WholeTrees Spring 2023


Tom's Treehouse: Intricate, bold and stunning treehouse in design for Fontenelle Forest Nature Preserve in Nebraksa.
Architect - HDR Architects
Confidential Park: These renderings are for a confidential park on the West Coast from the award winning landscape architect, David Fletcher of Fletcher Studio 
Owner - City of San Francisco
Architect - Fletcher Studio 
Grams Park: Located on Lake Fremont in Sherburne County, MN, Grams Park is a 100 acre park with 2 miles of trails, a boardwalk and a new nature play area.
High Desert Museum: A stunning museum in Bend, Oregon is moving forward with  an outdoor, natural play scape. WholeTrees has shared the museum in the past as an inspiration for elegant use in structural capacities
Architect: Walker Macy



EPIC Living Bridge: This intricate model is built to scale to demonstrate the design intent in reality. The bridge will be installed this year on the EPIC campus in Verona, WI.
Client: EPIC
GC: Findorff
Blake School Early Learning Center Monkey Bars: Deeply rooted in nature, the ELC is a model of sustainable and healthy environment practices with the in their building, and WholeTrees is supplying natural play elements for the young children in Hopkins, MN
Architect: HGA
Minnesota Zoo Dino Park- Samples being made in our Westby facility for the new addition to the Minnesota Zoo, the Dino play area. WholeTrees looks forward to installing our third project with the Minnesota Zoo later this year.
Park 596: The Chicago Parks Department Headquarters installation is under way. Seen here are a few WholeTrees elements being installed, including some custom decking and tables.

Finished Shots

John Ball Zoo Round Pavilion: In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Pygmy hippo exhibit awaits a grand opening ceremony in early June, 2023. The building and exhibit are in pursuit for the Living Building Challenge with IFLI and aims to be an energy efficient structure made to last the tests of time. 


Children's Museum of Eau Claire:  The long anticipated opening of the Children's Musuem of Eau Claire is finally here. These images, captured by Kleine Leonard, show the space in its completed glory. Viewing the space in use by the kids of Eau Claire was worth the blood, sweat and tears that went into completing this stunning space.

Architect: Steinberg Hart
GC: Market&Johnson
Engineer: ERA
Engineer: KPFF


WholeTrees Holiday Party: In late January, the WholeTrees teams convened in Viroqua to hold a holiday party celebrating another great year. The afterparty shenanigans are pictured here. 

Paul Drace spends a few weeks in Madison for intensive Sales Meetings- Paul Drace, with family in Wisconsin and a team of leaders to coach a mentor in Madison, often spends time with our teams here in the Midwest. Pictured here is Paul with his impromptu window repair tool, and Chelsea, our office manager, posing for our version of the classic painting, American Gothic. Also pictured is our Family Dinner while the team was gathered together in Madison.

Derek visits Madison: VP of Operations, Derek Mayhew, makes regular trips to Madison from La Crosse area to meet with out project managers, sales team and executive leadership. His calm presence is always welcomed in the bustle of the city and our office

Derek and Rob take their children to CMEC: Early warm spring days meant that Rob and Derek, together with their children, hit the road to visit the Children's Museum of Eau Claire. We love our projects so much, we visit on our days off.

Amelia visits Boise, ID: On a trip in early 2023 to Boise, Amelia and our West Coast Sales Director, Paul Drace, met for dinner. They will tell you that their plans to visit a restaurant with a massive interior tree structure was a coincidence, but they do tend to find themselves deep in tree talks often and this was a fun surprise.

International Mass Timber Conference: Convening in Portland, OR in late March, the WholeTrees and Port Blakely teams shared booth space to demonstrate the beauty, strength, diverse options, and carbon sequestration benefits of using solid wood in building designs. The booth experienced several visitors from our collegues in design, Sam Lai from our Board of Directors, and even the youngest timber fan at the show! 

New York Build Expo- In New York City, code challenges have long swayed designers to stay away from using mass timber. In 2023, these codes are changing and materials that are suitable to code but better for green building, are becoming more and more prevalent. This show was a chance for our team to connect with the urban elites and those curious about the state of construction in New England. The visitors to our booth were simply out of this world!

Current Events in the Wood World and WholeTrees in the News

Welcome New Team Members, Kara and Aaron!

Kara joins the WholeTrees team as is a talented professional with a background in environmental science, construction, and business management. She graduated with a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Minnesota and later earned an MBA from the University of Saint Francis Indiana, where she gained valuable skills in business strategy, finance, and project management.

Kara’s career in construction began in 2013 when she completed the Natural Building Certification program at the Endeavor Center in Ontario, Canada. She started in the field building with natural materials like straw bale and clay/straw construction and earthen plaster. Over the past decade, she has gained extensive experience holding various project management roles in high-end, high-performance home construction in Colorado and California and has been responsible for custom home projects exceeding $2M.

Recently, Kara returned to her home state of Wisconsin to work with WholeTrees as an architectural project manager. In this role, she is responsible for leading WholeTree projects, managing resources, and ensuring that projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the highest standards of quality. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoys spending her free time hiking, camping, skiing, and taking her dog Birdy on adventures.

Aaron Van Loo grew up in Eastern Ontario, Canada and now lives in Southwest Wisconsin, where his family tree holds deep roots. Aaron has been designing and building residential and commercial projects with a focus on sustainability for the past 25 years. Aaron is happy to work with WholeTrees Structures for the opportunity to continue his work in sustainable modes of construction and applying creative aesthetics that invite users to interact personally with the structures we provide.

Tsingtao Pearl Visitor Center, China -BCJ architects

“The Pavilion is a framework to enjoy the beauty of nature and a spot of serenity for the visitor to become oriented to the magnificence of the place and the promise of a tranquil life in this community.”

Bakers Place breaks ground in Madison, Michael Green Architecture: 

"Mass timber design and construction in North America is oft depicted as a coastal affair, with British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, as well as the Northeast, taking the lead in this fast-growing sector. However, the Midwest is rapidly assuming a more prominent role in the field with particular hotspots, such as the University of Arkansas and the University of Idaho, driving the next generation of mass timber projects. Mass timber is also gaining steam towards the Great Lakes in the state of Wisconsin; the tallest timber tower in the world is currently under construction in Milwaukee and industry doyen Michael Green Architecture recently presented plans for a 14-story timber tower in Madison."

Robi Decking Newsletter indicates new endangered species to note:
"Ipe and Cumaru, two of the most popular decking options from tropical hardwoods over the past few decades, have just been added to the CITES Appendix II. This is the global repository of endangered species. As the light continues to shine on the environmental impact of harvesting these non-renewable tropical hardwoods, landscape architects, builders and homeowners are looking for sustainable alternatives.  Read more about the CITES list and what it means for tropical hardwoods in our blog post summarizing the decision. "


CMEC Grand Opening: Celebrating a community space that is collaborative and the first of its kind in the world deserves some bells and whistles. Together with Jason Dorn of Port Blakely, Amelia Baxter, CEO/Co-Founder of WholeTrees, attended the event complete with aerial performances, live music from local musicians, delicious food and drinks, and friends worth traveling to visit in the bustling down town of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.