The development was officially opened by Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, Chief Executive of the national charity Turning Point and Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, in the presence of the Lord-Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Mr Tony Worth, and the patron of Hill Holt Wood, Lady Neville.
The Wood Hall community building has already been recognised nationally as a fine example of self-sufficient, off-the-grid development. It was created using entirely sustainable materials, many of them sourced from the local areas, and incorporating the most innovative construction techniques available. Features include a rammed-earth circular conference room and double-reciprocal roof.
The blueprint of the design for the Wood Hall community building was developed by students within a third year undergraduate studio led by Dr Behzad Sodagar at Lincoln School of Architecture originally in 2006 as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. The design was further developed by the University and Hill Holt Wood in conjunction with local construction firm Simons Design Limited, and financial support from the environmental charity WREN. Construction was completed this year.
The project has won a string of national awards over recent years in recognition of its contribution to sustainability and environmental best practice, including honours at the Green Apple Awards, the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Awards and the Lord Stafford Awards.
Karen Lowthrop, CEO of Hill Holt Wood, said: "We are delighted to officially name and open the Wood Hall community building at Hill Holt Wood. The award-winning structure was designed and built using a number of innovative approaches to sustainable construction and will provide a unique focal point and resource for the local community in an ancient woodland setting. We would particularly like to thank WREN for their help in funding the development and Simons Design Limited and the University of Lincoln for the inspirational design work."
Dr Behzad Sodagar, Reader in Architecture and Co-Director of Centre for Architectural Research said: “Seeing a blueprint created by our students becomes a reality in the shape of the Wood Hall community building has been very inspiring to our staff and students. The exercise demonstrated the effectiveness of research engaged teaching in architectural education. We’re very proud to have played a role in the pioneering work taking place in Hill Holt Wood over the last few years.”