Project posted by Daniel Kelso

Tree x Office



Posted by
Program of Environmental Design at University of Colorado, Boulder

From Daniel Kelso

Tree x Office is an urban, open-air, co-working and community gathering space built around an American Linden tree in Boulder Colorado’s downtown Civic Area Park.
This project allows people to be together in a literally open space underneath a striking canopy that provides cool summer shade. The Tree x Office offers a large conference table, “rentable” standing and sitting desks, wifi, and a platform for people to work, sit, think, converse, speak and perform.

Conceptualized by internationally renowned Artist Natalie Jeremijenko of the Environmental Health Clinic, the idea behind the Tree x Office is, in part, to (re)consider our relationship with nature and natural systems. The intent is to express higher appreciation for natural systems and to have a stimulating, toxic free work environment. The tree has the head seat at the conference table and provides shade, enclosure, and clean air to the entire office. The tree also acts as ‘landlord’ and any income generated by renting out the spaces goes directly to benefit the tree (maintenance, nutrients etc..).

The Tree X Office was designed and built by 3rd year undergraduate students in the Program of Environmental Design at the University of Colorado, Boulder. For the duration of one semester students designed around ideas of community, fabrication, collaborative design and working, site constraints, environmental forces such as sun and wind and water (it stands in a floodplain), all while being exposed to real world objectives such as deadlines, budgets, building permits and zoning codes.

Supported by easily leveling scaffolding jacks, a grid of glue-laminated beams and steel plate connections snaps into place. Off site prefabricated decking cartridges are then lowered to fit in-between the beams. To block wind and afternoon sun, steel screen panels are hung between the structural columns on the Northwest edge of the office. On the screen panels are efficient water jet cut steel ribbons are fitted with dichroic and reflective film meant to capture the attention of the passing public. The structure is (con)temporary and modular; and is only intended to stand for one summer in Boulder before being moved to another location. The fabrication strategy was to create a kit of parts that could be reproduced (digitally fabricated) or shipped elsewhere. i.e. Underprivileged communities or any other place where civic parks could use a public platform and collaborative workspace.

***In collaboration between University of Colorado, Environmental Health Clinic, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Arts, and Eco Arts Connections.