Ben Addy of London-based practice Moxon Architects has taken joint first place in a competition organised by Benetton and the Fabrica research centre in Italy. The Fabrica campus - Benetton's research and development centre designed by Tadao Ando - contains a Lebanese cedar that recently died. The tree was considered intrinsic to Ando's designs and a competition was launched to give it new purpose. Addy's scheme sought to provide structural support to the tree, to hold it upright even as its roots disintegrated.
This was achieved by wrapping a cable net around the tree, supporting the trunk and limbs, with minimal interruption to its silhouette. Planters positioned at all the nodal positions on the cable net provide nutrients, water, sunlight and space to allow juvenile Lebanese cedars to grow before being transplanted elsewhere in the campus. The cable net, and by extension the dead tree, becomes a vertical tree nursery.
The three winning schemes - which also featured work by Yann-Fanch Vauléon of France and Philippos Zannettos & Johannes Muller-Lotze of Cyprus - were picked by Ando himself.