Tutors: Zak Pulis | Ciara Geary
Participants: William O’Donnell | Gavin Campbell | Joe Keohane | Leyla Musayeva | Anastasia Prodromou | Michaela Paschali | George Fergusson | Gio Pkhachiashvili | Ričardas Bertašius | Nanka Bagaturia | Levan Mamsikashvili | Hilda Uusitalo | Magdalena Blok | Karina Picus | Olga Berning | Nuria Cánovas Bernabeu | Danae Tselou | Shreyansh Sett
Location: Nida | Lithuania
Photo: Paulina Lise
The Dune project is the kind of the one, which is technically not very complicated and at the same time has a well thought out content. Though, construction process was hard and related with digging out of 22.5 m3 of sand just by hand with shovel, as required the environment protection. Not to lose this spirit let us present you the interview with the tutors of the project with no further introduction.
– How has the Dune shape been formed, was it a long process of transformation?
We always wanted to compliment the area and observed how Nida is divided into the forest, sea and lagoon, and village simply by viewing images online. Our initial concept was to connect these three elements by means of an elevated viewing point, so an observation deck was always in mind. We travelled to Nida in October and investigated the site further. We were instantly impressed by the forest and sand dunes, primarily by their transition into each other through a gradual gradient of sorts – as the forest slowly ends, the sand begins. Nida also offered an astronomical spectacle at night, forcing everyone to look up and observe the bright Milky Way. This was a product of the limited light pollution in the area. The area is also very secluded making it an ideal place for reflection and solitude. These observations inspired us to create a structure with an elevated viewing deck for relaxation and star gazing that doubles as a contemplative space below. The form of the structure sets to represent a sand dune as a whole, as we always wanted to build it on sand, but the vertical elements at the front and back are reminiscent of the upright trees in the forest transitioning into the horizontal beams reminiscent of the sands surface. Creating this form took quite a while as we understood how site sensitive our project was, so a lot of research was put into it.
– Why did you decide the walls had to be a kind of perforated and airy, but the pattern would not be rhythmical?
The walls were chosen to be perforated for a number of reasons. Firstly, this allowed the passing of sand through the structure. We understood the Nida’s surroundings were constantly changing, primarily due to wind currents that carry the sand. Having a permeable wall encouraged this movement and integrated the structure with the sand dunes. Secondly, this construction method is fairly quick and simple. We knew that we only had two weeks to build our Dune, so we had to come up with a construction system that participants of all levels could understand and easily build. This system involved pre-cutting all of our timber, carrying them on site, and assembling the structure by stacking each piece onto each other, divided by smaller off-cuts. The off-cuts in between the timber beams enabled separation and perforation, but also encouraged a project with limited waste as these were all pieces recycled from cutting our primary timber beams, hence them being of different sizes. Thirdly, this method ties into the theme of the assembly – Not Yet Decided. Viewers can only see movement through the random openings of the structure, making true interactions happening inside questionable from the outside and vice versa. This creates a feeling on uncertainty, that sparks a curiosity to truly discover what is occurring. Finally, the slits create a link between inside and outside that never force the user to stray away from Nida’s natural surroundings.
– Who is this space for?
The space is for everyone. We knew that many different users explore this area of Nida as it is quite close to the beach so we kept the function of the pavilion very straightforward and its construction sturdy. Users are given a contemplative space with a hammock on top for relaxation. It is now up to them to use it as they please.
– What were materials used for the project, were the tools complicated?
The only materials used were 80x220x6000 mm timber beams for the main structure, 200x200x6000 mm timber beams for the foundations and vertical elements, and a nylon rope netting for the hammock. The timber beams were all cut at the accommodation site to their appropriate sizes and transported to the construction site. The only tools used were a table saw for cutting the 80mm thick timber beams, a chainsaw for cutting the foundations and vertical poles, and lots of hammers and nails to assemble everything in place. All in all, not very complicated.
– Are there any favorite elements of structure for you?
The stairs. The going dimension made them extremely comfortable to climb and also helped in carrying heavy beams up to the top during construction! Viewing their underside from the interior room also created a pleasant light penetration pattern and rhythm.
Author: Tata Alkhazashvili