25. Jan 2022

Major Estonian-Irish collaborative exhibition Wood Works 2022 explores the life cycle of wood in architectural design and construction

©Wrkshop Architects

Wood Works — a new travelling exhibition programme organised by the Estonian Association of Architects (EAA), the Estonian Centre for Architecture (ECA) and the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF), will pay a tribute to the “secret life” of wood, from timber to architectural backbone at the Solstice Arts Centre, Navan (Ireland) from January 29th to March 25th, 2022.

Entitled: There is a forest in my backyard but my house is built from trees grown far away, the insightful exhibition is curated by the Estonian-Irish architects team composed of Alder Architects, Dublin (St John Walsh) and b210 Architects, Tallinn (Aet Ader, Helmi Marie Langsepp and Mari Möldre).

“As a natural building material, wood contains a unique richness which is impacted by many factors including climate and topography. Whether the building site is next to a forest or not, timber used in construction has been subjected to an industrial decision-making process that dictates its final physical properties. In this act of translation, where wood is often treated similarly to other inanimate materials, a tree’s uniqueness is sacrificed for transportability, structural consistency and usability.” — assert the Wood Works 2022 curators.

The project explores the transformative life cycle of timber; from extraction to transportation, standardisation to encapsulation in construction and disassembly for potential reuse.

In uncovering the unique traits of timber, five Irish and five Estonian architecture offices — including Hannigan Cooke Architects, Joseph Mackey Architects, OGU Architects, Robert Bourke Architects, Wrkshop Architects (Ireland), Creatomus Solutions, Paco Ulman & Kaja Pae, Peeter Pere Architects, Ruumiringlus, Studio Kuidas (Estonia) — were invited to work in pairs and to question how industry and construction can learn from and be shaped by these inherent qualities of the material.

The new normal inspired the long-distance process, which began in autumn 2020, with a physical exchange of models and ideas by post. In the final display of the resulting nine exhibits, unexpected dialogues emerge between countries, interests, observations and experiences.

The opening seminar will be held at Solstice Arts Centre on January 29th, from 11 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. (free, booking essential: info@solsticeartscentre / 046 909 2300), followed by a second public seminar in March and an educational programme for children and adults during the exhibition.

The project is the result of the Wood Works creative initiative between Estonia and Ireland.The exchange programme was initiated by the Estonian Association of Architects in partnership with the Estonian Centre for Architecture and the Irish Architecture Foundation and will travel in September 2022 to Tallinn during Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB 2022).

The Wood Works project is supported by the European Commission’s European Regional Development Fund through Enterprise Estonia, with additional support for the exhibition from the Arts Council of Ireland, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Enterprise Ireland, and Meath County Council.