Little Eden Fire-pit Shelter

First Year Architecture Students, Falmouth University, St Austell, 2016


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Roof Structure 

Harry Lawlor (website)     Download Original

  • Roof Structure    
  • Fire-pit and roof    
  • Shelter in the landscape    
  • Fire-pit shelter    
  • Shelter at dusk    
  • Fixing the foundations    
  • Raising the trusses    
  • Lighting the fire    

A fire-pit and shelter for use by Little Eden, a Forest nursery school

The first year architecture students at Falmouth University were commissioned by the Eden Project, St Austell, Cornwall to design and build a fire-pit shelter for use by Little Eden Forest nursery school.

The project was developed with the guiding principles of participatory design, with client, designer and final occupants considered and engaged in the project from inception to completion.

The Eden Project set the brief for a small, simple to construct shelter that must provide cover from wind and rain for groups of 10 nursery age children. The site is on the outskirts of the Eden Project exposed to strong winds and the occasional outburst of driving rain. The design of the shelter needed to allow a safe area around the fire for the kids and space to move around whilst effectively extracting smoke from the structure.

The structure is a relatively simple construction, pressure treated timber members form the trusses which are clad in a combination of OSB and polycarbonate sheeting. The footings are simple welded box sections mounted onto plates which are held in place by driving 20mm reinforcement bar through the plates and into the ground. The structure is held together with stainless steel screws, nuts and bolts. The design life of the structure is one year and the structure is light enough to be moved around the site as required.

The interior spaces are defined by simple timber benches made from locally felled timber tree stumps and planned timber for seats. These are arranged around the central fire with two main access points in and out of the shelter on opposite faces.

The structure forms a fundamental part of the unique education experience of the architecture course at Falmouth University. The students are actively encourage to develop their designs through physically making, so not only did the students design the structure but they also built the structure both pre-fabricating the elements in the workshops at Falmouth University and assembling them on the site. The entire build took one week, with the construction on site taking place over two days.


  • Begun: Nov 2016
  • Completed: Nov 2016
  • Floor area: 38m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £1,268
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Oct 2016
  • Procurement: Self build
  • Address: Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, PL24 2SG, United Kingdom


  • FSC Timber and Main Materials: Jewsons