In the depth of the Latvian forest you’ll find the floating canopy. Contrasting with the verticality of the trees, it provides the most basic form of shelter: a plane covering the free-flowing life beneath. An opening in the roof collects rainwater into a bowl right below, an element that may be critical for the nomads along this arduous route. Adjacent, a larger shell provides an enclosed space for sleeping.
Recycled cork is the primary material for this project, given its levity, renewability, resiliency, and malleability to shape into a comfortable surface guests can rest and sleep on. Warm in winter, open in summer, the canopy defines a microcosm – a haven for cheer, intimacy, and meditative escape for the interim inhabitants trekking the Amber Road.
How can we use the abundance of amber fragments prolifically? How can this resource be exploited for an architectural project? This proposal suggests to source and recycle waste insulation cork locally and from different locations across Europe in exchange of amber fragments as a symbol of participation, making the process a revival of the ancient trading that shaped the history of the path.
The granules collected will be placed inside an autoclave that, with heat and pressure, will expand and release the cork’s natural resins. Depending on the dimension of the machine, the components could be created as whole elements, or as an assembly of smaller cork blocks mounted on a steel frame.
The components will be then incapsulated and shipped to the site using the canopy as a floating platform. There, a crew of 7 men move the components to the site.
Lastly, the canopy is lifted and suspended from the surrounding trees using steel cable, hovering above the sleeping unit and water bowl.