The four landscape installations along a forest trail in Vienna’s Zoo Schönbrunn reflect four different conditions characterizing woodlands: dynamics, diversity, sustainability and cultural significance.
The focus of the concept is the aim to arouse interest through sensuous experience, to simultaneously stimulate reflection and communicate knowledge. Through this contemporary dialogue, the real experience remains central.
In order to understand the dynamics and the pace of woodlands an extruded patch of forest is cleared and left alone to develop. Succession with its sequence of states is a booster for biodiversity by offering niches to inhabit to a wide range of organisms. Over the course of many years, the initial bare soil will be covered by alternating plant societies until eventually a tree will close the hole in the forest canopy. Visitors returning in annual or shorter intervals can experience a steady but surely slow growth and develop a feeling for the span of life of a forest.
Raised from the floor, in order to enable a detailed study of the habitat, a four by four meter steel box displays a mature primeval forest with its typical richness in micro-structures and traces is reerected true to detail.
A sculptural stump, broken by storm, acts as a visual centre piece. The soil is covered by decomposing woods, fungi, mosses and shrubs, giving an impression on the enormous structural and biological diversity of this truly rare habitat.
The third installation depicts the concept of sustainability as a dense interlacing between human and forest habitat. Visitors are invited to enter a wooden room, a blend of forest and housing space, in order to investigate the dense interlacing between human and forest habitat.
The construction material timber is being juxtaposed to the resource. Both are interwoven, enabling trees to grow through the floor, the bench and the walls. Thereby a penetrable space is created where visitors are surrounded by vegetation and still protected by a defined room.
The fourth installation is inspired by an exhibition scenery alluding the cultural layers of woodlands. Similar to a gallery space, picturesque views into the forest are spotlighted by suspended golden frames. The imaginary quality of woodlands as landscape typology as well as their cultivation by forestry are part of human culture and an immanent part of human identity.