Architect: Zeller & Moye
Artist: Katie Paterson
Client/Owner: The University of Bristol
Structural Engineer: Momentum Engineering
Main Contractor & Joinery: Millimetre
Wood Supplier: Wenban Smith
Wood Species: Various
On the grounds of the Royal Fort Gardens in Bristol, artist Katie Paterson and architects Zeller & Moye have created a participatory, public artwork that relays stories of the planet’s history and evolution. Hollow is a meditative space made up of over 10,000 unique tree species whose narratives span millions of years — from petrified wood fossils from the earliest forests that emerged 390 million years ago, to emergent categories of arboreal life. The species were collected sustainably over three years from wide networks across the globe including Xylariums, Herbariums, Botanical Gardens, institutes and private wood collectors. The Douglas fir posts that form the façade reflect varying heights of trees within a forest canopy. Once inside the warm miniature forest, visitors experience a monumental collection of tree specimens surrounding them. Above, light filters through apertures in the ceiling, mimicking the way sunlight radiates through a forest. From Kyoto to California, the samples narrate stories from across the earth including the Indian Banyan tree, under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment, and the Japanese ginkgo tree in Hiroshima, which survived one of the darkest moments of human history.