environmental design - architectural research - material science - ecological analysis - parametric design - sustainability - planning - film photography - 

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︎ Berkeley, CA


credit: David Gallo


Tree Climbing Space
Sequioa National Forest

reTHINKING Competitions
David Gallow 
Hilary Smith
The site was discovered and chosen remotely based on the dynamic convergence of steep topography, running water, accessibility by existing trail, and adjacency to a meadow as a complimentary environment. We designed a climbing space that integrates itself into the environment and helps visitors appreciate the Sequoias for the natural wonders that they are.

Our submission employs a hybrid of ancient and emerging technologies, weaving a lightweight tensile structure with a fleet of drones. This efficient, minimal structure helps lend the experience toward the sequioas by causing minimal obstructions and maintaining 360o views from each tree central to the structure. The material and structural nature of the tensile system also facilitates a special physical connection between coinciding visitors through the rippling forces absorbed and disbursed by the system. This energy would be captured by a piezoelectric system which imediately triggers the fiber optic cables to emit a diffused light from the live load points. At the intersection of the structure’s three wings is a central climbing space woven entirely out of piezoelectric fiber optics. The end of the Outlook wing graces the edge of a meadow which not only offers a spectacular visual release, but also an exciting way to depart from the installation by hitching a ride on a ziplline across the meadow.

construction sequence - developed in structural detailing class