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london based architecture studio, matthijs la roi architects, has completed a sculptural timber stage in sint-arnolduspark, belgium. called the ‘rain amplifier’, the project is part of the contrei live arts trail and is designed to host open-air performances amid the leafy forest location.
images by studio naaro
since it was established at the end of the 19th century, sint-arnolduspark has become a pilgrimage destination due to the supposed healing powers of its natural spring. with this rich history, the contrei live event, which includes 16 land art interventions in the south west flanders region, invites visitors to reflect on the importance of water in the landscape. the artworks are free to visit and will be on display until october 26, 2020.
as one of these art interventions, matthijs la roi‘s sculpture sits on a hill that acts as a natural amphitheater. positioned amid the follies and water elements of the park, the dome-like sculpture intends to provoke thought on our relationship with rain and the role it plays in society and nature. in 2020, may and april have been the driest months in belgium since 1833. as a predicted effect of climate change, both moments of extreme drought and extreme precipitation will be more common in belgium in the near future.
geometrically the sculpture resembles a half dome with an intricate and expressive ornamental interior as a reference to catholic architecture that exists in the park. within the dome, an artificial rain shower is produced through a network system of hidden interconnected tubes and nozzles. the amplification of the sound of the water is a result of the dome form, creating a dynamic soundscape to be experienced in its environment. cedar is used as cladding because of its high water-resistant performance and the rich variety of color tones of the different timber elements.
rain amplifier is a sculpture that provides the space to reflect on rain and our relation to it. it reminds us of its historical-cultural significance and the importance of addressing contemporary challenges related to climate change. it is a place to celebrate rain through the means of musical or theatrical performance.
project name: the rain amplifier
location: sint-arnolduspark, belgium
client: intermunicipal organisation leiedal
concept design: matthijs la roi architects, matthijs la roi
technical design: matthijs la roi architects, matthijs la roi, simone tchonova
structural engineering: format engineers
timber construction: matthijs la roi, glenn wynants, coen la roi
water features/ electricity/ lighting: aquafontal
CNC manufacturing: van noten CNC solutions
timber supplier: omniplex
photography and video: studio naaro