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A major Estonian-Irish collaborative exhibition at Solstice Arts Centre (Navan) pays tribute to the secret life of wood and culminates the Wood Works creative exchange programme.
Entitled 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, the thought-provoking exhibition is curated by a team of Estonian and Irish architects from Alder Architects, Dublin (St John Walsh) and b210 Architects, Tallinn (Aet Ader, Helmi Marie Langsepp and Mari Möldre) and will be open to the public from 29 January to 25 March 2022.
The project explores the transformative life cycle of timber from extraction to transportation, standardisation to encapsulation in construction and disassembly for potential reuse.
“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,” assert the Wood Works curators.
Five Irish and five Estonian architecture offices — Hannigan Cooke Architects, Joseph Mackey Architects, OGU Architects, Robert Bourke Architects, Wrkshop Architects (Ireland), Creatomus Solutions, Paco Ulman & Kaja Pae, Peeter Pere Architects, Ruumiringlus, Studio Kuidas (Estonia) — were invited to work in pairs to uncover the unique traits of timber and to question how industry and construction can learn from and be shaped by these inherent qualities of the material. Created through a long-distance process of exchange and collaboration which began in autumn 2020, the final exhibits reveal how unexpected dialogues emerge between countries, interests, observations and experiences.
The exhibition will open with a seminar at Solstice Arts Centre on 29 January, 11 am to 3 pm (free, booking essential). This will be followed by a second public seminar in March and an educational programme for children and adults during the exhibition.
The exhibition is the result of the Wood Works creative initiative between Estonia and Ireland and is planned to travel to the Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB 2022) in September 2022.
The Wood Works exchange programme was initiated by the Estonian Association of Architects in partnership with the Estonian Centre for Architecture and the Irish Architecture Foundation. The project is supported by the European Commission’s European Regional Development Fund through Enterprise Estonia, with additional support from the Arts Council of Ireland, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, and Enterprise Ireland.
Photo: “De Oratorio” by Joseph-Mackey-Architects © Aisling McCoy