After seeing Francis Kéré’s Louisiana Canopy installation at the Louisiana Museum of Contemporary Art, Cathy and Peter Halstead were inspired to commission the Berlin-based architect to add a piece to their vast Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana. A few years on and Xylem, a piece developed in Louisiana, is now complete in Tippet Rise. The art center is home to a number of monumental art pieces, including three large concrete works by Madrid-based architects Ensamble Studio and a complex wooden construction by the New York-based artist Stephen Talasnik. While Tippet Rise stretches over 12,000 acres across southwest Montana’s broad, high plains, Xylem is located on one of the property's few intimate spaces. Rather than site the project on the top of a butte or at the base of a canyon, like many of the other monumental art pieces throughout the art center, Kéré’s pavilion sits nestled amid a stand of cottonwoods and aspens along the bubbling Grove Creek. Unlike the rest of the center’s collection, Xylem is meant to have a specific function as a gathering area for guests and a performance space for artists. “The Louisiana project was the inspiration for Cathy and Peter,” explained Kéré while walking through the new pavilion, “but Louisiana was in a museum, in a room, enclosed, protected. Here was have this landscape, which can be windy, hot, with a lot of snow. What can you do?” Kéré’s solution involved sourcing hardy local materials and playing with form and light, all while working to understand the clients' wish for an intimate, yet accessible, space. The 60-foot-diameter pavilion is comprised of thousands of linear feet of ponderosa and lodgepole pine logs. Each log was sustainably sourced from the nearby forests that had been ravaged by invasive mountain pine beetle or wildfires. Once stripped of their bark, the logs were cut to length and bound together to produce the bulk of the pavilion. These large masses of timber make up a series of lounging surfaces, as well as the expansive cantilevering canopy and the column cladding. That canopy is comprised of specially configured hexagonal bundles suspended from an AECOM-engineered steel frame. This seemingly straightforward construction method has been the focus of Kéré’s office for a number of years and involves a title collaboration between architect and craftspeople. For Xylem, Kéré worked with local architects of record Gunnstock Timber Frames, who also served as wood fabricators for the project. Gunnstock Timber Frames is also responsible for the other buildings on the Tippet Rise main campus. Spaces for small groups or individuals were shaped and carved into the masses of logs as if they were a single volume, providing a cool space to sit and lounge in any number of positions. The smoothed wood formations are dappled with light throughout the day, as sunlight slips between the gaps in the bundles of overhead timber and the steel frame. The careful positioning of the pavilion also directs views out to the often-dramatic setting sun, while maintaining a sense of enclosure in other directions. In its current state, the freshly constructed pavilion emits a fresh pine scent, which adds to the pleasant experience of being in the naturalistic surroundings. “The first instinct is not to consider this plot, why not build out there,” said Kéré as he discussed the siting of the pavilion with AN, while pointing out to the vast landscape. “We realized though, we had a chance to deal with this site, and respect the trees, and even to increase the feeling you have while listing to the water. Here you can focus on the sunset.”
Posts tagged with "Tippet Rise Art Center":
Berlin, Germany-based architect Francis Kéré has unveiled renderings for a planned musical pavilion set for the Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana. The free-form 1,900-square-foot pavilion is designed to provide refuge in the forest while mimicking surrounding trees through the use of locally-logged ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine timbers. The structure's rounded surfaces and a sculptural drop-down ceiling are meant to echo the traditional designs of tongunas, sacred shelters built using wooden pillars and carved ornamentation by the Dogon culture of Mali. The pavilion will be accessed on the heavily-wooded site by a thin path and a circular bridge that meanders over meadows, a stream, and forested areas. The passage is designed to only touch down on at two points in order to minimize the installation's intrusion on the natural landscape. Inside the pavilion, integrated seating will provide views of the internal structure, including the sculptural ceiling, which is made up of the aforementioned dropped-down logs that create a so-called "rain of light" effect when they are illuminated by the low-lying sun. Laura Viklund Gunn of Gunnstock Timber Frames will collaborate with Kéré and his team as the local project architect. In the past, Viklund has helped to construct a variety of other installations at the arts center. Regarding the project, Kéré said, “Standing on the high meadow of Tippet Rise Art Center, looking out at the mountains under a vast sky, people can face nature at its widest scale. But with this pavilion, Tippet Rise offers a more intimate experience of its landscape within a quiet shelter, where people can access the most secret part of nature: the heart of the trees." In conjunction with the project, the Tippet Rise Fund will provide financial support for the construction of a new school building in Burkina Faso, Kéré’s native country. The woody pavilion is scheduled for completion at the start of Tippet's summer 2019 program.
Landscape and sculpture become nearly one with Ensamble Studio’s large-scale sculptural installations in at the Tippet Rise Art Center, a contemporary center for art and music located northeast of Beartooth Mountains in Fishtail, Montana. The installations are mammoth in size, speaking to the scale and vastness of the local terrain, which is a 11,500-acre working ranch just north of Yellowstone National Park. The concrete sculptures are born of the site: for the sculpture Beartooth Portal, Ensamble Studio cast two massive reinforced concrete concrete forms in man-made earthen depression. This geological exploration yields a raw and primitive aesthetic. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqnxDjUmyAc] Ensamble Studio, led by partners Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa, have completed three of these earthen sculptures—Beartooth Portal, Inverted Portal, and Domo. Ensamble Studio presented ideas for eight additional sculptures at the Venice Biennale none of which are currently being pursued. Domo, completed last week at Tippet Rise, is depicted in photomontages as a small upside-down mountain range. Visitors will be able to walk beneath the sculpture into an open space reminiscent of ancient caves. Its casting process was even more complex than that which was used for Beartooth Portal and Inverted Portal. Tippet Rise Art Center will open on June 17, 2016.