One of the primary objectives of The Guild (as documented in the Master's Office Manifesto) is to outline the principles and framework of the traditional Guild School education. Aware that The Guild also intends to acquire land and build several properties as a way to generate income and as a practical training exercise for Guild Apprentices - who will all volunteer their labour - I propose that one of the second phase of properties be an ambitious Academie* complex, primarily for the future education of Guild children.
The Academie will remain the property of The Guild and although it will eventually serve primarily as a co-educational primary and secondary stage school, will be made available to visitors, adult education and art organisations etc. This will serve the purpose of raising the profile of the project and generating income through paid visits and hired use of the building which can then be put towards the launch of the Academie school.
I think that with careful management and through the combined efforts of the Guild as a collective, The Academie can become a great and inspirational centre of learning for all its visitors, a physical testament to the scope and value of the skill and knowledge within the craft of stonemasonry, a centre for the celebration and custodianship of Guild culture and heritage and an enduring beneficent legacy to the future Guild community.
The ideas for the design began with a daydream about a fantasy house in which each room employs different proportional and geometric techniques in order to elicit a different feeling and to suit a specific purpose. The dream is that the building is a showcase for the full range of design and construction skills taught in traditional stonemasonry and will employ them to their best use in order to serve as an ideal space for its purpose. Envisaged as a modestly-sized building, the space should nonetheless accommodate all the requisite rooms for a school population of 144 people (including staff and students) and will include outdoor recreation spcaes.
The extent of the combined knowledge of Guild members should be employed in the building design. The various school experiences of members and others and the input of specific experts and professionals should be sought to formulate the school curriculum and model, which will serve to inform the building design and, later, to establish the Academie as a fully-functioning educational organisation. The most advanced understanding of factors related to the establishment of an optimum learning environment and education within the fields of: psychology, sociology, neurobiology, human development, educational theory, anthropology and environmental science should be explored and integrated throughout the planning stages.
The Academie, as well as being optimally functional, should not look or feel utilitarian but should stand equally as a thing of beauty; beautiful, nurturing and stimulating not only in its overall form but in its every design feature and decorative detail. It is envisaged that many and varied top craftsmen will be employed in the construction of the fabric of The Academie. I envisage the building project as an exciting collaborative effort between elite stonemasons and their counterparts within the fields of carpentry, glasswork, ceramics, plasterwork, painting and decorating, textile work, french polishing, music theory and more,
Further information on this project will be made available in due course.
*Although this term has its roots in Middle English (academy) , Latin (academia), Greek (akademeia, akademos) and French, the use of the French spelling 'Academie' is a continuation of a long held Guild tradition and distinguishes the educational organisation as being in this specific cultural and theoretical lineage. It describes a centre for study and training that aims to promote and maintain exacting high standards.