The pavilion of the medal-winning Meta Garden

Year of design
Concept of the pavilion
Joe Perkins, Farshad Khazei
Architectural design of the pavilion
Bánáti + Hartvig Építész Iroda, Béla Bánáti, Judit Zajacz , Bodó Bánáti
Structural planning and product planning of the pavilion, realisation
SA-FA Design, Dénes Salacz
Landscape architecture
Joe Perkins Design, Joe Perkins
Professional partner
The National Forest
Natalia Odescalchi / Joe Perkins Design

The root hairs of the trees and hyphae are in an exciting connection with each other: not only do they help each other to absorb nutritients, but neighboring trees can be connected due to the fungi. This way the plants living in the same area can communicate with each other and share optimally the nutritients necessary for development among each other.

Why do we write about this strange phenomenon related to an architectural project? This natural process appears in Joe Perkins British architect’s project called Meta Garden: Growing the Future, which received Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show. The project was sponsored by Meta, owner of Facebook- and Instagram. The pavilion of the garden was designed by Bánáti + Hartvig Architects.

It was a really suitable project for the architects of BH to participate in a project which focuses on the theme of sustainability. The challenge was to do the engineering design and the realisation of Joe Perkins and Farshad Khazei’s creative concept. The pavilion is composed of irregular hexagons, which often appear in the nature and can be discovered in the connection between the hyphae and the root hairs. The realisation confronted the designers with several challenges. In the end the problem was solved by parametric design, the asymmetrical hexagons connecting to each other were defined by using an algorithm. The result of this is an apparently simple, yet exciting object in the Meta Garden. Due to the complex nature of the project, the designers also monitored the realisation and collaborated already in the designing phase with Dénes Salacz and the construction team of Sa-Fa Design, in order to achieve a perfect realisation, the product design was closely intertwined with the elaboration of the final shape’s details. The pavilion – reflecting the thematics of the garden – is made of wood: the hexagonal frames are made of Canadian red cedar, the infills are birch plywood. In order to facilitate transport and enable quick assembly on-site, the elements have hidden connections, and are held together by a special glue.

The Meta Garden together with the pavilion in it reminds the visitors of the Chelsea Flower Show of the urgent need to redress the balance of our relationship with the natural world. The garden also emphasises the key role of communities in the fight against climate change.

Besides the complexity of the design process, this project is exciting for the architects of BH also because beside the general, large-scale investments typical for the office this is a professional insight into unique products’ development, and it is related to furniture design as well. Participation in the Meta Garden: Growing the Future project is an intellectual challenge and also a professional refreshment for the office.