ORQUIDEORAMA by Plan B Architects and JPRCR Architects
If you could ever imagine walking through a Botanical Garden of wooden organisms, it would look and feel something like the Orquideorama. It is a series of connected inter-modular structures that elude to the ways in which a plant or garden grows organically. Because it is in the Botanical Garden of Medellin, Colombia, this strategic approach seemed only natural to architects Felipe Mesa and Alexander Bernal. When walking through the super structure, one gets the impression that they’re looking on the outside world from within a honeycomb. The many wooden panels reflect the network of vines, stems and mesh that make up such natural things as honeycombs and flower beds. The illusion created is one of complete engulfment in nature and organisms. In this same way, it acts as shade and shelter from the elements making it the ideal venue for parties and events.
Each “flor-árbol” (or stemmed structure) is made of a steel trunk and six hexagonal petals that form a wooden grid completely sheltering acres of Botanical Gardens. The foliage beneath each trunk is sustained because of rainwater collected by the petals of the superstructure.
Tucked away amidst hundreds of acres of plants and trees, it looks both seamless and unique in its surroundings. If it weren’t for the structure being made of wood, this super structure would be camouflage in the trees surrounding it. It is carefully crafted example of the relationship between architecture and its surrounding living organisms. It is an attestation to how it could house, be a part of, direct and protect all sorts of human behavior and activity. There is no need, therefore, to differentiate the natural from the artificial in terms of structural technique and architecture holds the power to affect the way we live our lives, in the Orquideorama’s case, the way in which we interact with one another especially in festive times.