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  1. ArchDaily
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  3. Chop Stick / Visiondivision

Chop Stick / Visiondivision

Chop Stick / Visiondivision
© 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 Indiana’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.

“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
© 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.

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

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.

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

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.”

© Visiondivision
© Visiondivision

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.

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

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

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About this author
Karen Cilento

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Cite: Karen Cilento. "Chop Stick / Visiondivision" 12 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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