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Structures of Landscape in Yellowstone Park, USA by Ensamble Studio

Cs04 ensamble studio mesh tippet rise soil shuttering architectural review

Born from the landscape in which they sit, Ensamble Studio’s alien structures in Yellowstone Park complement the drama of the surrounding scenery

This case study is part of a longer essay on soil as shuttering – click here to read more

Previously contained in the land in a ‘state of rest’, Ensamble’s Structures of Landscapes are ‘born out of the landscape and they in turn give it order, they echo the immensity and the roughness of their site, exacerbate the silence of the landscape, turn matter into shelter, uninhabitable space in which to listen to piano recitals’. The architects claim this mode of working is ‘habitation without exploitation’. Given the loneliness of the expansive site, it is hard to imagine this as a place for gathering. However, a constellation of programmes ‘among the plateaus, ridges, canyons and hills’ is envisioned, and the solidified structures are dramatic backdrops for such situations to play out.

The site is at the edge of the impressive Yellowstone Park in Montana, and the project is intended to create a ‘destination for the arts’, with large-scale outdoor sculptures and musical performances. Proximity and risk to local fauna and ranching activity are a challenge that the studio is aware of, for which the architects once again look to the existing landscape for guidance. It is exactly this landscape that is imprinted onto the structures, which rise from the ground as crumbling wings. The earth is grasped and played with, transformed into habitable space. With soil as their formwork, a bold intimacy is still realised in the forms that sit amid a vast expanse of solid terrain.

Cs04 ensamble studio beartooth portal soil shuttering architectural review

Cs04 ensamble studio beartooth portal soil shuttering architectural review

Source: Ensamble Studio

Cs04 domo ensamble studio structures of landscape architectural review

Cs04 domo ensamble studio structures of landscape architectural review

Source: Ensamble Studio

Cs04 ensamble studio mesh domo soil shuttering architectural review

Cs04 ensamble studio mesh domo soil shuttering architectural review

Source: Ensamble Studio

Cs04 ensamble structures of landscape drawings architectural review

Cs04 ensamble structures of landscape drawings architectural review

Click to download

Lead image: Iwan Baan

This case study is part of a longer essay on soil as shuttering – click here to read more