Forest Follies

The forest has an interior. Tree trunks accumulate to form dense yet porous walls and the branches a layered permeable ceiling. These boundaries mediate the sun, wind and rain and offer a different spatial experience to that outside the forest. This unique interior is ever shifting and loosely defined. We are interested in the transition and threshold between the natural and the man-made, often conflicting phenomena.

The setting for our proposal is a managed forest where the trees have been attenuated to a 2 x 2m grid. This duality of the organic organised on a Cartesian grid is analogous to the man-made environment, where space and movement is rationalised by the imposition of an organisational structure, yet everyday life evolves organically within it. However, the managed forest contains little evidence of demarcation or ownership and this presents us with the opposite conditions from which we would ordinarily begin when working in the built environment.

Our proposal considers the use of follies that start out as pristine orthogonal interventions that appear to conflict with their surroundings. Through their juxtaposition comes a different experience of the natural and the man-made. The follies will inevitably over time, succumb to the patina of the natural environment;

A ramp that leads nowhere gradually ascends along a straight line. Isolated from the ground reference it allows for elevated views of the dense camouflage walls of the forest interior.

Orthogonal walls (based on 2m increments) fold between the grid of trees to demarcate and define recesses and corners in which one can retreat.

A 2 x 2m tower is built as high or higher than a tree and defines a vertical volume within the forest. The tower is symbolic of ownership and manmade achievement but also of mystery and fairy tale. The tower encloses and frames a single tree and the window and door openings provide framed views from within and without.

The sounds of the forest are altered by the acoustics of the interior spaces, movement in the trees intensified by these inanimate objects, views concealed and revealed, heightening the experience of each.

The follies are to be constructed using Cross Laminated Timber, an engineered timber panel system made from the softwood harvested from managed forests. The softwood is engineered in such a way to allow relatively thin panels to be formed with a high degree of structural integrity allowing for constructions every bit as elegant as the trees from which they came.

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