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out of the woods

by Mark Kiernan last modified Jan 04, 2012 04:12 AM
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by MK last modified Sep 10, 2010

Deep in the Swedish forest there is an equally exquisite art museum. Created from an abandoned furniture factory, the Virserum Art Museum connects seamlessly with the context and surrounding community, all with a rich tradition in wood. While quite surprised to find such an interesting museum in the middle of the woods, I feel quite [...]




 

 

photos used with permissions by Virserums Konsthall

Deep in the Swedish forest there is an equally exquisite art museum. Created from an abandoned furniture factory, the Virserum Art Museum connects seamlessly with the context and surrounding community, all with a rich tradition in wood. While quite surprised to find such an interesting museum in the middle of the woods, I feel quite fortunate to see its current exhibit WOOD 2010 and The Architecture of Necessity.. With the focus on the climate and sustainability, the exhibit demonstrates the importance and beauty of wood construction in buildings. Included are full-size prefab wood homes on the Museum grounds, photos and descriptions of important international buildings and their impact on the sustainability movement, as well as commissioned architectural follies within the exhibit.

I spent days at the museum starting with their chapter titled “We’re Screwed”, which describes the significant and negative impact that buildings have on the environment. It also describes the differences in carbon footprint of different countries (which is quite embarrassing for those of us in the U.S.) as well as the effect on different ecosystems. The interrelation of climate change and poverty quickly becomes apparent through the exhibit’s visually striking graphic information. Luckily, the story transitions to amazing examples of how good design can shift this equation.

While the exhibit has so much more (including a big section on modular and prefab construction), I share here some of my favorite moments.

This installation designed by AIX architects is comprised of a series of pieces of plywood that have been laser cut. It tells us about the human footprint, that to walk on earth is to leave a trace. As AIX states, "Architecture and construction is dependent on relating to these fundamental and critical questions and insights."

The outer surfaces of the AIX installation are crisp and flat, accentuating the softness of the inner contours.

The Sheepstable project in Holland designed by 70F Architecture is a lovely example of wood used to create building as sculpture that is beautiful and cost-effective.


This church by Lassila Hirvilammi Architects in Karsamaki, Finland uses logs for the building core along with exterior shingles that are tarred black. The result is a modern take on a historic and traditional use of materials.

Sean Godsell's Peninsula House in Victoria, Austrailia has a slatted wood outer skin that was recovered from demolition of nearby mills and farms is operable, providing flexibility for maximum efficiency of sun shading at different times of the day and year.

The result of Godsell's wood screening is simultaneously solid as well as transparent and dissolving, depending on the sun's orientation.

Designed by TYIN Tegnestue, this orphanage in Thailand is made using a bamboo weaving technique on the facades that is similar to that used on local houses and crafts. The bamboo is locally harvested and was then prefabricated as panels off-site and assembled on-site for maximum efficiency in material usage and waste. The roof shape enables natural ventilation and collects rain water. The project was designed with Open Architecture Network and Architecture for Humanity and is an inspiring example of great design that is good for the world.

Using straw bale panels for this co-housing project requires low energy consumption both in construction as well as how it is used over time. The straw has great thermal properties and when deconstructed, the material can return to the earth rather than the landfill. By KLAR Architects.



The exhibit continues at the Virserum Museum for a while longer, and then will be on tour throughout Europe and Scandinavia for the next 2 years. I highly recommend a visit.

Virserum Art Museum


 

 

 
 
 

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