Hollow by Katie Paterson and Zeller & Moye.

Royal Fort Gardens, Bristol University

May 2016

This timber sculpture, rising up out of the grass, brings together over 10,000 samples of unique tree species from around the world – from fossilised wood over 390 million years old to the most recently-discovered species. The tall beams of local Douglas fir visible on the outside house a highly intricate interior that visitors can go inside and experience. What appears to be a haphazard arrangement of samples jutting together, is in fact a precise pattern of species type and origin.

millimetre pre-fabricated the structure off site, cutting each of the 10,000 samples to size and sanding and fixing them, closely following the 3D model produced by Zeller & Moye. The large Douglas fir sections were fastened together with hidden fixings and left to age naturally. We spent five days installing the sculpture, the satellite timber sections and the seating on site, with a 100-ton crane.

10,000 samples of wood
5.5 tonnes finished structure
5 cubic metres of green Douglas Fir
40,000 individual saw cuts
1200 hours approximate build time
3 years from concept to install
Katie Paterson
Zeller & Moye
University of Bristol
Photography: ©Max McClure