Democratic Seating

Bryan Campbell Davies, Bristol, 2012


Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Set in the school grounds 

Jamie Woodley (website)     Download Original

  • Set in the school grounds    
  • Orb from side    
  • Marine Ply Orb Seat    
  • Orb seat in context    
  • In use    
  • Looking towards school    
  • 3D sketches    
  • Design drawing    
  • Covered structure    
  • Coloured surface pattern    
  • During installation    
  • during installation    
  • Initial concept drawing    
  • Leg detail    

An outdoor learning space for a new school designed for those with learning, social and emotional behavioral difficulties

Knowle DGE is a new school designed for those with learning, social and emotional behavioral difficulties.

Bryan developed workshops with pupils involving a large cardboard ‘shelter’. This was quickly occupied and impromptu laws emerged regarding ownership, access, including a sit in protest. Based on this, Bryan took forward a design based on a key principle; a space for kids to sit outside of their highly controlled building, to hang out; an oasis from the school environment and everyday tensions.

The final design has multiple entry points, sitting positions, defining a boundary but not creating a barrier or barricade. It is situated under a mature tree in the school grounds.

An abstract form, a face with Mickey Mouse ears, Homer Simpson eyes. An eclectic mix; a skeletal structure or 'ship' which has been left like a relic in the controlled landscape of the school, to be used by a new generation to think through and discuss their issues.


  • Begun: Mar 2012
  • Completed: Jul 2012
  • Floor area: 25m2
  • Sectors: Education, Public realm
  • Total cost: £30,000
  • Procurement: Bespoke / Traditional
  • Address: Knowle DGE, Leinster Avenue, Knowle, Bristol, BS4 1NN, United Kingdom

Professional Team