Architectural firm, Hello Wood – known for its unique cabin houses and builder festivals - has again designed a spectacular public installation. Placed in the centre of the Factory'ard in Veszprém, The Garden of Communities is an artwork that celebrates the rich culture of the Veszprém-Balaton region. The pavilion is a symbolic monument to the cooperation of the 116 municipalities participating in the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture programme. It is not the first time that Hello Wood has created a public work that draws attention and represents an important cause: the most iconic were the Christmas tree shaped Sledge Trees that temporarily appeared in several European cities before being disassembled and the sleds donated.
"For each municipality participating in the VEB2023 programme, we have designed a unique planter box, with the name of the municipality clearly displayed on the side, containing a sapling. In Veszprém, which is the central site of the European Capital of Culture 2023, we have set up a Garden of Communities, consisting of 116 planters, which promotes the eternal values of community cooperation." - summarises Balázs Szelecsényi, the project's architect.
The uniquely shaped planters create a spectacular exhibition space, accessible to anyone. The contrast between the geometric architectural forms and the lush vegetation creates a magical atmosphere, attracting visitors who can wander around the pavilion and browse through the names of the villages or cities that hold dear memories for them.
The native tree saplings of the region, planted in crates, together form a biodiverse vertical garden that grows and strengthens with the seasons. The consistent growing of vegetation is ensured by an automated irrigation system built into the structures. In addition, the complex structure provides the vegetation with different sun, wind and rainfall conditions, allowing the tree species to be planted in the right position for their water and sun needs.
The historical significance of the site, which was home to one of the largest furniture factories in the region for some 120 years, was also a key factor in the design. This historical heritage is commemorated by the cladding of the planter boxes, which is made from almost 120-year-old reclaimed timber, the old larch planking from the recently renovated Drechsler Palace in Budapest. The use of antique materials contributes to the timelessness of the work, in addition to the historical reference.
After four years, each of the planters will be returned to its respective municipality, where the saplings will take root and continue to grow into trees symbolizing the unity of 2023. Also within the framework of the EKF 2023 programme, the Hello Wood architectural summer school and festival will return between 6 and 15 July, in a new inspiring location, the basalt mine of Zalahaláp.