Cass Sculpture Foundation: Impressively Inconspicuous Biophilic Design

Cass Sculpture Foundation: Impressively Inconspicuous Biophilic Design
01/05/2017 Anna Sjostrom Walton
Wood cladded visitor centre with large windows overlooking the woodland and Sculpture park. Cass Sculpture Foundation 2017

The Cass Sculpure Foundation on the Goodwood estate in West Sussex is beautifully inspiring in so many ways. Nestled in 26 acres of ancient bluebell covered woodland, gardens and glades, it’s a curated sculptural collection with a selection of buildings that inform and inspire, whilst beautifully complementing their natural environment. Founded in 1992 by Wilfred and Jeannette Cass, the not-for-profit sculpture park seeks to encourage and enable creativity in contemporary sculpture. Over 50 works are dotted along trails in the woodland that encourage reflection, interaction and play around the stories told by the art.

Reflective geometric Sculpture

Gate by Rob Ward (2008). Ward regards gates as a sign of culture or society’s goals at the time. The sculpture’s reflective surface and distorting effect incorporates the viewer into its form.

Global view Sculpture

Panorama 2 by Wang Wei (2016) encourages looking from different views and perspectives. The artist considers the architecture of the animal enclosures in Beijing zoo.

The main buildings – the Visitors’ Gallery and Foundation Centre – are both excellent examples of Biophilic Design. With full glass walls, natural materials and green roofs, visitors are immersed in the natural surroundings, with views, light and movement all around. The wooden clad exterior of the Visitors’ Gallery gives the structure a majestic quality, yet one that feels very much part of its surrounding. Designed in steel, wood and glass by Craig Downie in 1994, it was to be functional yet discreetly communicating with its environment, with one end directly facing the woodland. The simple colours, materials and lines were designed to blend into nature over time. Internally, the visitor moves between glass expanses and solid wood panes, moving between views of the environment that surrounds them.

In 2006, Studio Downie Architects was commissioned to create the Foundation Centre, housing offices, an exhibition space and library. Cut into the chalk, the centre’s flint colouring is a nod to this typical Sussex stone.

Biophilic design building

Foundation Centre: This building, nestled in the woodland and surrounded by sculptures, was set up for children’s crafts at the time of our visit.

Wood cladded visitor centre with large windows overlooking the woodland and Sculpture park. Cass Sculpture Foundation 2017

Visitors’ Gallery: An experience in itself, this beautiful example of Biophilic Design houses many sculptures for sale.

With up to fifteen commissions per year and many activities and workshops for adults and children, the Cass Sculture Foundation definitely deserves regular visits.

Photos by Anna Sjöström Walton

Comments (2)

  1. Great post, looks like such a fabulous place to go and escape. Can’t wait for more posts!

    • Author
      Anna 7 years ago

      So glad you enjoyed it!

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