Chop Stick / Visiondivision

© Visiondivision

Visiondivision is back with their latest funky design for a concession stand for 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park.   Commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Swedish team has proposed an innovative stand that focuses specifically upon the idea of harvesting “something as gently as possible so that the source of what we harvest is displayed in a pure, pedagogic and respectful way—respectful to both the source itself and to everyone visiting the building,” explained the architects.  The main component of the design features ’s state tree, a yellow poplar measuring 100 ft.   The tree becomes the focus of the project as it runs horizontally, seemingly suspended in midair.

More about the project after the break.

© Visiondivision

“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.

© Visiondivision. Photographed by Donna Sink. The yellow poplar tree hanging from the crane

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.

© Visiondivision. Photographed by Donna Sink. A first debarking of the tree to fit the truck


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.

© Visiondivision. Image courtesy: Donna Sink

“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.”


© Visiondivision. Photographed by Donna Sink. The tree in a horizontal position

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,
Project Team: Anders Berensson & Ulf Mejergren (Architects) Donna Sink (Local Architect) Dave Steiner (Engineer) Lisa Freiman & Sarah Green (Curators)
Project Year: 2011-2012













Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Chop Stick / Visiondivision" 12 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Elisabeth

    Super cool! Very nice way to work with one single building material. Thank you AD.

  • Ted

    Highly imaginative and spectacular on so many levels. It feels great to be a Hoosier today!

  • brb001

    Because obviously a tree needs to be chopped down (ie, killed) before swings can be hung from it.

  • Reality

    What a terribly inefficient and blunt use of a tree.

  • Imothep

    Superb piece of architecture, great thinkers!