night garden
November 13, 2017

s k y f o r t

austin, texas


Amidst the savanna’s oaks the grassland rises; sky and land converge. Wander down the narrow passages and discover a frame to the sky – a lens through which to explore and dream.

The Texas diptych of sky and land has played a central role in the narrative of western explorers, artists and writers throughout time. SKYFORT celebrates the intersection of sky and savanna through material, form, and experience.

SKYFORT is created from local materials that represent the life cycle of the post-oak savanna ecosystem. Forming the structure, straw bales express the ongoing role of grasses after their growing season. Following the installation, the straw bales will be reused by local farmers. Shou Sugi Ban lumber defines the inner spaces of SKYFORT, representing fire-breaks and expressing the role of fire in the post-oak savannah ecosystem. Aligned to the winter solstice, the pathways through SKYFORT remind visitors of the sun’s role in defining our seasons and giving life to plants and animals.


SKYFORT allows for different types of experiences and interaction. The fort will attract the young at heart – racing and chasing around, in, and through. Some might find a moment of peace in the space, as outside sounds dampen and the walls constrict to create a lens to the sky. Visitors will run their fingers along the bales, smelling the kicked up earth and the sunny scent of straw. The black of charred wood will contrast with the blue of the sky.

In this space, where sky and land converge, stories will be told, memories will be made and we will connect to our land.

  • Client: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center