Treehouse Modules

The Wasp Nest - a neglected relationship

mothe chandeniers castle, france

DESIGN TEAM: Garvin Goepel and Christian Baumgarten

Project Type:  Competition entry YAC
Dates:  August 2020

The reinhabitation of nature:

Nidus Domum (Module 1_Nidus Dolichovespula sylvestris & Module 2_Nidus Polistinae) are two amorphous, curved nest modules that shelter visitors high up in the trees respectively over the water and land, providing a close connection to its natural surrounding. The concept includes the layering, addition, and multiplication of individual elements, inspired by the composition of a wasp nest: Wasps build their nests in a systematic and engineered pattern. Structurally, the nest is oval-shaped and bounded by a protective layer consisting of a mixture of chewed wood chips and wasp saliva, which serves as a glue. With an increasing number of wasps, they start to build the next layer to strengthen the structure and protection of the inner population. In homage to a wasp nest, Nidus Domum is composed of 24 individual panels. Each panel consists of a wooden frame structure with inner-bend wood paneling and an outer cladding flow pattern, made from bent, interconnected lianas and bark splits from the site. Nidus Domum gives you a unique experience to be an inhabitant

of the forest. The two-way openings of the modules are located next to the ruins of the Mothe Chandeniers castle. They are choreographed to obtain views of certain parts of the ruins and offer unexpected perspectives at the same time. On the one hand, the directed glances show insights into the decay of the ruin and the renaturation in the same place. Moreover, the remote natural ecosystem and the rivers in the region become part of the module as they are blurring the boundaries between the inside and outside.

 

Module 1 - Nidus Dolichovespula sylvestris (Nest of a Tree Wasp) – is located in a suspended location between sky and earth, elevated in the arches of a tree. The re-inhabitation of nature lets visitors rediscover a life apart from modern civilization in a nested shelter to deliberate the desires for peace and serenity that we urge for in the hectic of the city. The elevation from the ground extends the field of view through the forest towards the walls and towers of Mothe Chandeniers on the one side and the wildlife and remote landscape of the area on the other.

 

In contrast to Modul 1, - Modul 2 – Nidus Polistinae (Nest of a Field Wasp) – is a free-standing composition that does not require a tree as structural support. It is elevated by pilings that allow the module to be situated in water/ bog and on land. The top of module 2 is equal in its arrangement and fabrication to module 1. Below, a sauna is added, which is composed out of the same tectonic system, demonstrating the customizable ability of the rearrangement of the individual panels. After being steamed from the last sauna infusion, visitors can dip their feet into the cold water from the terrace, which is poisoned just over the lake‘s surface by enjoying the view over the sculpture of pinnacles, mullioned windows and flowery buttresses of Mothe Chandeniers.

 

The production and fabrication of the elements are highly customizable as the modules consist out of the layering and interlocking of single parts rather than a continuous big surface. Each panel can be adapted to special contextual arrangements, such as individual tree branches, differing in each tree and site, that can be integrated by exchanging and customizing single panels without interfering with the conceptual design and spacial arrangements. The tectonic system lets you adapt the size as well, by the addition or subtraction of elements in both the horizontal and the vertical axis. The rather small size of the individual elements allows prefabrication in local factories and easy transportation to the site. It also provides an easy assembly in the challenging and narrow context of the forest. This allows the modules to be easily disassembled and to be moved to different settings.