RAW Nature

RAW Nature was a design + build seminar combining the expertise of Bureau Chekharda, a world leader in naturalistic playscapes, with the advanced technologic and ecologic capacities of Valldaura Labs. The course began by familiarizing students with the principles of sustainable forest management and natural succession to enable them to select appropriate trees for harvest. Guided by specialists in the critical evaluation of factors such as species, age, form, accessibility, exposure, adjacent vegetation and canopy density, students identified trees which benefit – rather than harm – the greater ecosystem through their removal by empowering successional flora to mature in their stead.

Subsequently, the removed trees were scanned and modeled using experimental photogrammetry methods to assess their structural integrity upon inversion and determine an aesthetic, performative composition. Each tree then had its bark peeled; this is a time-consuming yet essential process to reveal the beauty of the grain underneath and produce a durable surface for public interaction. Ultimately, students install the processed trees in the final playscape. The respectful maintenance of the organic geometries results in a structure ideally suited for creative, interpretive play or leisure and subtly reminds the user of the broader context of the encompassing natural park and the value of conservation.

Year Completed: 2019

Duration: 1 month

Site(s): Collserola Natural Park, Barcelona, Spain

Coordinates: 41.447822° N, 2.136944° E

Budget: 3.000€

Parent Program(s): Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings & Biocities (MAEBB)

Directors: Vicente Guallart, Daniel Ibañez

Instructors: Daria Bychkova, Michael Salka

Operations Manager: Laia Pifarré

Academic Coordinator: Marziah Zad

Green Fab Lab Manager / Technical Coordinator: Michael Salka

Designers (MAEBB Students): Alex Hadley, Anfisa Mishchenko, Sena Kocao?lu, Camille Garnier, Dania Aburouss, Ester Camps Bastida, Filippo Vegezzi, Giada Mirizzi, Juan Gabriel Secondo, Maitri Joy Uka, Camila Fajardo, Nathalie Botbol, Shreya Sharma, Yue Zhang, Zhiqian Liu, Rafael Abboud, Irene Rodriguez Perez

Sponsors: Collserola Natural Park

Consultants: Gerard Passola

Volunteers: Luis Leveri