An urban timber installation to reflect on the life cycle of materials

Studio Bark has created a temporary pavilion in Leeds City Square made of fir boards to encourage collective reflection on the use of materials in the construction industry.

Open to the public in Leeds’ City Square until next January, “Making A Stand” is a wooden installation created by a collaboration between architecture firm Studio Bark and artist Michael Pinsky. Consisting of 127 six-meter-high wooden columns, the temporary work has been arranged in a grid around the square’s existing trees, street furniture and sculptures. Described by the architects as a “sculptural forest”, the project was made from Douglas fir wood – a type of wood commonly used in construction and taken from the U.K. forestry supply chain. Each fir board can be traced to the exact stump of origin in the forest through a unique code, allowing designers to track its life cycle.

Studio Bark and Michael Pinsky, Making A Stand, Leeds, UK, 2023. Photo Ellen Christina Hancock and Tom Joy

This vertical system is then joined by an intricate network of tension wires and compression bars positioned at the level of the tree canopy, while at the center of the plaza five trusses are covered by a polycarbonate roof. The stark contrast between the natural and the artificial is highlighted by the visibility of the rough texture of the bark and the cut edge of the sawn wood on each of the wooden columnar fins.

For Studio Bark, the public installation is also a reflection on the life cycle of materials, emphasizing the need for the construction industry to replace carbon-intensive materials such as concrete and steel with materials such as wood.

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