UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition

PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: The Lewis Group
AWARD: Jury Commendation
PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: The Lewis Group
AWARD: Jury Commendation
PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: McCarty Holsaple McCarty
AWARD: Third Place Winner
PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: McCarty Holsaple McCarty
AWARD: Third Place Winner
PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: Sanders Pace Architecture
AWARD: First Place Winner
PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: Sanders Pace Architecture
AWARD: First Place Winner
PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: curb and Daniel A. Jones Assoc. AIA
AWARD: Second Place Winner
PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: curb and Daniel A. Jones Assoc. AIA
AWARD: Second Place Winner
PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: Smee Busby
AWARD: Jury Commendation
PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: Smee Busby
AWARD: Jury Commendation
PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: CRJA
AWARD: Honorable Mention
PROJECT: UTK Botanical Gardens Treehouse Competition
FIRM: CRJA
AWARD: Honorable Mention

Report of the Design Jury

July 18, 2013

Six entries were received from local architecture and landscape architecture firms. All entries were reviewed independently by the six Jury members in advance of the joint Jury session on June 20, and all were commended for their creative responses to the Competition Program and their outstanding presentations.

The four entries that were submitted with cost estimates within the $15,000 project construction budget were considered as eligible for the Competition Awards, and all six were evaluated for the content of their design proposals relative to the following criteria:

  • Response to the theme of the Children’s Nature Discovery Garden – the elements of nature.
  • Appropriateness of design proposal to the context/setting.
  • Consistency of proposal with Program requirements.
  • Completeness of design presentation, and
  • General quality, safety, and esthetic appeal of the design solution.

The Design Jury was composed of Dr. Sue Hamilton, Director of UT Gardens; James Newburn, Assistant Director of UT Gardens; Derrick Stowell, Gardens Educator; Robyn McAdoo, AIA, architect with Elizabeth Eason Architects and representative of the East Tennessee Chapter of the AIA on the Jury; Gregory Spaw, Assistant Professor at UT College of Architecture teaching architectural design; and Valerie Friedman, Associate ASLA, lecturer at UT College of Architecture teaching graduate landscape architecture. Gene Burr, AIA, served as the Competition Coordinator.

Proposals TH-1 by The Lewis Group Architects and TH-6 by Smee & Busby Architects received Commendations from the Jury. Jury comments on the Lewis Group’s proposal included commendation for the creative use of shadows, the recognizably organic spiral shape of the design solution, the compact footprint, the interesting use of stormwater runoff, and its focus on the trees as the center of attention.

Smee & Busby’s proposal was commended for its strong “entrance” statement, rather than as a destination, the use of color to enhance the design solution and the Gardens, and the use of slides as effective, interactive elements.

Proposal TH-7 by Carol R. Johnson Associates, while over budget, was cited by the Jury as “Miss Congeniality” among the competing entries and given the Honorable Mention award. It is regarded as an imaginative, organic solution enhanced by an amazing presentation. It provides plenty of opportunities to play below and around the structure and to be with nature. The solution has a rich palette of textures and
material, and conveys the feeling of a “bird’s nest”. The alternative access via a spiral stars is a nice addition.
Proposal TH-3 by McCarty Holsaple McCarty is material, and conveys the feeling of a “bird’s nest”. The alternative access via a spiral stars is a nice addition.

Proposal TH-3 by McCarty Holsaple McCarty is the Third Place Winner, which provides a $250 award to the design firm. This solution provides an interactive design to the treehouse program with its inward-outward spaces, including long views from the treehouse, and the visualization is strong. The opportunity for play under the ramp is a bonus, and the extra platform space for exploration and individual experiences is a definite asset.

The Second Place Winner is proposal TH-5 by curb and Daniel Jones, and the design firm receives a $500 award. The ramp is not intrusive. The material language is compelling, the solution respects the trees by not being too close, and the demarcation of existing elements is clearly intentional. The solution created useful “discovery” niches as it evolved.

The First Place Winner of the UT Treehouse Competition is proposal TH-4 by Sanders Pace Architecture, for which the design firm receives an award of $750. The Jury responded positively to the ideas of the berm doubling as an amphitheater and the extensive use of natural materials. The solution allows you to be close enough to get the feel of being in the trees but stays out of the “root zone”. The design provides a strong symbolic representation of the East Tennessee terrain, and is both a place to enjoy the surroundings and a “special place” to experience in itself as well. A significant attribute of the design lies in its accommodation of spontaneous, natural play activities as well as formal programming. It was also noted that the treehouse would be easy to maintain and apparently durable.

Congratulations to all the participants and particularly the winners! The creative interpretation of the Program by all participants was remarkable, and the submissions constitute an outstanding contribution to the future of the UT Gardens.


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