treehaus | 2008
treehaus is an ambitious, holistic proposal. four vocational / professional curricula are present in the program: automotive, manufacturing, construction management, and graphic design. the project includes proposed curricula, certifications, and potential sponsors for each. each vocation has specialized facilities, but also strategically shares spaces with the other groups—as in, for example, liberal arts or socialization. specialized spaces include garage facilities (automotive), drafting studios (graphics), and full fabrication shops (manufacturing).
by combining the four specializations under a single roof, the design offers a solution to the often-problematic relationship between the fabrication and design professions. the notion of the project is to create an opportunity for the manual, technical, and managerial aspects of these interdependent ventures to be integrated at the most crucial point—education—rather than later on when such differences can become devisive.
the design gives voice to this cooperative spirit in part through its figure, a circulation path that rings around and winds through the building, pulling the outside in and vice-versa. the figure varies in size, public visibility, and the degree to which it deforms surrounding materials and forms, often wrapping onto walls, furniture, armatures, and ceilings. it allows architecture to concretely represent the sense of community that the school stands for. in addition, the figure serves to unify [and sometimes obviate] unsightly signage.