Rural Works is an annual workshop that forms part of the Vertical Studio programme run by the Welsh School of Architecture - intended to broaden the experience of students in design and research.

The first Rural Works event was held in 2016, with twelve students and two tutors who visited the Lake District to study the very special landscape, and respond to the context through making and drawing. 

Central to the concerns of Unit 6 is an interest in working hands on. In a time when architectural practice is so often played out in offices, and on computers, we imbedded ourselves in the rural surroundings to directly observe the land around us. Sketching was used as a form of live research. These sketches have an immediacy to them, and as a method of drawing sketches were used to work quickly to capture initial and instinctive responses to the site. These drawings are a form of researching the site, as well as a means of communicating an idea or an interest. 

Throughout this on-site week we moved back and forth between drawing and making. This method of working placed us in the position of architect as maker - trying to articulate, and then realise, an idea.

We were delighted to be able to make use of a stone barn set on the edges of Staveley, Cumbria. This acted as our studio; a space for meeting, talking, drawing and making. Armed with a simple set of hand-held tools, students worked on turning their concept ideas into three dimensions.