Kew Gardens, London, UK (competition)
Talking Trees is designed as a haven to celebrate and house the biophilic connections to and between both the living - the tree - and the material - the timber - to create a restorative and convivial space for all.
Talking Trees re-frames our perspective and understanding of trees. Like a clearing in the woods, it presents a chance to pause, reflect and reevaluate our relationship with the natural world and the material resources we draw from it. Drawing from Judith Butler’s notion of grievability, that is to say that I value you as you value me, Talking Trees invites the visitor to experience the often overlooked yet ever-present qualities of trees. In this instance we celebrate Tree 03, the Tilia tomentosa tree at Kew Gardens; but this could be any tree, any collection of trees, woodland or forest. Our design, like the Tilia itself, mimics its resilient adaptability, creating opportunities for reconfiguration and reuse at Kew and beyond as an important and engaging legacy to the project. Through its radial form and interior reflective materiality, the design encourages visitors to occupy the tree, reorienting the user, framing the unexpected and providing a portal into the previously unseen views of nature. As the ramp circles and rises into the tree’s canopy, the circumference of the walkway is exactly the height of the tree (24m)
Collaborative competition entry by: Matri-Archi(tecture), Will Sandy Design Studio, Simple Works, studio 8FOLD and Tate + Co. as lead consultant