Eureka, a Garden Surprise

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Chelsea Flower Show was graced with a unique focal point that was designed to illustrate the show’s dedication towards science. Eureka, a monthly magazine in UK, chose landscape Architect Marcus Barnett to develop this unique design vision. The idea called  “Eureka Pavilion,” is a gazebo that leaves onlookers with a AH-HA moment as they roam around the garden.  It was up to a collaboration between Mr. Barnett, Buro Happold (an engineer) and London architects NEX Architecture to come up with this intriguing oasis. The primary structure of this pavilion has been crafted from wood. The ceiling of the pavilion is fitted with a glass top which acts like oversized skylight through which sunlight can peek in. The inspiration for the pavilion is based-on plants, more specifically the capillaries and cellular structure of plants. Thick tube-like structure, resembling a large, divided leaf, forms the supporting structure within the pavilion. The inner shell has been fitted with a second layer of wood, which keeps it intact.

A design concern was how to keep water from collecting on the top of the structure. The pavilion was skillfully engineered to make sure water would not collect on the roof. Rainwater seeps through the capillary tubes and runs into the ground. The entire pavilion foundation is situated on a raft made from wood, which allows easy transportation from one space to the other within the garden.  To keep it closer to the floor, sand is packed in empty spaces, which acts like a weight and doesn’t let the frame move. The end result is a structure that references plant anatomy, and that provides a visual interest in the area it is positioned at, with its unusual outline.


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