Genesis Project

Architype Architects, Taunton, 2005


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External view of the pavillion entrance 

Sue Barr (website)     Download Original

  • External view of the pavillion entrance    
  • The clay pavilion: the architecture is designed to look ‘crisp’ and potentially mainstream rather than hairy or makeshift    
  • The timber pavilion is  clad with cedar from the Forest of Dean    
  • A cutaway shows the straw bales    
  • Clean interior view    
  • An elegant timber-finned curtain-walling system defines  the boundaries of the main space    
  • The steel pavilion is the  main space which links the disparate parts    
  • The cob-block wall is part exposed to show underlying construction  and part-finished in a wax-polished earth plaster    
  • Interior of the Genesis Project Earth Pavillion    
  • Site plan    
  • Floor plan    
  • Section    
  • North elevation    
  • South elevation    
  • East elevation    
  • West elevation    
  • Rendering of the Genesis Project    
  • Close-up view of the construction of the mass cob wall    
  • The first layer must  be precisely level. After that, blocklaying is simple    
  • Working on the Genesis Project pavillion    
  • Straw bale and stud construction    
  •  Building up the mass cob wall    
  • On-site construction at the project    
  • Construction of the clay pavillion    
  • Insulating with recycled newsprint    
  • Detail of straw-bale wall construction    
  • Detail of cob-block wall    
  • Detail of clay blocks and sprayed render system    
  • Detail of timber-fin curtain wall junction    

Experimental teaching building for Somerset College of Arts and Technology

The scheme comprises an elegant central pavilion which gives access into five smaller, separate pavilions, each demonstrating and exploring different sustainable construction materials and methods including cob walls, rammed earth walls, straw bales, and clay blocks.

There is a a central main pavilion (called the steel pavilion – though mainly constructed from timber and glass), with four smaller surrounding, interlocked pavilions, respectively of earth, fired-clay blocks, straw bales and timber.

The building is an ongoing experiment - evaluation of the methods and materials will continue throughout its life. The Centre also demonstrates the benefits of sustainable urban drainage systems, designed to regulate and filter the flow of water into our rivers and urban drainage networks.


  • Begun: Oct 2004
  • Completed: Dec 2005
  • Floor area: 633m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £1.6M
  • Tender date: Mar 2004
  • Procurement: GC/Works/1 with Quantities
  • Address: Wellington Road, Taunton, TA1 5AX, United Kingdom

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