This story is brought to you by New Story Summiteer, Lis Parker, who has been intimately involved in an inspiring project in Stroud, UK, to transform a degenerate hospital building into an alternative housing development. Each stage of the project was documented and a book has recently been published, which tells the story of the conscious honouring of the past, the building of community, the connection with the land, the respect for nature, and the reintegration of local wildlife. The team’s hope is that this project will provide a model for housing developments of the future. Here is their press release…
THE ART OF APPLEWOOD: FROM HOSPITAL TO HOMES
Book launched by Kevin McCloud at Cashes Green Community Centre, Stroud on 3 March
Press Release | 5 March 2015
Local photographer, Ruth Davey, and artist, Lis Parker, proudly presented their new book ‘The Art of Applewood: from Hospital to Homes’ to over 150 people gathered on 3 March at the Cashes Green Community Centre on the edge of Stroud. Officially launched by Kevin McCloud, Chair of HAB Housing, the Bristol-based alternative housing developer, this is an inspirational book charting the evolution of a much-loved piece of land in Stroud: once the derelict Cashes Green Hospital, now a new vibrant community called Applewood. The book tells the story of how the designers, architects, government, housing association and builders collaborated with the local community and gave new life to the rich ecology of the site.
Co-authors Lis Parker (left) and Ruth Davey (right) with Kevin McCloud at the Art of Applewood book launch. Photo © Rob Hawkins
Inside this book you will find stunning photographs and an honest account that tells the tale of the making of ‘Applewood’. Over 120 full colour pages, and through more than 100 photographs taken over three and a half years, it charts the successes and setbacks on site as well as recounting the ways that the site’s founders hope that Applewood can help to inform the housing developments of the future.
The book explores the historical context of the hospital and tells the stories of people who used to work there. Photographs expose the dilapidated and decaying remains of the hospital buildings where wildlife ran free and unfettered by human intervention. The desires and celebrations of the local community are recorded, as are the hands that made the new homes happen. Time was made to stop, plant trees and crush apple juice. The badgers, slowworms, bats, foxes, birds, mice and other creatures have all been encouraged to find their place in the new order that has been created.
Photographs in the Art of Applewood book. All photos © Ruth Davey
Kevin McCloud, chairman of HAB, who contributed a foreword to the book said:
“This book records the passion of people who have poured their souls into a building project and staked their professional reputations to it; but equally importantly, the book brings together remembered events from people who have a long association with the Cashes Green hospital site. That makes it properly rich and resonant.”
Author Ruth Davey said:
“This book is the culmination of the story of a very special plot of land. It is not only about bricks and mortar; it is about the ‘spirit of place’, the relationships between people, and a connection with the earth. Crouching in thick mud, wearing my hard-hat and high-viz jacket, looking, looking again and seeing the colours, textures, forms and light on the site, I frequently experienced moments of pure bliss. I hope this book will challenge and inspire future housing developments to look at the gift of land differently.”
Author Lis Parker said:
“Land is more than a resource, it is also a place that holds personal and spiritual experiences that all living beings connected to it resonate with and feel part of. This book is full of the stories reflecting our relationship to ‘place’. As we leave the old story behind and move into a ‘New Story’ there is the potential for this relationship to transform into a respectful, loving and creative partnership with the earth.”