Falmouth’s MA Architecture students have partnered with Brickfield, a community brickworks based in a disused clay pit in St Austell, to learn sustainable craft skills while giving back to the Cornish community. The students helped to connect local residents with the history and heritage of brick making in St Austell by building experimental pavilions to test brick building technologies.
Brickfield has a long-term goal to empower and enable communities to draw on the history and heritage of brickmaking in the region. This is achieved by building structures that improve the local environment for residents out of china clay extraction waste.
It has been a privilege to be involved with such a worthwhile project.
Finding new sustainable purposes for the extraction waste is enormously important; every tonne of usable china clay that is mined creates 9 tonnes of waste, giving the Falmouth students plenty of materials to construct their designs with.
Falmouth students have been helping Brickfield build stronger relationships with their partners by working collaboratively on their designs with The Happy Wanderers, a dementia friendly walking group that’s supported by the Sensory Trust.
The students assisted the walking group with mixing clay, making bricks and turning the designs into exploratory structures. The Brickfield BUILD team taught Falmouth MArch students clay mixing, brick moulding and firing, as well as having their lessons complimented by professional experts in sustainable building techniques for mortar, stone and bricklaying.
Course leader Tom Ebdon is thrilled to see his students making such a positive impact on the local community.
“It has been a privilege to be involved with such a worthwhile project. Working with the Happy Wanderers, Brickfield and the Sensory Trust has huge benefits for the students. They are learning about the realities of social practice and the complex skills required to engage, design and build in unique Cornish landscapes.”
Photography provided by Eleanor McQuaid