Africa Canopy

Location — Louisiana Museum - Humlebæk
Country — Denmark

fig. (1)

hanging wooden canopy
photo: Erik Jan Ouwerkerk

fig. (2)

seating space
photo: Erik Jan Ouwerkerk

fig. (3)

seating finishing
photo: Erik Jan Ouwerkerk

fig. (4)

axonometric view

fig. (5)

structural plan

Common in African mythologies, the powerful symbol of the great tree is used as a bridge between two seemingly contrasting cultures. Just like the canopy of a great tree, the design provides the most basic form of shelter from the elements while remaining open and accessible. The wooden terrain below the canopy provides informal seating where visitors can gather, reflect, and encounter each other in an intimate setting. The articulated ceiling structure is dramatized by a programmed high-intensity daylighting system that mimics the arc and movement of the sun throughout the day. The installation highlights the powerful ability of architecture to embody cultural narratives, traditions, and aspirations.

Taking cues from traditional architectural forms and practices from a traditional village in rural West Africa, this architectural installation aims to highlight the importance of shading and sheltering as a way of protection from over-exposure to the sun as well as an inherent space-making device for community gathering. The design makes use of two major elements : an over-hanging ceiling component and an open communal gathering space underneath. The entirety of the installation is made of locally sourced unbarked willow branches and logs.