FABRIC go round in circles...

Monday 04 Nov 2013

Ten circular elements combine to create see-through timber maze in Copenhagen

The Dutch design firm FABRIC (Amsterdam) has built a pavilion in the Kongens Have (ed. King's Garden) in Copenhagen. The design is named ‘Trylletromler’, the Danish word for zoetrope. This 19th century device activates an impression of movement within a still image. The pavilion is a result of international design competition issued by the Danish Akademisk Arkitektforening early this year, which was won by FABRIC.

While remaining removable the design had to be realised within a very limited budget. FABRIC therefore introduced a new spatial concept in the royal garden in Copenhagen by stretching the understanding of the ‘pavilion’ towards the most elementary architectural element in garden design: the fence.

This new understanding of space provided by questioning the strict order in the garden design and give way to ambivalence and hybridity is a ' blurring strategy'. This strategy addresses three independent paradoxes by provoking the notions inside and outside, by introducing a maze that is paradoxically transparent and by creating an illusion of motion.

First of all, the fence as a freestanding structure is designed to restrict movement across a boundary. By folding and wrinkling the fence on the location, it produces new meanings of being spatially included or excluded.

Secondly, openings in the fence create routes through the pavilion. Most openings in their appearance resemble a partly raised curtain, making the fence look very light. By avoiding openings on obvious routes on sightlines, visitors are forced to find their way through the sequence of circle-shaped spaces. And not all the openings are accessible to everybody. Some openings only allow children into the pavilion, escaping their parents gaze as they explore the pavilion. The fence acts like a see-through maze.

Thirdly, the fence gives new meaning by its potential to create the illusion of motion via the so-called moiré patterns while moving along the fence. The fence is made out of three thousand standard pieces of Nordic timber which are joined using an irregular pattern of wedges. The repetitive openings between the bars of the fence and their connections create a continuous moving image.

Based on these three principles a floor plan was designed using a composition of ten perfect circles. The plan design reacts to given circumstances such as the exit of the rose garden, the statue by the water, sightlines towards the castle, existing tree lines and the position of solitary trees.

The maze-like structure has in fact only one detail for all its connections. The entire structure has been built with 2,967 standard pieces of spruce, 38 millimeters thick and 68mm wide. The narrow side of the uprights is placed forwards, while the cross-links are made of the same wood rotated ninety degrees. Each cross-link has a height of 200mm and is planed under an angle on one side, so a circular structure arises.

The fence is prefabricated in segments of 1m, which are screwed together at the site and anchored into the ground. The result is a 308m long winding wooden sculpture. Because the spruce is used untreated, all the material can be fully reused after the deconstruction of the pavilion.

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