WholeTrees March/April 2020 Update


*National Gateway Renderings By Landworks Studio

Jewish Community Center - Fredonia, Wisconsin: The Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center of Milwaukee, collaborating with Manske•Dieckmann•Thompson, has asked WholeTrees to envision a magical amphitheater pavilion for their upcoming stage at the Rainbow Day Camp.  This 3D rendering of the WholeTrees truss system with round timber trusses and columns shows our vision to help performers transport event attendees to worlds of whimsy.

Engineer: KPFF

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Wildwood Playscape - San Diego, California: Work moves ahead on a new playground with natural materials and complex natural forms. We use laser scanning to match inventory to the design vision and ensure connection points between play features will align. Here, the landscape architect's physical model, a 3D object from a scanned tree, and our shop drawings enable clear communication so the project can move into production.

Engineer: KPFF
GC:  CW Driver

Marsh Park - Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin:
Preliminary Sketches of an oculus that will be installed with WholeTrees' arched columns connecting it on all sides.  The elevation shows the statement tree inside the structure as the centerpiece and the oculus that will float above.  We are excited to be a part of this engineer feat.

Bidwell Park Expansion - Colbert, Washington: These climbing trees and a log scramble at Bidwell Park in Washington will offer a new nature play experience to the park's renovation.  These two play elements are becoming staples of the WholeTrees play element catalog and we are excited to be able to play on this first project sold through our Pacific Northwest distributor, Northwest Playground Equipment Inc.

Architect: SPVV Landscape Architects
GC: LaRiviere Inc.

Shakopee Mdewakanton - Inyan Ceyaka Otonwe Park - Lake Prior, Minnesota: These elevations show the teepee structure that will be installed in this nature based playground in Minnesota. We are proud to team with Damon Farber Landscape Architects once again to create this fun and vibrant environment using natural materials.

Architect: Damon Farber


National Gateway - Arlington, Virginia: Benches cut from white oak trees sustainably harvested in Central Wisconsin are finished and ready for shipment. Along with these benches, more than a dozen sculptural trees, each over twenty feet tell, will be installed under an entry canopy at the National Gateway Potomac Yard Land Bay D East Project.

Architect: Landworks-Studio
GC: Paradigm Contractors

Bidwell Park Expansion - Colbert, Washington: We are excited to see our first play features sold through our distribution partnership with Northwest Playground Equipment, Inc. moving out. A black locust log jumble and elevated balance beam are two of over twenty natural round timber play elements contributing to the improvement of this 19-acre park in eastern Washington.

Architect: SPVV Landscape Architects
GC: LaRiviere Inc.

Little Rock Zoo - Little Rock, Arkansas: Trees provide critical habitat for animals in the wild and in conservation institutions. These dynamic branching trees will create engaging habitat features and help further enrichment activities for Little Rock Zoo's troop of colobus monkeys and for serval cats Stich and Crash.

Architect: Little Rock Zoo
GC: Little Rock Zoo

Shakopee Mdewakanton - Inyan Ceyaka Otonwe Park - Lake Prior, Minnesota: This trailer full of playground elements is ready to roll our and be installed at the Inyan Ceyaka Otonwe Park for the Shakopee Mdewankanton Sioux Community near Prior Lake, Minnesota. These elements are all made from black locust trees sustainably harvested from land undergoing a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-led rehabilitation in the central part of the state.

Architect: Damon Farber


Minnesota Zoo Tiger Lair - Apple Valley, Minnesota: This cantilevered shade structure will enhance to zoo's updated Tiger Lair. Branching black locust columns support black locust beams and rafters for this 300 square-foot structure. A steel tension rod complements the structural round timber bring the vision to reality.

Design: Damon Farber & WholeTrees
GC: Minnesota Zoo
Engineer: Engineering Ventures

Lakeridge Middle School - Lake Oswego, Oregon: From seed to structure, these site-sourced columns are installed and ready to shelter, engage, and nourish children for decades to come. Realizing the vision of oak trees cleared from the site returning as structural round timber columns required extensive collaboration. None of it would have been possible without Autodesk technologies enabling 3D modeling and manipulation. Before COVID-19 restricted travel and gatherings, collaborators came together with a film crew to document the project. We look forward to sharing the Autodesk-produced video soon.

Architect: Mahlum Architects
GC: Skanska 
Engineer: KPFF


Pandemic Meetings: As a highly collaborative company with staff in four locations, WholeTrees is quick to adapt to new challenges. COVID-19 is having devastating impacts on communities and economies around the world but we stay strong. We  continue our work advancing sustainable natural materials and are hopeful that we all come out of the current crisis with renewed focus on local sourcing, regional supply chains, and lasting connections to communities and nature.

Earth Day: At WholeTrees, we live the fact that every day is earth day. Though COVID-19 has closed our Madison Wisconsin office, planning, design, and fabrication all continue with the necessary precautions in place. For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we highlighted how we stay connected to nature and each other in these challenging times.

RES 2020:  Before the world shut down, it was wonderful connecting with the community at the Reservation Economic Summit. From catching up with old friends and prior clients to meeting new people and exploring new ideas, we are honored to be part of this annual gathering centered around the American Indian Enterprise.

Cascadia Solid Wood Series Online: A huge thank you to the dedicated people at the International Living Future Institute for quickly changing plans and converting live events to digital. WholeTrees was glad to join Sustainable Northwest Wood,  the Forest Stewardship CouncilSite Story, GGLO, Oregon Wild, and Swinerton to discuss the possibilities, benefits, and challenges of building with wood across the cascadia bio region.

Current Events in the Wood World and WholeTrees in the News

Women at Work - Timber Trailblazers: WholeTrees proudly aligns ourselves with this showcase of our board member, Michaela Harms, rocking Dovetail Work Wear. She’s joined by Kristen Slavin of Kaiser + Path Architects. WholeTrees is woman-owned and led and breaking daily boundaries in both our industries: forestry and construction. This image shows Michaela preparing WholeTrees test specimens for nondestructive evaluation in Muscoda, Wisconsin.

KVA Submission: Anthony Timberlands Center Design Competition: KVA Architects recently presented a dramatic vision to the University if Arkansas for their future Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation. The design is meant to strengthen the University's leadership in the mass timber industry, wood innovation, and material research.

This project’s innovative ‘hybrid’ structural system utilizes regional and US sourced glulam members for axial forces together with a lateral bracing network of small-diameter hardwood thinnings from northwest Arkansas forests. Using 3D scanning and advanced computation to calculate the structural capacities of the round timber, the project demonstrates the diversity of Arkansas trees and presents new ways to get value from wood resources.

WholeTrees applauds this dynamic proposed use of small diameter round timber from sustainably managed southern forests.

KVA Architects

Hug A Tree: The Icelandic Forestry Service is giving lessons in hugging trees, literally. WholeTrees heartily agrees. “When you hug [a tree], you feel it first in your toes and then up your legs and into your chest and then up into your head,” forest ranger Þór Þorfinnsson tells the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RÚV). “It’s such a wonderful feeling of relaxation and then you’re ready for a new day and new challenges."