Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

Scroll to top



Growing a Hidden Architecture – Christian Kerrigan

  • On July 12, 2006

christian kerrigan

Architect & Editor of 'The Space Between'magazine, Christian Kerrigan investigates in his recent work, how man’s ability to control his surroundings is intimately linked with his advancing capabilities of using technology. Christian says "We have reached a point in our evolution where we are now capable of creating design criteria to manipulate natural growth and development." Here are a number of stunning award winning drawings he has produced to bring his futuristic visions to life.

christian kerrigan

This project explores the possibilities of a symbiotic relationship between two different systems of organization, technology and nature. The technology is designed to theoretically alter newly planted trees in the last remaining Yew forest- Kingley Vale.

christian kerrigan

By controlling the manipulation of refined armatures, calibrating devices and designed corsets; the system is capable of controlling the growth of a ship inside the forest. The ship will grow over a period of two hundred years and will exist as a hidden architecture inside the trees.

christian kerrigan

The ship growing in the forest is the ship from the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, a tale of man’s relationship to mortality. For the evolution to last without human intervention, the artificial system harvests resin from the trees to measure time passing. The hourglass is designed to a volume of two hundred years, as the resin passes from the tree the clock slowly fills.

christian kerrigan

Ultimately the hourglass volume is filled, jamming the clock signally the completion of the system. The project demonstrates by creating this architecture within the trees the artificial system itself extends new possibilities into the relationship between technology and nature.


1. Copse View: as the trees slowly evolve the 'Amber clock' strapped to the tree registers the passing of time with a two hundred year hourglass.

2. Macresco: The corset strapped around the tree creates the formwork for the extruded hull section

3.  Tree evolution: As the forest matures the 'Amber clock' is consumed with the body of the trees. It acts as an artifact for the artificial system of manipulation.

4. Hull section: As the trees grow the manipulation of the hull section evolves as a trained section inside the tree.

5. Amber Clock: The hourglass is deigned to a volume of two hundred year time span, as the resin passes from the tree the clock slowly fills. Ultimately the hourglass volume is filled and the clock stops signally the completion of the system.

6. Ships Figurehead: This the carved ornamental and painted figure erected on the bow of ships. In this system it evolves from the splitting of the tree as an iconographic piece of a symbiotic relationship between nature and technology. 



Submit a Comment