Roots Architecture at WOMAD 2011 - A Game of Structural Consequences (Video)


Image via Electric Pedals

What can you do at a music festival in four days with 75 volunteers and lots of salvaged materials? Build some amazing performance stages, that's what. Last year we reported on the Roots Architecture project at the WOMAD festival, with Tyin Tegnestue's beautifully sleek and angular stage being the showstopper. These Norwegian humanitarian architects were back this year for more collaborative construction fun.
Images by Leonora Oppenheim

The Roots Architecture project is a great example of architecture as an event, says Marcus Toop, co organiser of the project. By melding architecture and performance this festival project brings together different groups of people in a process of playful participatory design. Toop elaborates,

"The definition of architecture is wider than just the object of the building. The definition is social, political, cultural, it's got all sorts of elements in it which we're exploring. We seeing architecture as a community, as an event, the moment that you are trying to house. This, which is an empty field, is now a community of 75/80 people eating together, socialising together, working together, creating something together."


Team Tyin Tegnestue's Head (L) Sally and Marcus celebrating the final result (R).

Together with his colleague Sally Daniels, Toop runs Tangent Field an organisation that encourages architecture students to get out from behind the computer and get their hands dirty on building workshops. For Roots Architecture at WOMAD they've teamed up with Oliver Lowenstein of the architecture journal Fourth Door Review, who is also passionate about craft in architecture.

For this second year of Roots Architecture Sally and Marcus created a visual brief that looked like a game of consequences, with sections of illustrations from a children's book, pasted together to create an unlikely creature called a Hohooerpim. The volunteers were then split into four teams relating to each section of the illustration. Last year each stage was a separate entity, but this year the teams had to work together to join their stages into one structure with a head, body, haunches and tail.


Team Bamboo Jack's woven body

Sally Daniels explains the purpose of the brief:

"The whole idea of the consequences game is about reconnecting. We've used it as a device for making something big in teams. You can bring together these people who work in very different ways. They've got different philosophies and they've come from different backgrounds, they have to negotiate with each other to create one whole thing."

The Tyin Tegnestue boys, Andreas Gjertsen and Yashar Hanstad, were in charge of the head, their minimal Scandinavian style being apparent in the clean geometric form. The wonderfully named Bamboo Jack (Jack Everett) was in charge of the upper body, which was made using traditional American basket weaving techniques with coppiced hazel and salvaged fabrics.

Members from Architecture Sans Frontières UK were team leaders on the lower body and used a truck bed to elevate their structure. Then finally the German art/architecture team of Folke Köbberling and Martin Kaltwasser directed the tail using reclaimed pallets.


Architecture Sans Frontières' tail.

Below Andreas Gjerstsen of Tyin Tegnestue talks about the crazy creative experience that is Roots Architecture at WOMAD, all aided by pedal powered tools, lighting and sound.


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