RIVERWOOD CONSERVANCY - MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO (2017)
a tree unlike other trees
Pine Sanctuary is a “placemaker” for Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga. It signals the entrance to the park and provides a unique spatial experience for visitors to wander through and enjoy.
From the speed of a car driving down Burnhamthorpe Road West, the piece stands out as a visual icon, but its tall and pointed profile is at home in the context of Riverwood’s pine trees, even if it provokes a second look.
But is it a tree? Real-world comparisons are subjective; depending on the person viewing, they may vary from flower to petals to spanning webs. The colors of the piece pop. They are borrowed from their environment, but heightened and pushed to the realm of iconic artificiality -- a stepped gradient of aqua, chartreuse and cyan among other greens and blues.
This first glimpse of Pine Sanctuary instills a childlike sense of curiosity. An inviting enclosure at a scale between sculpture and architecture, at once playful and mystical, it tempts a passerby to enter. Inside, intrigue is rewarded with a unique experience of space and light, and a deep, quiet, contemplative appreciation. This might translate into wonder about what this fantastical anomaly is, and how it was made, or something more introspective and meditative. The delaminated, double-layered skin provides a moire of colors, as well as shadows and speckled light to catch on the ground. This is a place for spontaneous play as much as it is a sanctuary for one to simply lose their time.
A system of branches rotates around a center point. There's no trunk holding up this arboreal structure. Instead, it opens up into a shady space. "Branches" touch the ground lightly around a covered grove, like a redwood hollowed out. Its feet, splay in all directions, along the way creating a labyrinth through which one can slip in, out and around. Circling the structure, no facade ever repeats itself. The new, unique angle upon every step forward prolongs the sense of discovery.
The project is an example of "Structural Stripes"—a building system in which a continuous surface is de/composed into custom designed and digitally fabricated parts, cut from ultra-thin aluminum. They laminate in multiple directions to create the curvilinear form of each component piece.
A top central moment peels away and branches into several feet that lightly meet the ground, along the way creating a labyrinth through which one can slip in, out and around. Circling the structure, no facade ever repeats itself. The new, unique angle upon every step forward prolongs the sense of discovery.
Linear stripes and arching components are laser cut from thin-gauge aluminum sheets and painted with fours shades of green, a blue, black and white to produce a dynamic coloration across the whole system.
Built from the ground up from these light yet sturdy legs, the structure supports itself without any additional scaffolding or form work.
Day and night, Pine Sanctuary anticipates diverse occupations. When and how you choose spend your time there is up to you.
Pine Sanctuary was commissioned by City of Mississauga, Public Art Collection for Riverwood Park in Mississauga, Ontario. It is the studio’s second public pavilion in Canada, after “Vaulted Willow,” a permanent folly in Borden Park in Edmonton, commissioned by the Edmonton Arts Council.