10,000 tree samples spanning millions of years form ‘modernist grotto’ in bristol
on the grounds of the historic royal fort gardens in bristol, artist katie paterson and architects zeller & moye have realized a participatory, public artwork that relays stories of the planet’s history and evolution. ‘hollow’ is a meditative space made up of 10,000 unique tree species whose narratives span millions of years — from petrified wood fossils from the earliest forests that emerged 390 million years ago, to emergent categories of arboreal life. the douglas fir posts that form the façade reflect the varying heights of trees and a forest canopy. once inside the warm ‘miniature forest’, visitors experience a monumental collection of tree specimens surrounding them, sourced and gathered over the past three years from across the globe. above, light filters through apertures in the ceiling, mimicking the way sunlight radiates through a forest.
from kyoto to california, and from the oldest tree in the world to some of the youngest, the samples narrate both human and environmental stories from across the earth — including the indian banyan tree, under which buddha achieved enlightenment, and the japanese ginkgo tree in hiroshima, which survived one of the darkest moments of human history.
‘the ‘hollow’ interior is an introverted and meditative space where, whether sitting or standing, one finds oneself embraced by history,’ architects christoph zeller and ingrid moye describe. ‘our design conjoins thousands of wooden blocks of differing sizes to form one immense cosmos of wood producing textures, apertures and stalactites. openings in the vaulted top let in just enough natural light to create the dappled light effect of a forest canopy.’