Growth (Fagus sylvatica) / Three concrete reliefs integrated in facade of secondary school Melanchthon Kralingen

Maarten Heijkamp, Growth, 2018, Three concrete photograpic reliefs integrated in the facade of school building Melanchthon Kralingen, Rotterdam, NL

Growth (Fagus sylvatica)
Three concrete reliefs: 291 x 234 cm, 291 x180 cm, 291 x 183 cm
Location: Melanchthon Kralingen, Vredenoordplein 60, Rotterdam, NL
Commissioned by: Melanchthon Scholengemeenschap
Partners: KAW Architecten, SVK Architectonisch beton

For newly build secondary school Melanchthon Kralingen in Rotterdam, visual artist Maarten Heijkamp developed a series of three concrete reliefs integrated in facade of the new building. Each relief depicts a tree in a different stage of growth. The artist let himself be inspired by the unity of monumental old trees and architecture, as in the former school building of Melanchthon Kralingen. Trees provide shelter, stability, strength. They are rooted on the place, determined, full of self-confidence. In the work trees serve as a metaphor for continuous growth, while at the same time reflecting on the dynamics of the individual versus the group. Three beech trees in different stages of life form a unity, a landscape with a shared horizon, yet they remain individual characters. The trees vary from strong mature sculptural trees, seemingly carrying the first floor, to the subtle play of lines of young trees with fine branches. Like in the forest, there is a play of different densities, varying from the enclosed feeling of the continuous canopy to the lightness and transparency of new branches growing to the light. Cast in concrete, as an integral load bearing part of the building, the reliefs let the material speak out. Inspired by bark, leaves, trunk and roots, the very rich yet smooth texture of the relief invites to explore the tactility of nature captured in concrete.