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Visual Arts
(L) ‘Butterfly Building’, Robert Bourke Architects and (R) ‘The Bricoleurs’, OGU Architects © Aisling McCoy

There is a forest in my backyard but my house is built from trees grown far away

Mu maja pole puudest, mis kasvavad kodu taga metsas

Curators: Aet Ader, Helmi Marie Langsepp, and Mari Möldre (b210 Architects, Tallinn); St. John Walsh (Alder Architects, Dublin) 

Exhibiting architects: Creatomus Solutions, Hannigan Cooke Architects, Joseph Mackey Architects, Kaja Pae and Paco Ulman, OGU Architects, Peeter Pere Architects, Robert Bourke Architects, Ruumiringlus, Studio Kuidas, and Wrkshop.

As a natural building material, wood contains a unique richness which is impacted by many factors including climate and topography. Whether the building site is next to a forest or not, timber used in construction has been subjected to an industrial decision making process that dictates its final physical properties. In this act of translation, where wood is often treated similarly to other inanimate materials, a tree’s uniqueness is sacrificed for transportability, structural consistency and usability. 

Focusing on the characteristics of wood, the exhibition explores the act of transformation across the life cycle of the material from extraction to transportation, standardisation to encapsulation and eventual disassembly for potential reuse. In seeking out the unique traits of timber, it asks how industry and construction can learn from and be shaped by these inherent qualities of the material. What are the demands of the building industry for wood materials and what are the limitations and opportunities of this? Is it necessary for a designer to consider the life cycle of the wood? What opportunity exists to interpret and reuse standardised material extracted from existing sources following deconstruction? 

The exhibition There is a forest in my backyard but my house is built from trees grown far away / Mu maja pole puudest, mis kasvavad kodu taga metsas is the result of a competition and creative exchange between Estonia and Ireland called Wood Works. The exchange was initiated by the Estonian Association of Architects (EAA) in partnership with the Estonian Centre for Architecture (ECA) and the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF). The exhibition proposal was selected through the Wood Works Curatorial Team Competition in 2020, judged by the EAA, ECA and IAF.

The Wood Works project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund through Enterprise Estonia, the EAA, the ECA, The Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Enterprise Ireland, the Arts Council of Ireland, and the IAF.


b210 is an architecture office in Tallinn with a think tank approach to everyday spatial challenges. They believe that positive change in the built environment is driven by a smart design process where architectural ideas are as important as the methods of developing them. They like to design ways of thinking as much as physical spaces. Aet Ader is an architect and co-founder of b210 whose experience includes co-editing architecture magazine Ehituskunst, serving as vice-president of the Association of Estonian Architects, and co-curating the Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2013: Recycling Socialism and the exhibition BEL:EST – A Laboratory for Europe in Brussels, which was exhibited in Bozar, Brussels and TAB, Tallinn. Before joining b210, Helmi Marie Langsepp worked as an architect in MAP Architects studio (Denmark) and Mari Möldre worked as an architect in MORE Architecture (China). 

Alder Architects is a multidisciplinary practice based in Dublin and Cork. They enjoy applying their design skills to projects at all scales, focusing on inventive use of materials and light. They place a strong emphasis on collaboration and participation with clients, communities and artists. Commissions to date have included new residential and commercial buildings, extensions to existing structures, workplace design and public installations. St John Walsh established Alder Architects in 2016 following over 10 years experience working with award winning architecture practices in Ireland and the UK. 

The full learning & engagement programme accompanies the exhibition is designed by Solstice Arts Centre and funded by The Arts Council’s ‘Engaging With Architecture’ Scheme. Scroll down below to see the events! 

Gallery Opening Hours: 

Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm


Auditorium, Sat 29 Jan, 11am - 3:30pm. 

Chaired by Peter Carroll from A2 Architects, this seminar featured presentations by the curators of the exhibition and the exhibiting architects discussing their collaborative exchanges and response. A Keynote address was given by world renowned Irish architects Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell, Grafton Architects. Click on the Youtube video below to view the recording of the seminar. 


Auditorium, Sat 12 Mar, 12pm - 3:30pm. Free, booking essential.

To mark the success of the exhibition There is a forest but my house is built from trees grown far away, this closing seminar focused firstly on how can we find a new form of architecture embedded in timber, and secondly where should our focus lie to achieve this?  

Chaired by Peter Carroll, Senior Lecturer at the School of Architecture at University of Limerick (SAUL), the seminar featured presentations from guest and keynote speakers with a command and track record in the utilisation of wood in architecture. The seminar included discussions on the ongoing timber research from universities across Ireland. 

Established in Oslo in 1995, Jensen and Skodvin Architects, Norway realize ideas in the form of built work while contributing to the development of the tectonic culture of architectural profession and with a deep concern for utilising wood. 

Established in 1996, Bucholz McEvoy Architects, Dublin are known for their outstanding contribution to timber technology, sustainability and architectural design. Their new administrative office building currently under construction for Toronto and Region Conservation Authority is one such project that will set a benchmark for timber technology and sustainable design in commercial building. 



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Take a Virtual 360° Tour of the Exhibition

To navigate: 

- Click & Drag to look around the space, or use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to look in each direction.
- Click on the rings throughout the space to move around, or use the up and down arrow keys to move forward and back.
- Use the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out, or use the plus and minus keys on your keyboard.
- When finished in the Foyer, click on the small blue circle 'Exhibition continues upstairs' to continue the tour in the upstairs galleries.
- Click 'view fullscreen' on the bottom right to enter fullscreen mode.