A new piece of public artwork, created by architects Zeller & Moye and artist Katie Paterson, and made up of over 10,000 tree species, has been unveiled on the grounds of Bristol University in England.

The intricate structure, called Hollow, represents the planet's history and evolution through time.


The structure is big enough to fit two people and is immersive. Light falls through apertures in the ceiling, mimicking the way sunlight falls through trees in a forest.

It took Paterson three years to amass the samples, many of which have been donated by private collectors, arboretums and botanic gardens across the world.

"Some samples are incredibly rare – fossils of unfathomable age, and fantastical trees such as Cedar of Lebanon, the Phoenix Palm, and the Methuselah tree thought to be one of the oldest trees in the World at 4,847 years of age, as well as a railroad tie taken from the Panama Canal Railway, which claimed the lives of between 5,000 to 10,000 workers over its 50-year construction," said Paterson.

Among the 10,000 pieces of wood is a fossil from an ancient forest which grew 390 million years ago where New York City now stands. Wood from more recent historic events also forms part of the structure, including part of the iconic Atlantic City boardwalk devastated by hurricane Sandy in 2012 and a sample from the Japanese Ginkgo tree in Hiroshima, a tree that witnessed and survived one of the darkest moments of human history.

Hollow is open to the public during daylight hours all year round. The structure was commissioned to mark the opening of the University’s Life Sciences building.

Photography: Max McClure

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