Tŷ Unnos

  • Saturday 16 December 2017
  • 10am to 4:30pm
How to book

Owen Griffiths is building a Tŷ Unnos (One-night House) within the National Botanic Garden of Wales to celebrate the launch of the Charter for Trees, Woods and People.


Common Ground are bringing Welsh artist Owen Griffiths to the National Botanic Garden of Wales to create a special one off event that celebrates the Welsh tradition of Tŷ Unnos (one-night house). The building will be constructed in collaboration with volunteers, staff and visitors to the Garden. This new work is being made possible through a unique partnership between The Woodland Trust, the National Botanic Garden of Wales and environmental art pioneers Common Ground.


Tŷ Unnos is a practice that evolved out of common law. Dating back several hundred years, the law suggests that if you are able to build a house, on common land, with a fire that is smoking from the chimney, in a single night, the land that it stands on was rightfully yours. In the spirit of Tŷ Unnos, Owen will create a temporary structure, shaped by collaboration with the communities who live and work, in and around the National Botanic Garden of Wales. The work will be informed by workshops and engagement and the build will take place on Saturday 16 December 2017, with activities throughout the day.


This project forms part of a season of work commissioned to mark the launch of the Charter for Trees, Woods and People, which takes place on the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest. The Charter of the Forest is the sister document to the Magna Carta and it established rights of access to the royal forests for free men. Owen Griffiths is one of eight artists across the UK who have been commissioned by Woodland Trust and Common Ground to consider the significance of the Charter with regard to ownership, land rights, suffrage and our relationship to our environment.


Owen Griffiths’ project asks what legacy the Charter of the Forest has for people today. Taking inspiration from the original document, he is exploring what its histories say about current social and cultural disconnection from the land we share in Britain. In a climate in which access to affordable housing is out of reach for many people, this new work is a timely reminder of the ways in which people might come together to form new resilient relationships to land and community.


The new Charter for Trees, Woods and People, has been compiled by more than 70 organisations from across multiple sectors to recognise, celebrate and protect the right of the people of the UK to the many benefits brought by trees and woods. Today, our nation’s woods and trees are facing unprecedented pressures from development, pests and diseases and climate change. They risk being neglected, undervalued and forgotten. Now is the time to recognise the importance of trees in our society, celebrate their enormous contribution to our lives and ensure the future is forested with trees.


For more information about the artist residencies visit commonground.org.uk


For press enquiries, interview requests or images contact:

Madeleine Hodge