“Our goal is to make the best out of this specific poplar tree, from taking it down and through the whole process of transforming it into a useful building that will be part of one of the finest art parks in the United States. As the project proceeds, we continue to be surprised by all of the magical features that are revealed in refining a tree into a building; both in the level of craftsmanship and knowledge of woodworkers and arborists, and also of the tree itself,” added Visiondivision.
After selecting a tree from a forest in Anderson, Indiana, the team waited for the ground to be dry enough to manage a crane on the site, with special mats to secure the crane’s operation. A cushion composed of chopped-down trees reduced the impact of the tree’s fall and helped to keep the majority of its limbs intact.
After chopping the tree, its bark was removed to prevent it from falling on bystanders at the park. This naturally occurring process [as the moisture content in the wood drops, the tree shrinks and the bark looses its grip] yielded large pieces of bark that were then flattened and cut into a standard shingle length. After a drying process in a kiln, the bark shingles – which can last up to 80 years – were sterilized and kept in climate-controlled storage for future needs. In terms of the design, the tree provides much of the structure for the project, such as pillars and studs for the kiosk, in addition to elements like swings, benches and tables for children to play.
“On a smaller scale, we are exploring ways to use other parts of the tree in the concession stand, including its root system, which is separated from the tree when cut down. The roots have many edible features, such as root bark used to make tea and tonics that could be sold in the kiosk, for example. Pressed leaves and flowers taken from the tree will be ornaments in the front glass of the kiosk. There is also the possibility of extracting honey from poplar tree flowers, which could be something for sale on site. The branches that are less than five inches in diameter are cut away to prevent eventual rotting, and those can be used for details such as legs for the chairs and tables, or grinded down into sawdust for use as insulation.”
The concession stand exemplifies Visiondivision’s commitment to exploiting the total potential of the tree resulting in a unique and quite unforgettable experience for its users. Architect: visiondivision Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA Project Team: Anders Berensson & Ulf Mejergren (Architects) Donna Sink (Local Architect) Dave Steiner (Engineer) Lisa Freiman & Sarah Green (Curators) Project Year: 2011-2012