ADS2: National Park

William Field

Will grew up in Marlow, a Thames-side town in Buckinghamshire, and subsequently spent his undergraduate years upstream at Oxford Brookes School of Architecture, gaining a First-Class Honours degree.

After graduating and before joining the RCA, he spent two years in practice. A highlight of this period was a stint of several months working for DRAWN, a young design consultancy in Auckland, New Zealand. Whilst at the RCA Will has endeavoured to be an active participant in London’s architectural scene; working on several exciting projects for Nissen Richards over the summer months, as well as on the Drawing Matters’ Alternative Histories exhibition, with curator Marius Grootveld.

Will continues to work diligently with physical materiality and detailing, having a fascination with how furniture and buildings are put together. His interests also continue to see architecture as a medium through which we can positively impact communities, perhaps those which currently lack the ability to construct large-scale civic infrastructure.

His thesis project challenges unimaginative and conservationist design guidance, a condition fuelled by an outdated planning approach across the UK. He is keen to enter practice furnished with a novel design approach, which flips the constraints brought about by planning on their head. Translating the phrases used by local councils into opportunities for an innovative stance on the reproduction of local vernacular.

Will is currently based in London.


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Degree Details

School of Architecture


Broughton-on-Boundary is a redevelopment scheme for Broughton-in-Furness, a small rural market village in Cumbria, made unique by its fringe condition: divided into two by the boundary of the Lake District National Park boundary. The project investigates the impact that the assumed vernacular within the Lake District, has on National Park planning and development.

When a National Park is established, its pre-existing buildings are incorporated into what is considered to be the park’s ‘Special Character’ in a manner that can be blind to architectural quality. ‘Conservationist’ conservation design guidance, working in this context, then results in the perpetuation of an ‘assumed appropriate style’.

This assumed style comprises two types: The original vernacular buildings, constructed using local materials and techniques, and what we might call the ‘unvernacular’ - perfunctory, incomplete or inaccurate reproductions of vernacular barns and cottages, often generated in direct response to the legislative context in which they sit, rather than for any other reason. In this way the tight planning conditions within the National Park intended to curb ‘unsightly development’, have been the cause of just that, leading to a cycle of replication fuelled by guidance practice: If in doubt, copy your neighbour, preserve & enhance or match the existing. In parallel, the strict planning conditions within National Parks have made it increasingly difficult for the rural communities who call the Parks ‘home’ to deliver the social infrastructure they need.

The scheme redevelops a section of Broughton to deliver, in one location, all of the town’s needs and desires as set out in the recent Community Action Plan. The proposal is structured along two axes which straddle the boundary, navigating the different planning conditions inside and outside of the Lake District National Park. Its multi-storey terraces contain much-needed homes for Broughton’s ageing population, as well as a pharmacy, ATM, doctors’ surgery and two new village greens. The project’s form and character have been developed on the basis that the vernacular of the town has more richness and complexity than conservation practice typically recognises, thereby creatively rethinking the cycle of vernacular reproduction.

A domestic terrace placed on the proposed, raised communal green

A Broughton-on-Boundary overview — The National Park Boundary Divides the proposal in two - shown central to the image

First Floor Plan — A new communal village green and garden, are both flanked by generous single storey dwellings designed for Cumbria's ageing population

Broughton’s high street extension

High Street extension design strategy steps

High Street extension design strategy steps

New terrace, fronted with vernacular marching chimney stacks

New terrace design strategy steps

New terrace design strategy steps

A view southward — Along Broughton's National Park boundary, towards the remodelled Livestock Auction Mart and proposed extension of the high street

Domesticity and Agriculture — A view through the window of a ground floor dwelling across its sunken, external courtyard, towards Broughton's Livestock Auction Mart Pens

A view northward — As the new terrace crosses the Lake District Boundary its form and materiality relaxes: Transforming from vernacular stone monoliths to cast concrete shells

National Park
Which one's which?

Which one's which?

Translation Icons

Unvernacular Models

Translation Icons

The key design methodology which underpins, Broughton-on-Boundary was formed following an investigation into Cumbria's existing housing stock. This research highlighted many differences and similarities in both the area’s, vernacular and 'unvernacular' dwellings. The dialogue between the two National Park archetypes was then subsequently mapped in a series of speculative translations. The analysis highlighted that the vernacular within the Lake District National Park, is far less conservative than planning practice would suggest, rendering both archetypes as equally peculiar, and as design precedents, equally compelling.
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