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There is a forest in my backyard but my house is built from trees grown far away / Mu maja pole puudest, mis kasvavad kodu taga metsas
Solstice Arts Centre
29 January – 25 March 2022
Curators: St. John Walsh (Alder Architects, Dublin); Aet Ader, Helmi Marie Langsepp, and Mari Möldre (b210 Architects, Tallinn)
Exhibiting architects: Creatomus Solutions, Hannigan Cooke Architects, Joseph Mackey Architects, Kaja Pae and Paco Ulman, OGU Architects, Peeter Pere Architects, Robert Bourke Architects, Ruumiringlus, Studio Kuidas, and Wrkshop
As a natural building material, wood contains a unique richness which is impacted by many factors including climate and topography. Whether the building site is next to a forest or not, timber used in construction has been subjected to an industrial decision making process that dictates its final physical properties. In this act of translation, where wood is often treated similarly to other inanimate materials, a tree’s uniqueness is sacrificed for transportability, structural consistency and usability.
Focusing on the characteristics of wood, the exhibition explores the act of transformation across the life cycle of the material from extraction to transportation, standardisation to encapsulation and eventual disassembly for potential reuse. In seeking out the unique traits of timber, it asks how industry and construction can learn from and be shaped by these inherent qualities of the material. What are the demands of the building industry for wood materials and what are the limitations and opportunities of this? Is it necessary for a designer to consider the life cycle of the wood? What opportunity exists to interpret and reuse standardised material extracted from existing sources following deconstruction?
The exhibition There is a forest in my backyard but my house is built from trees grown far away / Mu maja pole puudest, mis kasvavad kodu taga metsas is the result of a competition and creative exchange between Estonia and Ireland called Wood Works. The exchange was initiated by the Estonian Association of Architects (EAA) in partnership with the Estonian Centre for Architecture (ECA) and the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF). The exhibition proposal was selected through the Wood Works Curatorial Team Competition in 2020, judged by the EAA, ECA and IAF.
The Wood Works project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund through Enterprise Estonia, the EAA, the ECA, The Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Enterprise Ireland, the Arts Council of Ireland, and the IAF.
Opening seminar: Solstice Arts Centre, Saturday 29 January, 11am-3pm
The opening-day seminar was chaired by Peter Carroll from A2 Architects and the School of Architecture at University of Limerick (SAUL) and featured presentations by the curators and the exhibiting architects discussing their collaborative exchanges. A keynote address was given by world renowned Irish architects Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects. You can watch a recording of the seminar below.
Closing seminar “Timber Futures”: Solstice Arts Centre, Saturday 12 March, 12-3pm. (Free, booking essential.)
To mark the success of the exhibition There is a forest but my house is built from trees grown far away, this closing seminar will focus firstly on how can we find a new form of architecture embedded in timber, and secondly where should our focus lie to achieve this?
Chaired by Peter Carroll, the seminar will feature keynote speakers with a command and track record in the utilisation of wood in architecture: Børre Skodvin (Jensen and Skodvin Architects, Norway) and Merritt Bucholz and Karen McEvoy (Bucholz McEvoy Architects, Dublin). Established in Oslo in 1995, Jensen and Skodvin Architects realise ideas in the form of built work while contributing to the development of the tectonic culture of architectural profession and with a deep concern for utilising wood. Established in 1996, Bucholz McEvoy Architects are known for their outstanding contribution to timber technology, sustainability and architectural design. Their new administrative office building currently under construction for Toronto and Region Conservation Authority is one such project that will set a benchmark for timber technology and sustainable design in commercial building.
Alder Architects is a multidisciplinary practice based in Dublin and Cork. They enjoy applying their design skills to projects at all scales, focusing on inventive use of materials and light. They place a strong emphasis on collaboration and participation with clients, communities and artists. Commissions to date have included new residential and commercial buildings, extensions to existing structures, workplace design and public installations. St John Walsh established Alder Architects in 2016 following over 10 years experience working with award winning architecture practices in Ireland and the UK.
b210 is an architecture office in Tallinn with a think tank approach to everyday spatial challenges. They believe that positive change in the built environment is driven by a smart design process where architectural ideas are as important as the methods of developing them. They like to design ways of thinking as much as physical spaces. Aet Ader is an architect and co-founder of b210 whose experience includes co-editing architecture magazine Ehituskunst, serving as vice-president of the Association of Estonian Architects, and co-curating the Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2013: Recycling Socialism and the exhibition BEL:EST – A Laboratory for Europe in Brussels, which was exhibited in Bozar, Brussels and TAB, Tallinn. Before joining b210, Helmi Marie Langsepp worked as an architect in MAP Architects studio (Denmark) and Mari Möldre worked as an architect in MORE Architecture (China).
Take a virtual 360 tour of the exhibition!
Courtesy of Solstice Arts Centre.
Photos by Aisling McCoy.