Town Enclosure art installation is made of CLT panels

Lots of art is meant to be seen and not touched. It is visible to the public, but separate, immovable and unrecognizable. That is not the case with Town Enclosure, an art installation that is also functional. The incredible design was created by CLB Architects.

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Wooden slats arranged horizontally in a curved figuration to create the art installation

Town Enclosure was commissioned by Jackson Hole Public Art with support from the Center for the Arts along with several individuals and private companies in Jackson, Wyoming. It is both a sculpture and a functional gathering place that is always open and always accessible to the public. It is a performance room, a place to socialize and a place to have a look at amazing art.

Related: One of the largest CLT constructions in the United States is in Oregon

Wooden slats configured upright

Now moved to Bozeman, Montana, the installation is a circle that is 52 feet in diameter and consists of cross-laminated wood wall panels that stand 13.3 feet high. The panels are seven to 12 feet wide. As one approaches, the installation seems to resonate with the natural architecture of the mountains in the background and blends spectacularly into Western construction seen throughout the region. The design is open, airy and ingeniously designed to give it even more complexity.

Standing wooden slats set up in a curved formation

Cross-laminated wood (CLT) is a type of mass wood that has become more and more popular in recent years because it is very sustainable. This material is made by gluing soft pieces of wood together to create larger pieces. CLT is made of sheets that are trimmed and glued together in layers across. It creates large, strong sheets of wood.

Made in this way, timber can be as strong and durable as steel and concrete, which have been popular building materials in the last century. With more focus on sustainable construction, wood has once again become a superstar.

A curved semicircle made of standing wooden slats

Compressed wood is actually very fireproof, although fears of wood construction and fire are what made the use of concrete and steel so popular in the first place. CLT is not easy to ignite and is effectively self-extinguishing, as the outer layer of wood can burn off, while the rest remains unburned.

About 11% of all global gas emissions come from construction, according to Vox. Building buildings out of CLT can change all that. CLT is also doing well in earthquakes.

Wooden slats form a circle in the snow

In other words, CLT is one of the materials that will help humanity achieve a much more sustainable and cleaner future. And when wood can do so much, no art installation is made with it just another art installation.

+ CLB Architects

Photography by Matthew Millman, Krafty Photos, Tuck Fauntleroy and Cody Brown

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