The Road

Hayatsu Architects, Central Saint Martins UAL, Coniston Cumbria, 2017


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DSC_8264-Image © Motoko Fujita 2017 

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Information kiosk and community bread oven on public realm

In 1874, John Ruskin undertook a road-building project with his students with the intention of imparting notions of working for a greater good and self-fulfilment through the act of labour. Those that took part went on to become some of the most significant social reformers of the Victorian period. The road remains half-finished to this day.

The Road is a community engagement and interpretation project based in and around the town of Coniston in The Lake District conceived by the non-profit arts organization Grizedale Arts. It is a reworking of Ruskin’s original ambition, providing spaces for education and gathering to connect local people, the Institute, Museum and the heritage and landscape of the Coppermines valley. It marks the 200th anniversary of Ruskin’s birth, the 140th anniversary of Ruskin’s move to Coniston and his involvement with the village and copper industry.

Hayatsu Architects, MArch students at Central Saint Martins, UAL, and Spatial Practices staff Gregory Ross and Carlotta Novella collaborated on the design and fabrication of two timber structures; an information kiosk and a community bread oven. A workshop took place over summer 2017 based at Central Saint Martins to carry out the prefabrication. In October, the two structures were then transported and installed at the John Ruskin Museum and Coniston Institute in Lake District.

The information kiosk is situated in front of the Ruskin Museum along the Coniston Coppermines trail as signpost, shelter and display telling the story of the local copper industry. The community bread oven is at the disposal of the village for events at the Coniston Institute as a place for gathering, warmth and the preparation of food. The contemporary structures pay tribute to their contexts, clad in handcrafted copper shingles and charred timber, made in collaboration with local groups, including school children, local history group, Parish Council and mountain rescue team.

The kiosk and oven are the first elements of The Road, turning the Museum and Institute outwards. The Road will continue to 2019 with further participatory building projects and events towards the incremental transformation of the area in front of the institutions into public realm amenity space.

The bread oven is currently on loan at Hauser & Wirth Somerset as part of “The Land We Live In, The Land We Left Behind” curated by Grizedale Arts director Adam Sutherland, from January to April, bringing together over fifty works exploring society’s relationship to the rural.


  • Begun: Oct 2017
  • Completed: Oct 2017
  • Floor area: 10m2
  • Sectors: Arts and culture, Education, Public realm
  • Total cost: £15,000
  • Funding: Heritage Lottery Fund, UAL
  • Tender date: Jun 2017
  • Procurement: self build
  • Address: Coniston Institute and John Ruskin Museum, 15 Yewdale Rd , Coniston Cumbria, LA21 8DU, United Kingdom

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