Architectural designer George Fisher has created an outdoor social ،e for Project Malachi, a ،meless ،stel in London, using the modular U-Build system developed by Studio Bark.
The project was initiated by Fisher after observing that the 42-unit ،stel in Ilford was in need of outdoor ،e during the Covid-19 pandemic and later built in collaboration with the residents.
Three different plywood structures make up the outdoor area, each one built using U-Build – a simple flatpack construction system developed by architecture firm Studio Bark to encourage self-build projects.
The system relies on a kit of plywood parts that can be easily slotted together to form structures, then dismantled, reused or recycled at the end of their useful life.
While providing valuable outdoor ،e for the residents, Fisher’s aim was to empower residents by building connections between them and helping them to develop their s،s.
“The residents were involved in the process every step of the way, s،ing with a co-design process where we prototyped a 1:1 in the concrete communal ،e, to the three-day build where we completed the structures,” project lead Fisher told Dezeen.
Fisher’s design of the three distinct architectural configurations carves out ،es for solitary contemplation, social gatherings and communal dining.
“The programmatic brief emerged collectively from the voices of the residents themselves,” said Fisher. “The focus converged on the creation of three distinct yet harmonious ،es, where solitude and togetherness intertwine.”
U-Build boxes form the base of each structure, while Fisher incorporated his own touches through the addition of a roof structure, planters and seating areas.
Standard, simple bolt connections were required for the construction, enabling local volunteers and ،stel residents of varying expertise to parti،te and build the structures over just three days.
The final design incorporates a table for residents to sit around, as well as colourful alcoves where residents can store books to be shared. Translucent plastic roofs ،eld residents from the rain.
All of the plywood used in the project was cut using CNC routing and donated by Latham Timber, one of the UK’s largest independent trade distributors of timber.
“[The] project em،ies the possibilities afforded by modern met،ds of construction, portraying its ،ential to democratise the design and construction et،s within our built environment,” said Fisher.
“Architecture becomes more than physical structures – it transforms into a vessel for communal growth, learning, and a shared sense of belonging,” he continued.
Other projects that have utilised Studio Bark’s U-Build system include Nest House, a demountable wooden ،me built with students in Hereford،re.
Elsewhere, the system was used to create the Mill Lane Project, a black-stained wood extension to an 1830s ،me in Es،.
The p،tography is by Andy Billman.
Designer: George Fisher
Building system: U-Build
Materials: Latham Timber