Alan is a designer and builder with over 20 years experience. Having graduated with a degree in design Alan worked as an Interior Designer on a range of commercial projects, from shopping centres to furniture. After a short period as a secondary school teacher, Alan embarked on a cob building apprenticeship in the USA. "Working with earth, timber and stone is always a humbling, joyful and meditative process and has provided me with a vehicle to bring together the creative, spiritual and practical elements of my life.” Alan is also an avid rock climber and his addiction to the sport has taken him to many beautiful and inspiring places across the world.
From a young age I have always loved creating and using my hands to make something out of nothing. I am most at home out in nature, a place to reflect, observe, play and explore and most of all feel connected to something greater than myself. From the simple beauty of building dens in my youth, to bringing science and art together with friends in the creation of a bicycle powered soundsystem in my university years, the seeds were sown to further explore my natural environment.
Discovering cob, was a lightbulb moment bringing together all those elements that were important to me; the spiritual, physical and creative. My apprenticeship in the States was the beginning of a great journey, one that opened the doors to enable me to create beautiful spaces from the ground beneath my feet.
Inspired by the magical and harmonious rhythms and curvilinear designs of nature, this journey became more than just about building for me but about embracing a whole way of life. It has provided a blank canvas to respond both creatively and playfully to the continuing destruction of our natural environment and create a platform that empowers, celebrates and shares the world we live in, sharing this with people from all walks of life.
Other Collaborators - Keith Matthews
Keith is a traditional greenwood craftsman and teacher with over twenty years experience in joinery, woodland crafts and sustainable building techniques.
Having lived in North Wales for many years, he returned to his native Liverpool and is keen to continue his work in the city. He has worked with The Roundhouse Company since 2015 on a variety of projects and enjoys the challenge and variety of the projects.
Keith brings some of his own personal touches to our work, from bespoke door designs to furniture and sculpture, a well known prolific and accomplished spoon carver, Keith recently carved a spoon a day for an entire year!
Other Collaborators - Leo Alvarez
Leo has been involved in a variety of interesting carpentry projects from custom made furniture and compost loos to an award winning eco shed 'The Owl house' and stage sets for The Kazimier Garden and The Invisible Wind Factory.
He joined us as a carpenter on the Saline Lagoon Hide project at Washington WWT in 2016.
Many thanks to all the labourers & volunteers who have helped us on our projects over the years. We appreciate all the hard work you have invested in our builds.
Other Contributors - Doug King-Smith
Doug runs a fantastic community woodland project down in Devon, The Hillyfield, where he is now based. He has been exploring the world of carving since 2005.
Doug first introduced his beautiful circular carved windows to our Slimbridge WWT 'Back from the Brink' project in 2009. We then invited him back in 2011 to contribute these circular beauties for two cob roundhouse outdoor classroom spaces, Arden Grove Infant & Primary School where he also ran a carving workshop as part of the carving of the cruck frame entrance, and St. Cleopas School.
Other Contributors - Angela Sidwell
Angela is a sculptor who has worked with us on a couple of projects including Wythenshawe Park's Cob Education space in 2006 and St. Cleopas School's Outdoor Classroom space in 2011 where she carved both the entrance posts/cruck frame for these buildings. She ran wood carving workshops as part of both these projects.