- Timber focus
Third year architectural students at Kingston University built a timber spire, as part of the year-long thesis project dealing with the issue of landmark.
This is a replica of Salisbury Cathedral spire at scale 1:5, 9m long compared to the original stone spire of 45m. In the void of the load bearing stone walls of the original Salisbury spire, there is a complex medieval timber frame structure supporting the permanent scaffolding platforms, allowing access to on-going maintenance of the stone work from the inside. In this structure the boundary between the idea of temporary and permanent is ambiguous.
We have interpreted this original spire in our own way; changing the structural principle for our spire to be able to stand up without the outer stone wall. We have respected the original frame configuration and maintained the umbrella-like octagonal structure. By using agricultural fencing material, which was sustainably sourced from Scotland, the appearance of our spire became dense and robust. Simple connection details were developed and the spire can be taken a part into smaller size modules for ease of transport and handling.
We are interested in investigating how the construction sequence and the constraints surrounding the installation of the structure would influence the design. We are also interested in understanding the human ambition of building a landmark, by testing the erection of the spire. It is hoped that the design of the spire will evolve each time it is erected. Learning from the process, improvement will be made, the structure can be extended and adapted, repair will be implemented.
The spire was constructed primarily for temporary installations, with the view that the structure could be erected in many places, many times. It is our intention that erecting the spire will become an event, adapting to each unique situation and condition, celebrating the achievement of the building.