Samples from over 10,000 unique and nearly extinct tree species make up this installation in Bristol

Katie Paterson
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A collection of wooden rods made from over 10,000 unique tree species makes up this permanent installation at Bristol's Royal Fort Garden.

Artist Katie Paterson and architects Zeller & Moye teamed up to design the new structure, which marked the opening of the University’s new Life Sciences Building. The installation, named 'Hollow', is part of a project organized by Bristol-based arts group, Situations, and is joined by a companion website and public participation project, Treebank, in association with BBC Four. Forming a cave-like space, the structure features numerous rods made of young and nearly extinct species of trees that tell the story of the planet’s history. These samples include fantastical trees such as Cedar of Lebanon, the Phoenix Palm, and the Methuselah tree. Samples of salvaged wood from the construction of the Panama Canal Railway from the turn of the century, as well as the remnants of the iconic Atlantic City boardwalk devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, were also included.

“The hollow interior is an introverted and meditative space where, whether sitting or standing, one finds oneself embraced by history,” say architects Christoph Zeller and Ingrid Moye. “Our design conjoins thousands of wooden blocks of differing sizes to form one immense cosmos of wood producing textures, apertures and stalactites. Openings in the vaulted top let in just enough natural light to create the dappled light effect of a forest canopy.”

Samples from over 10,000 unique and nearly extinct tree species make up this installation in Bristol