Project Name: Untamed Pavillion
Practice: Daffonchio Architects
Firm Location: Johannesburg
Gross Built up Area: 2016
Project Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Lead Architects: Enrico Daffonchio
Design Team: David Davidson
Others: Sculptor - Dylan Lewis, Writer/Poet - Ian McCallum
Photo Credits: Elsa Young, Henrique WildingMore Specs
(Text as submitted by the Architect)
Untamed is the result of a collaborative process between a sculptor, writer and an architect. Dylan Lewis the sculptor, and originator of the project, had a strong intuitive idea about the subject Ian McCallum, the writer, discusses in his book, ‘Ecological Intelligence’. Dylan then researched architects who are environmentally conscious and who have collaborated with artists before and approached Enrico Daffonchio.
With regards to the completion date of Untamed Pavilion, it continued evolving when from its initial birthplace at Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens in 2010 it was relocated to the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Gardens in Stellenbosch in 2015.
Here a brickwork extension was added behind the pavilion incorporating store rooms, a kitchen, bathrooms, and a planted roof. The increase in floorspace (almost triple its original size) allowed for a bigger exhibition space, and so the Pavilion was reopened in 2016.
All materials were assessed in relation to ease of construction + fabrication, ease of de-construction, ease of transport and recyclability. This produced an interesting description of the birth, life and recyclability of all materials used, whether they are “green” like the solar panels that power the building, or “standard” materials. The main sustainable aspect of the building is that 90% of it can be reassembled in a different location.
The concept for the building is the tension and contrast between the man-made and natural. This is represented in the building through the main material elements, the green wall and the steel structure.
When choosing the man made material to oppose the green wall, steel gave the best solution as it is easy to assemble and dissemble, and it has a great expressive quality when it is rusted. The changeability of this material was aesthetically attractive as it and weathers and ages during its life span
The architectural design process began with the relationship between the site and the structure. Given that the site was the Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, which is a World Heritage Site, it was important that the pavilion visually blended into the surroundings. The dominant shape of the building is therefore horizontal without any angles, in order to layer is subtly within the natural backdrop of Kirstenbosch. As it progressed, the plan of the building became informed by the ritual dance of San hunters who follow a spiral-like path in hunting ceremonies. At the centre of the spiral the ‘become’ the animal that they will hunt the next day. This narrative fitted seamlessly with Dylan’s incorporation of skulls into his sculptures, as well as the idea of less distinct boundaries between animal and human nature. The walls and ‘living wall’ echo this too: the rusted steel wall elicits certain memories of industrial wastelands, while the ‘living wall’ introduces the idea of nature reclaiming control over the man-made
Dylan Lewis is a world-renowned South African-born sculptor in his mid-forties. He is one of only a handful of living artists to have a solo exhibition at Christie’s of London. In June 2007 the auction, titled ‘Predators and Prey’: The Animal Bronzes of Dylan Lewis saw 75 final editions of his animal works go under the hammer. All the sculptures sold within just 90 minutes, putting Lewis firmly on the art world’s centre stage.
Writer/Poet for the ‘Untamed’ exhibition 2010
McCallum is a medical doctor, psychiatrist and analytical psychologist, as well as a specialist wilderness guide, an author and a poet. He presently directs the Environmental Education programme for the Wilderness Foundation. He has spent much of the past ten years combining his psychiatric practice with writing as well as guiding in Southern Africa and parts of East Africa. His special interests focus on evolutionary theory, human ecology and the animal-human interface.
Daffonchio was born in 1964 in Italy and, with a South African father and Italian mother, grew up between Johannesburg and Northern Italy. With a degree in Architecture from the University of Turin, and after experiences in various fields as diverse as manufacturing, property development and art, started Daffonchio and Associates Architects in 1999.