Rainforest appears in London square

CC BY 2.0 Bonnie Alter

It's the London Festival of Architecture this month and there are installations popping up all over town. Including a bit of the Chilean rainforest.

Designed by Chilean-German GUN Architects, Rainforest is a 5 metre high tree-like structure that gently drips water into an urban oasis. It is meant to simulate the atmosphere of the rainforest.

The pavilion was first introduced in Santiago Chile in 2011 where it won a Young Architects prize. The architects were concerned with the lack of water in Chile and were highlighting the fact that too much had been used for mining and agriculture.

In London the piece feels like a small break from the harshness of the surrounding traffic. The droplets falling from the tubes creates a fresh atmosphere. It is also a stimulus for the growth of the ferns and bits of vegetation growing between the stones.

rain-forestBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

The tree-like structure consists of seven columns with hexagonal tops; these provide the framework for the structure. From this the architects have hung a series of fabric triangles that gradually drip water like stalactites.

rain-forestBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

They are hoping that birds and insects might make use of the water, given the adjacent green square.

rain forestBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

An exhibition inside the adjacent AA gallery shows the background of the project. Working in London differs from Santiago, Chile. There are more constraints in London, and more health & safety issues to complicate matters.

rain-forestBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

The installation is part of the 2014 London Festival of Architecture – an annual event that "celebrates the City’s role as a global hub of architectural experimentation, thinking, learning and practice."

Other installations will include a Pungent Subway made of dried herbs and lavender and bay leaves to mask the smell of an underground abandoned subway station, and a roof garden by Studio Weave architects.

Rainforest appears in London square
A little bit of Chile's rainforest has appeared in a London square as part of the London Festival of Architecture.

Related Content on Treehugger.com