Winter ’23 – ’24 Update

Design

Confidential Zoo Project
New renderings utilizing scans of trees for an intricate lodge design at a world renown Zoo that has worked with WholeTrees before.

Design: HGW Architecture
GC: WholeTrees Structures
Engineer: KPFF Seattle
Engineer: KPFF San Diego

Kaiser Elementary School
Oakland Unified School District elementary school natural playground featuring an assortment of WholeTrees’ playscape elements including water flumes, tree forts, tunnels and a log maze. Here are some initial shop drawings of the project.

General Contractor: SPEC

Mississippi Gateway Park
Minnesota park located on the Mississippi river featuring big, beautiful trees as signs and pole climbers along with curved balance beams and benches.

General Contractor: Meisinger Construction Co., Inc.

Nashville Zoo Leopard Forest
The 2024 Leopard Forest project will be located along the path to an existing giraffe habitat and feature four separate habitats where guests can enjoy multiple viewing areas of each species. Visitors will enjoy a unique view of the Amur leopards as they pass above a guest pathway via an overhead transfer. Here are some shop drawings of various outdoor elements provided by WholeTrees.

GC: Solomon Builders
Design: Gregory Gates Architect, LLC
Thematic Designer: Gecko Group
Engineer: KPFF Seattle

Playscape Element Renderings
These beautiful renderings of some of our playscape elements will help our partners and potential playground purchasers to visualize the ideal playground for their community.

Tree Scan Design
Tree scanning design work by Architectural Project Manager, Kevin Stewart.



Production

Kaiser Elementary School
Oakland Unified School District elementary school natural playground featuring an assortment of WholeTrees’ playscape elements including water flumes, tree forts, tunnels and a log maze. Here are some initial shop drawings of the project. These images show production of log steppers, water flumes, and tunnels, along with our ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) plaque.

General Contractor: SPEC

Tom’s Treehouse
Tom’s Treehouse is a unique play area developed for Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, Nebraska. This 1,500-acre forest is listed as a National Natural Landmark and a National Historic District. In these images we are fabricating a climbing horse with timber rails and additional climbing structures.

Architect: HDR Architects
GC: Dotsals Construction, Gretna, NE

Waterfront Toronto
These WholeTrees play elements are included in a prestigious multi-year redevelopment of an industrial waterfront turned internationally renowned park in Toronto. These images show continued production on the dramatic three-pronged upside down tridents for climbing. The design of the Waterfront Toronto Development has been led by the renowned firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with whom WholeTrees has collaborated.
 

Architect: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates  



Finished Shots

Blackhawk Church
This beautiful, single decorative tree column made quite the statement in children's’ area at Blackhawk Church in Fitchburg, WI in 2019. The bench surrounding the base adds to the inviting yet playful vibe, and brings biophilic design into the space.

Designer: Interior Logic
GC: Newcomb Construction

Blue Oak Landing Playground

The Blue Oak Landing natural playscape (Vallejo, CA) was installed in 2023 on the property of a recently established Permanent Supportive Housing project that will provide shelter for previously homeless adults and families from both the City of Vallejo and Solano County. This biophilic design emphasizes some of our most beautiful, fun-inducing playscape elements like our pole climbers, tree fort, and log piles.

Images courtesy of SPEC 

Landscape Architect: Fletcher Studio
GC: SPEC

FDR Park
Playground design consultant Studio Ludo came to SPEC with a fully accessible and inclusive treehouse concept complete with rope climbing, natural wood, and a massive swing set. SPEC was able to take this vision and work directly with Berliner and WholeTrees to bring this vision to life. The finalized playground includes three separate 25’-35’ tall tree houses, a mega-swing with 20 total swings, embankment slides, log climbers, and spinners. 

With endless options to practice risk, failure, and mastery, this innovative space is now open and was featured in February in a Philadelphia Inquirer article, “At FDR Park’s new playground, designers say being a little scared is king of the point.

Images courtesy of SPEC 

Landscape Architect: WRT Design
GC: SPEC 
Playground Designer: Studio Ludo
Playground Designer: ERA
Engineer: KPFF

Omaha Riverfront Playgrounds
Community leaders from Omaha and Council Bluffs are working together with government officials and stakeholders to improve both sides of the Missouri River. The Gene Leahy Mall play area is envisioned as an urban oasis for locals and tourists alike. WholeTrees provided natural play elements such as the ones pictured above.

Landscape Architect: OJB Landscape Architecture
Playground Designer: Studio Ludo



Travel

WholeTrees’ Staff Travel
Images from WholeTrees’ staff personal and professional travel featuring Architectural Project Manager, Kara Holzmiller in San Diego and Project Manager Brad Crary in Morocco

Operations Trip to Maine
In Maine, WholeTrees’ operations, leadership and communications staff visited multiple potential site locations, met with our forest partners, Seven Islands Land Company, and showcased our tree scanning technology in the woods.

WholeTrees in Philadelphia at the Building Museums Symposium
On March 7th, our Co-Founder & CEO, Amelia Baxter, was in Philly presenting a session about the Children's Museum of Eau Claire (CMEC) at the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums Building Museums Symposium with architecture firm Steinberg Hart: "Creating an Environment of Discovery through Carbon Neutral Design.”



Current Events & WholeTrees in the News

WholeTrees featured on Buildings Podcast
CoFounder & CEO Amelia Baxter interviewed for “What is Structural Round Timber” for the podcast.

WholeTrees featured in Authority Magazine, a Medium Publication
CoFounder & CEO Amelia Baxter dives deep into WholeTrees and what it means to run a mission-driven business.

WholeTrees project, FDR Park Anna C. Vernon Playground redesign, featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer
The playground project, and multiple photos of WholeTrees natural play elements, were featured on the cover in the article, “At FDR Park’s new playground, designers say being a little scared is kind of the point.”

WholeTrees Maine Expansion featured in the Bangor Daily News
The opening of our Maine fabrication facility was highlighted in the article, “WholeTrees Reopens Shuttered Aroostook County Mill.”

Architects and Artisans, 2010 Article
In December 2023, Co-Founder & CEO Amelia Baxter was interviewed by Michael Welton, seasoned architectural writer and founder of Architects and Artisans. During this interview, he brought up a very early piece he did in 2010, "In Rural New England, Transforming Timber into Louvers," back when it was new.  This building was designed by Centerbrook Architects. 

Outstanding Structure of the Year
In November 2023, the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations awarded the Children's Museum of Eau Claire (CMEC) the “Outstanding Structure in the New Building under $30M” category and the overall “2023 Outstanding Structure of the Year” at the Structural Engineering Excellence (SEE) Awards ceremony.

Our engineering consulting partners, KPFF, accepted the awards for the first ever application of mixed species Structural Round Timber in a heavily loaded two-story structural system - representing the group collaborative effort of connecting design intent, carbon smart forests, and trees to this modern Children's Museum.

WholeTrees Begins Fabrication at Maine Facility
Our new Maine-based operations gets started with fabrication following the opening of the Moosewood facility.

Goings on at Westby
Beautiful images with an overhead view of production at our Westby fabrication facility as well as visit from Maine Director of Operations, Mark Hensley with VP of Operations, Derek Mayhew.

WholeTrees Joins the Great Lakes Business Network
We are proud to have become members in 2024 of the Great Lakes Business Network whose mission is to create an inclusive and influential business network that advocates for thriving ecosystems, economies, and communities in the Great Lakes Region. 

WholeTrees Holiday Party
On February 2, 2024, the Madison and Westby-based staff along with remote employees from across the country met in Viroqua, WI to celebrate an incredible 2023.

WholeTrees Hoodie
Another 2023 year-end gift: this WholeTrees hoodie showing off our tree scans.

Forest Map
Interesting map showing the percentage of forested area by state - note our new fabrication facility location, Maine.

WholeTrees New Staff
This winter, WholeTrees hired several new staff members, including: Kevin Stewart, Architectural Project Manager, Madison; David McKnight, Director of Accounting, Madison.