Photographers: Richard Chivers and John Miller
Builder: Surrey Hills Arts and the Mittal Foundation
Architect: Giles Miller Studio
Location: Surrey Hills, Winterfold forest (GB)
The naturalistic pavilion stands on earthy ground at the edge of Winterfold Woods in southern England. Inspired by the surroundings, it features a cedar wood skin that is reminiscent of a pine cone, not only in architectural terms. The scale-like flat shingles at the rear of the hideout are closed, providing protection against the weather and visual intrusion; at the front, towards the valley, they open up, reaching forward to the sublime view and letting light and air into the centre of the pavilion.
The steel skeleton of the belvedere consists of two parts weighing 230 kg each and resting on a pre-cast concrete foundation. The serially-produced shingles were fixed into place by hand and aligned at the right angles.
Giles Miller Studio pre-empted the poetic words and messages that people inscribe into trees and benches in public places by etching declarations of love and other types of messages contributed by local schools, residents and project participants into individual shingles. Voicing the respective personal feelings to the world in this time-honoured sentimental touch makes the wooden forest shelter an authentic spot for reflexion and contemplation high above the valley, a place to come to rest and take in the view for a magic moment, finding peace far away from extroverted society.
The designers intend their durable sculptural architecture to age naturally over time and thus take on a texture similar to that of tree trunks. As a result the shingle-clad structure will gradually merge in with its surroundings.