Not easily seen, a new installation by Spanish architecture group Citylaboratory is worth the trek. ROTUNDA was created as part of Quebec’s International Garden Festival (International Festival des Jardins de Metis) an annual event that includes a competition soliciting innovative garden designs from studios across the world. Rotunda was one of 6 proposals selected from 293 submissions ultimately selected for realization this summer.
The Citylaboratory creation is designed to make a minimal impact on its forest setting. The shallow black basin in the form of an oblong circle is crafted in steel and only makes contact with the ground at a slight foundation point. Once filled with water the form dematerializes into its woody surroundings, an ever-shifting canvas for its floral and faunal cohabitants. The architects make clear that following its inauguration, ROTUNDA is not meant to be refilled but rather “left to evolve over time.” In being abandoned to the elements the installation thus becomes an abstract barometer for shifts in the forest’s climate. Temperature, humidity, and precipitation will all have their say in directing the shifting fate of the structure.
Beyond perhaps an obvious function as a birdbath, Citylaboratory feel that the accumulation of leaves, dust, and pollen will make ROTUNDA a source of growth and cultivation for forest life of all kinds. All 6 gardens will open May 31.