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Smith|Allen’s 3D-printedÂ forest refuge is inspired by the site’s patterning and historical cycle of deforestation and regeneration.
When Brian Allen and Stephanie Smith first visited the sequoia forest in Gualala, California, they saw patterns everywhere. â€œWe were really intrigued by patterning at many scales, from bark on the trees to light through the trees and also, at a micro scale, [the cells of] the sequioas,â€ said Allen. Two months later the pair was back, this time with 580 sculptural bricks forming the worldâ€™s first 3D-printed architectural installation. Translucent white and 10 by 10 by 8 feet in size, Echoviren resembles a cross between a teepee and a tree stump, a mass made light by the organic porosity of the bricks.
Echoviren is intimately tied to its site on the grounds of Project 387, the residency in which Smith|Allen participated last fall. Besides the sequioasâ€™ patterning, the designers drew inspiration from the primitiveness of their surroundings. â€œThe overall form was driven by what is the most basic space we could make,â€ said Allen. â€œIt turns [out to be] just a small oblong enclosure with an oculus, a small forest hermitage.â€ The oculus draws the eye up, to the natural roof formed by the sequioasâ€™ branches. In addition, Smith|Allen address the history of the site as a place where regrowth followed the trauma of deforestation. Built of bio-plastic, Echoviren has an estimated lifespan of 30-50 years. â€œThe 50 year decomposition is a beautiful echo of that cycleâ€ of deforestation and resurgence, said Allen.