by Oliver Lowenstein
Fourth Door is a multi-disciplinary organisation, publishing Fourth Door Review, an occasional cultural review with a strong sustainable architecture and environmental art focus.
Based in Lewes, Sussex, Fourth Door also runs a variety of sustainability related projects which overlap with the Flimwell Woodland Enterprise Centre's forestry and timber mission.
Indeed back to 2000 Oliver Lowenstein, Fourth Door Review's editorial co-ordinator, (who also wears a sustainable architecture journalist hat) wrote an early feature-piece on the Phase 1 chestnut gridshell for the sustainable architecture and building magazine, Building for a Future. You can now find this and other pieces on Fourth Door's contemporary timber architecture web-magazine, Annular.
Other features include articles on Flimwell's Phase 2 Douglas fir cruck frame buildings plus other features on local Sussex-sourced timber materials and products the gridshell and cruck-frame building traditions and other regional timber building projects.
More recently Fourth Door was instrumental in initiating and developing the concept behind the 2012 Cluster exhibition by basket-maker Annemarie O'Sullivan at Brighton's Fabrica gallery. Following Fourth Door's initial proposal the exhibition linked the gridshell's weaving basketry dimension to similar practice found at different scales in 'art' basketry and in land art. Timed to complement the tenth anniversary year of the two Sussex gridshells, the 2012 edition of Unstructured, Fourth Door's principal web-magazine, explored the wider connections between gridshell structures and art-basketry and land art, in its Rewilding the Structural, Reweaving the Sculptural special feature edition. The edition includes an interview with Annemarie O'Sullivan, an in-depth history of the Downland gridshell, features on land artists Walter Bailey and Red Earth -Sussex artists who work with natural materials from the Weald and Downland region, an exploration of Sweet Chestnut by Flimwell's founder, David Saunders and a comprehensive overview of the shared sensibility across the different disciplines.
In 2009 Fourth Door helped initiate the WoodWise seminar aimed at developing timber education and research within the HE sector. We introduced and brought tutors from the renowned 'design and make studio Wood Program at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland to the conference, which was attended by many of the London and South of England architecture and design school departments.