Design process

The design process was SADI, but benefited greatly from observation on my part for several years of the building and indeed taking on responsibility for the building as a trustee and for the bookings, as well as extensive consultation with people connected with the building.

Again I found myself working on an overall design with many designs within it. Interestingly working collaboratively lends itself to developing a concept design either as a sole designer or as a design team with details decided by the implementing group or during the process of implementation.

Design principles

I enjoyed adding to the conventional permaculture design principles by exploring the design principles for buildings from Mollison, Holmgren, Transition, retrofitting and Christopher Day. Key principles for the design of an existing building was working with what was already there and with the limited budget, making the least change for the greatest possible effect.


The implementation was carried out working with my fellow trustees, professional (website and patio refurbishment) as well as in groups of community members working with the new kindergarten team, on the building and on the garden area. This worked very well in general with a lot of support from the people working together on a new project for the benefit of the community and children’s education. A constant challenge was the historical culture in Hoathly Hill Community of a distrust of Hoathly Hill Trust and, despite information and consultation, there were still accusations of decision-making behind closed doors and conflict as an intention.

Key learnings

I decided to select this as one of my diploma designs as I felt the learning from such a project would be of benefit to the permaculture community and my local community. I learnt a lot about retrofit principles in working through the energy design of the building. I was greatly inspired by regenerating existing community buildings for ‘transition’ in general and in this particular case I learnt a great deal from the ecological, children-oriented and consensus design thinking that went in to the original design of Arc Hall.