Elm Tree Farm Hall

Research Aim: To develop inclusive design proposals for a community farm self-build project that can instill a sense of ownership and encourage participation amongst users of all abilities.

Elm Tree Farm is an urban farm specialising in produce and livestock to deliver care farming to young adults with learning difficulties. Taking a lead from the farm’s strategic masterplan developed by a previous design team, we were able to better define the role that a new building at Elm Tree Farm could play. From the outset we worked closely with the farm’s staff and supported workers, in order to think of the project in greater terms than simply a facility to house their increasingly popular holiday clubs.

The live project process was highly educational for us as designers. Through consultations and workshops we were able to better appreciate the inner workings of the farm, and understand exactly how the users would interact with the spaces we were designing. This led us to explore a series of building elements that the farm could create themselves therefore gifting a valuable sense of ownership. The backdrop to these elements was a tried and tested Walter Segal self-build frame that the farm could raise ceremonially. A clear graphic identity was developed to help promote the project in the community.

We envisage that Elm Tree Farm can benefit from the adaptability of the design, and be able to fund the project incrementally over the coming years.