This is a speculative project that attempts to reveal, orient and structure the root systems beneath our feet to illustrate a dialogue between ecology, architecture, and the public realm. Structural and material decay is inherent and unavoidable, so why attempt to directly suppress the things and forces which lead to it? On a fundamental level, many underpasses are defined by the process of carving out the ground and paving it with concrete. In a way, it effectively separates nature from the built environment.
This project challenges this relationship and instead treats nature, and more specifically, the growth of trees and their roots, as something to be revealed rather than hidden and avoided. Over time, degradation and decay will happen regardless of how well people design things to prevent it. This project is not about giving in to decay, but rather about creating systems, aesthetics, and structures which can embrace it in new and interesting ways.
Created Ryan Cook with Graham Livesey. School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL), University of Calgary, 2015.