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[highlight1]  Chop Stick  [/highlight1]

Chop Stick, created by the Swedish architecture duo visiondivision, provides visitors to 100 Acres a place to sit, swing, and enjoy refreshments in an outdoor pavilion crafted almost entirely from a single tree. The 100-foot-tall tulip tree—the state tree of Indiana—was found in a forest near Anderson, Indiana, and transported to 100 Acres with a large portion of its limbs intact. The design for Chop Stick revolves around the architects’ ambition to harvest a material as gently and thoughtfully as possible.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art will mark the two-year anniversary of the opening of 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park by premiering its tenth site-specific installation, Chop Stick, an inventive concession stand designed by the Swedish architecture duo visiondivision. Chop Stick will debut at the IMA’s annual Summer Solstice celebration June 16, 2012, which will be free to the public. Also this summer, the Park will host its third resident on Andrea Zittel’s Indy Island, present an exciting slate of new programming, and offer improved access to the Park’s trail system.

Located on 100 acres of land that includes untamed woodlands, wetlands, a lake, and meadows adjacent to the Museum, 100 Acres is one of the largest museum art parks in the country and one of only a few to feature the ongoing commission of temporary, site-responsive artworks. 100 Acres opened with eight newly commissioned works by Atelier Van Lieshout, Kendall Buster, Alfredo Jaar, Jeppe Hein, Los Carpinteros, Tea Mäkipää, Type A and Andrea Zittel, as well as a LEED-certified visitor center and numerous walking trails that highlight the indigenous landscape. In 2011, the IMA added a site-specific installation in 100 Acres and along Indianapolis’ White River by New York-based artist Mary Miss. The Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion, designed by architect Marlon Blackwell and a 2012 American Institute of Architects Honor Award winner, highlights the surrounding environment and provides a peaceful respite for Park visitors. Numerous walking trails, designed by landscape architect Ed Blake, emphasize the macro and microscopic forms found naturally throughout the Park.

Since opening in June 2010, 100 Acres has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors. The Park has become a popular spot in the city for jogging, fishing, hiking, picnicking, bird-watching, art crawls, family outings and school trips. This summer, visitors will have greater access to the Park’s three miles of hiking trails with the addition of a causeway that will create a continuous trail around the 35-acre lake.

“We’re thrilled that the community loves 100 Acres,” said Lisa Freiman, senior curator and chair of the IMA’s Department of Contemporary Art. “With the 2012 Park season, we hope to make it even more engaging with new amenities and programs for visitors like a concession stand that is literally a work of art, an intimate outdoor flute performance with renowned musician Thomas Robertello, and opportunities to learn about ‘the wild’ with the new Indy Island resident, A. Bitterman.”

Chop Stick’s design:

The IMA has commissioned a concession stand from the Swedish architecture duo visiondivision for 100 Acres. Visiondivision’s first realized project in the United States, Chop Stick will offer Park visitors a place to sit, swing, and enjoy refreshments in an outdoor pavilion crafted almost entirely from a single tree. Chop Stick will open on June 16, 2012, as part of the annual Summer Solstice celebration in 100 Acres.

Visiondivision’s concession stand design employs a single, 100-foot-tall tulip tree—the state tree of Indiana—as its primary raw material. The tree, found in a forest near Anderson, Ind., was transported to 100 Acres with a large portion of its limbs intact and is oriented and engineered to form the central horizontal beam of the structure. Portions of the tree have been strategically removed to create the concession stand—including swings, benches, tables, and light fixtures. The tree’s bark will be repurposed as shingles adorning the façade of the concession stand.

The design for Chop Stick is based on the premise that every product—whether it is a cell phone, a car, a stone floor, or a wooden building—is a compound of different elements of nature, each of which are harvested in specific ways. Chop Stick will function as a rich educational tool that reveals the processes that are usually hidden as trees are harvested and undergo refinement and transformation into structures.

Chop Stick will offer a variety of refreshments and healthy snacks for Park visitors, including child-friendly foods, juices, savory snacks, beer and wine, as well as helpful items such as sunscreen and insect repellent. Water will be complimentary for those who bring their own bottle or purchase a reusable 100 Acres water bottle. Visitors to Chop Stick will also enjoy access to
free Wi-Fi.


Visiondivision was commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art to create an innovative concession stand for the 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park.

The design is based on the universal notion that you need to sacrifice something in order to make something new. Every product is a compound of different pieces of nature, whether it is a cell phone, a car, a stone floor or a wood board; they have all been harvested in one way or another. Our project is about trying to harvest 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.

The raw material we selected is a 100-foot yellow poplar tree, the state tree of Indiana, known for its beauty, respectable size, and good properties as hardwood. We found a great specimen standing in a patch of forest outside of Anderson, Indiana. Our goal was 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 is now part of one of the finest art parks in the United States. As the project proceeded, we continued to be surprised by all of the marvelous features that where 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.

The tree was then transported to the park site, where it became the suspended horizontal beam of this new structure, which is almost entirely made out of the tree itself. The tree’s bark was removed to prevent it from falling on bystanders, a process that occurs naturally as the moisture content in the wood drops, causing the tree to shrink and the bark to lose its grip. Craftsmen loosen entire cylinders of bark from the trunk that are then flattened and cut into a standard shingle length. The shingles was carefully stacked and placed under pressure to avoid curling. The stacks was then kiln dried to the proper moisture content, sterilized, and kept in climate-controlled storage until they where ready for use. Bark shingles are very durable, long lasting (up to 80 years), and maintenance free.

After debarking, pieces of wood are extracted from the suspended tree and used for each of the components of the concession stand; structural support of the construction, pillars and studs for the kiosk, swings under the tree for kids, chairs and tables to be placed under the tree’s crown, from which special fixtures made out of bark pieces will hang. Many school children visit 100 Acres, and we had those kids in mind when we decided to hang swings from the tree. On a smaller scale, we explored ways to use other parts of the tree in the concession stand, including pressed leaves and flowers that were taken from the tree and that became ornaments in the front glass of the kiosk.

We also made Yellow Poplar syrup that was extracted from the bark of the tree and that will be sold in the kiosk, thus meaning that you could actually eat a part of the building.

The delicate balance act of the risk of weakening the hovering tree with taking cuts from it versus having to have a certain amount of wood to stabilize and construct the kiosk and carrying the load from the tree itself was very challenging.

Many days was spent with the structural engineer trying different types of cuts in a computer model to optimize the structure. To be able to fit all pieces that needed to be taken from the tree into the actual cuts we needed to make drawings for every single piece taken from the tree. We also needed to optimize the kiosk both in size and in its constructions since it would take a lot of weight from the hovering trunk. The kiosk got a truss frame construction with two larger pieces of wood that are right under the tree. Using the schematics from our engineers force diagram program, we concluded that the wall closer to the end of the tree was taking more load, thus we sized up the two larger pieces of wood in that specific wall. All these alterations really just made the project more beautiful since the design became more refined in terms of more balanced proportions.

[highlight1]  Project Data  [/highlight1]

Project name: Chop Stick
Location: The 100-acre Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, 4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN 46208, Indiana, United States
Coordinates: 39.825446,-86.185108
Type: Public Facilities, Art in Architecture, Tree House,
Project Year: 2011-2012
Status: Built
Cost: $2 million
Completion Year: 2012

[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Client / Owner / Developer: The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA)
Architects: Visiondivision, Granits väg 2, 171 65 Solna, Sweden
Project Team: Anders Berensson & Ulf Mejergren (Architects) Donna Sink (Local Architect) Dave Steiner (Engineer) Lisa Freiman & Sarah Green (Curators)
Text Description: © Courtesy of Visiondivision, The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA)
Images: © Eric Lubrick (ima), Donna Sink, Visiondivision, The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA)

[highlight1]  Video  [/highlight1]
    [highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]

    pixy Chop Stick / Visiondivision

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