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Building as landscape: art, fields of hay and sheep grazing

Part 2 Project 2013
Lucy Styles
RIBA Studio, UK
This is a proposal for a rural art gallery that is designed as a landscape: low-lying, extensive and in constant interplay with the sky and horizon. It sits lightly across one square kilometre of Kent, exploring the scattered farmhouse typology at the scale of a village. One hundred units are distributed across the site, a porous series of small interventions that provide a framework whereby agriculture and art can coexist.

Tate Nature serves as an alternative to the hermetic stability of classic museum environments. It is a hybrid between the high-tech and the vernacular that challenges existing concepts of art conservation. The proposal divides visitor and art space into two largely independent spheres, creating a sustainable environment that removes visitors from cushioned bubbles of constant conditioning and exposes them to seasonal shifts.

Emerging glass technology is adopted to create an ephemeral built environment that sways gently in the wind and begins to disappear. Transparent walls cut through the landscape creating microclimates that introduce a new layer of artificial nature across the site: autumn leaves will build up in the face of the prevailing south-westerly wind and cherry blossom can be contained in winter.

Like nature, it is an unstable system. It is designed to be appropriated over the course of time and adapt to seasonal character and the changing course of agriculture. This scheme is, like the countryside itself, a haphazard conglomeration of overlapping functions. It can be messy. It is a fluctuating environment that becomes a landscape of impermanence: one day it can be a flower field, another a blanket of snow.

Lucy Styles


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