Lubo Brezina with Scott Eunson [Perspective]

Shrine Dedicated to the Memory of Demolished Barns and Fallen Trees  [2010]
from PERSPECTIVE [March 18 - April 4, 2010]


Artists' Statement:
Our purpose, at a barn demolition site north of Toronto, was to see what could be salvaged from the barn before it was destroyed.  What we found was a timber-frame structure made from local Maple and Elm trees cut from the primeval forest. It is this wood, and the qualities that it holds that inspire us. In a different reading, as architects, we find the barn building, its structure and lofty space enclosed by a thin shell of boards just as meaningful. 

Our goal, throughout this project, is to preserve the memory of what we deem valuable (the farm land, the barn and its structure, the space and the wood), in a structure that we call a shrine.  On display is not only the material but the spirit of the material’s past, first as a living tree, and later as a component of a building.  It is our hope that the shrine will inspire a moment of reflection on what once was and, we think, still is a valuable asset.

Shrine as a structural system:

The shrine is not a product, but a means to an end.  The shrine is an example of a disappearing woodworking skill-set, whose value can be applied to varying scales of the built form.  In this case, the system exists at a scale between architecture and furniture, a scale reminiscent of outdoor shelters or pavilions. 

The shrine is an experiment in a system of wood building which relies on the pinned mortise and tenon joint for connections and the diagonal brace for lateral stability.  This type of joinery was traditionally used in the timber frames of barns, but can be easily adopted for application on a smaller scale, such as furniture, lighting, shelving and wall treatments. 

The shrine is not any shrine.  It exemplifies the adaptability and flexibility of this structural system and draws the viewer into its space.  It focuses your perspective on an invisible vanishing point from which all its vectors emanate. 

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