old and dying ash, felled on site to clear the woodland for new trees to grow around the roundhouse. This rejuvenating process and other bush and wood crafts were showcased an taught through workshops organised by SAWA for L’Abri and the local community of Greatham.