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. The conceptual and briefing stages were held as workshops where the central theme of the internal psychological conflict between our rational mind and our repressed wildness was explored.
What makes this project architecturally unique is that the building was created for the pure purpose of communicating an idea or message. The narrative power of architecture is normally secondary to function, if not ignored altogether, so this was an extremely rare opportunity. The message was expressed architecturally by means of shape, materials and light.
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.
In keeping with the overarching philosophy, the entire pavilion structure is 80% recyclable and mostly re-usable in a different location, and all its materials have been thoroughly researched to understand their broader environmental effects of the manufacturing process and use.
CIA Award for Architecture, 2011
SAIA Award for Excellence, 2012