Izen Architecture offers look back at Ontario Wood + IDS pavilion
The IDS x Ontario Wood Pavilion is an architectural installation created by Izen Architecture, a multidisciplinary studio based in Toronto. Commissioned as part of the recent Interior Design Show (IDS) Toronto, the installation celebrates the importance of wood in Ontario’s identity and history, exploring the qualities of temporary shelter. The pavilion acts as a showpiece of the possibilities of locally-sourced lumber as well as creating a built environment in which products created by local woodworkers and craftsmen can be featured.
This design stems from the idea of building forms that are easy to erect, dismantle and relocate within a natural setting such as an encampment in a forest. The structure is comprised of angled wooden poles that intersect at a fixed angle and are arrayed to provide a sense of enclosure and protection from the elements of nature. Organized around a circle, the residual inner space acts as the heart of the installation and accentuates a sense of informal gatherings.
Izen Architecture’s installation uses conventional building methods to reimagine a modern sense of gathering and community using standard lumber. A section through the intersecting angled wooden poles is arrayed around a 32-foot circle. With an 8-foot opening at the base, a pair of 2x6s taper at the top and connect at gradually changing heights but maintain the same angle throughout. An elliptical curve flows through a perfect circle and forms two elongated conical forms with an inner gathering space.
A central space can be viewed through the elongated form and along the perimeter. The top corners shift along the curve and gradually reach the ground. The half-moon shape shifts along the arrayed wooden members as the top corner tapers down. Not unlike a campfire or encampment in a forest clearing, the central space encourages informal gathering within the perimeter of the pavilion, which may suggest a sense of protection.
There are four access points from outside of the installation. Three allow the visitor to enter the inner circle, while a fourth opening gives access to the interior only, but not to the central space. There are several ways to interact with this installation, and the structure evolves and transforms as the visitor discovers their own path.
In the heart of the pavilion, a seating area around a symbolic fire pit references both the survival and social aspects of an encampment. This form of assembly provides an opportunity to showcase pieces from some of Ontario’s top wood talent. Visitors are invited to spend time in the interior of the installation with opportunities to sit, relax and socialize in the central space.
This structure was built using standard 2×6 lumber cut at predetermined lengths. The design was created in 3D modelling software for accurate curvature and placement of members. Each wooden member was pre-drilled, numbered and ordered for a straightforward assembly. The peaks came together with modern joinery and had stitch-like blocking between the members and at the bases for added rigidity. Plywood sheets lined the floor of the installation and demarcated the perimeter of the structure with CNC labels for each member. The members were pre-bolted, closed and laid flat and packaged in a total of three skids. This installation uses the combination of traditional woodworking and 3D computer technology to design a structure that can be assembled with basic tools and readily-available materials, all locally sourced.
Izen Architecture’s installation was designed for Ontario Wood and the Interior Design Show. Ontario Wood is an initiative of the provincial government to help consumers identify and purchase locally-grown, locally made wood products. The Interior Design Show is Canada’s largest design trade show. This installation was displayed for a period of four days and viewed by over 53,000 attendees, after which all of the material was donated to Habitat for Humanity.