MOBOT Branches Out

Missouri Botanical Garden, in St. Louis, puts extreme tree houses on display for its TREEmendous year-long exhibit in recognition of the International Year of Forests.

| April 8, 2011

St. Louis – The Missouri Botanical Garden invites visitors to branch out from the ordinary notion of tree houses with an original exhibition of nine TREEmendous Extreme Tree Houses. View the winning works of a juried competition to construct imaginative, non-traditional, ground-level structures beneath the canopy of the Garden’s oak, elm, gingko and other stately trees. The Extreme Tree Houses are on outdoor display Saturday, April 30, through Sunday, August 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The exhibit is included with general admission and highlights the Garden’s TREEmendous year of activities in recognition of the United Nations (U.N.) International Year of Forests. For more information, visit the Missouri Botanical Garden on the web.

The Extreme Tree Houses exhibition is designed to showcase the creativity and talent of the local community while also reinforcing the significant role trees play in our lives and in the health of our planet. Designers were encouraged to ponder the concepts of sustainability, exploration and play in the outdoors, nature-inspired design, imagination and more through their installations.

Seven tree houses were selected as winners of the juried competition:

● Inside the Tree House, located beneath a red oak tree (Quercus rubra) and designed by a team from Ann Florsek Architect, LLC; Villinger Construction Co.; Teiber Construction Co., LLC; and Thies Farm and Greenhouses. Sprouting from a giant seed pod (helicopter) of a maple tree, the hexagonal shaped house incorporates re-purposed wood, green roof technology, solar power and a recycled rain water system. Sustainable features including root tunnels, leaf shutters and models of forest inhabitants are designed to educate, entertain and enchant.

● The AMAZEing Rings, located beneath a ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) and designed by students from Washington University. Designed to look like an expanded tree ring structure, the tree house has an outer wood layer and inner core of radiating fabric rings that represent the tree’s biological structures, including the outer bark, cambium cell layer and heartwood. A two-way traffic path runs throughout the rings, lined with educational panels explaining the functions of different parts of the tree.

● Sweet Gum Tree House, located beneath a sweet gum tree (Liquidambar styraciflua) and designed by Roost Design Studio. Created to act as a “Gateway to the Garden,” the tree house features a structural pathway allowing Garden visitors to view the cedar trees, Jenkins Daylily Garden and Milles Sculpture Garden pools from a new perspective.

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