Grotto Facade

Collaboration with Sandhelden

Photos by Studio S.P

Can increased exposure to wilderness in our cities develop a more meaningful connection to the biosphere and dissolve our anthropocentric views?

The proposal explores the potential of grottos as a spatial strategy for integrating nature in a more substantial and immersive way in the built environment. These spaces sit on the threshold of architecture and landscape and are often overgrown by flora in an uncontrolled, non-determinate manner.

The geometry and ornament of grottos facilitate moss and other plants to grow in its cracks and folds by simply exposing them to the elements. This condition is employed across the proposal in its circulation areas creating zones that are neither inside nor outside and transition from a language of the natural to the made.

Promoting a positive and sustained connection to the natural world, the proposal uses wilderness as a spatial condition and planting strategy. This in turn allows for a more honest manifestation of nature in our buildings beyond its current application as an underwhelming, decorative afterthought. The belief is that with this increased exposure, urban inhabitants will re-establish and strengthen their connection to the natural world which is essential in the endeavour to mitigate climate change.