Arch Triumph entrant (pending result)
Embrace Me Tree House # 1525-4
Embrace Me Tree House simulates the forest itself with wood braces that resemble trunks and branches of varying heights. The structure is an exploratory space that connects the user to the surrounding wooded landscape. Embrace Me also refers to the encircling forms of each of the 7 pods, like a hug or embrace.
The tree structure has an ennobling aspect, fit for a prince, in its elegant simplicity and assemblage of ascending spaces. The design is low-cost, repeatable and sustainable, using reclaimed hardwood for the decking wherever possible, minimal steel supports and a basic construction that can expand or shrink depending on the size of the site. Furthermore the structure encircles an existing tree trunk without touching it due to the square framing configuration and steel posts at the base of the main cell. The glulam timber rings above the platforms, that provide backing for the two sizes of wood studs, invoke the rings of a tree trunk that tell its age. The two sizes of studs around each perimeter create a gradient affect like a forest of changing density.
A spiral stairway of wood treads with stainless steel brackets allows access. There are exterior grade plywood steps between the cells. Most of the enclosures have roof decking, but a couple of them are left open, where a glulam ring (made of curved structural members) frames the sky.
Heightening a sense of adventure, the tree structure contains a rooftop hideout, an alternate rope entryway, cantilevered platforms, a mesh hammock and monkey bars. There is also a playful hide-and seek dimension, as one travels from cage to cage, only seeing glimpses of what’s ahead.
The construction consists of 6 main elements: wood rafters, flexible exterior grade plywood strips for the platform skirts and steps, 5” wide strips of exterior grade plywood and hardwood for the decking, two sizes of clear-stained wood studs, (locally-sourced), glulam structural rings and some steel supports anchored at grade. In addition, there are secondary elements of stainless steel brackets, grommets and steel cables at the open platform, climbing rope, as well as minimal poured concrete at the steel posts.
Embrace Me heightens one’s awareness of nature by uniquely framing panoramic views of the untamed woods beyond, enhancing its mystery. At the same time, the roofed enclosures provide a refuge from sun and rain. The tree structure straddles the line between a man-made and natural world.
An optional component of steel cables installed vertically between the wood rings may be added, (with an electric guitar pick-up and amplifier), to provide a wind harp effect of sounds.
A shade structure and water-collector outside a wellness center for cancer patients, by Valerie F. Schweitzer AIA (2015)
We propose clusters of fabric structures to create shade and collect rainwater into reflecting pools at the center of each pod. They are made with a basic aluminum frame, 3″ diamter aluminum poles, and Sunbrella fabric.
Inspired in part by animals that live and hang from trees, as well as their habitats. Three types of canopies vary in height, radius, and color, to create kinetic spaces beneath for healing cancer patients. The goal was to use fabric in a unique and architectural way–here the structures protect from harsh sun light, while collecting rain water. The structures also loosely resemble flowers at various stages of opening and closing away from the sun.
Archetype re-imagined and tribute to the Concordia victims
Chasm lighthouse, on Giglio Island in Italy, esplores the edge of solidity and transparence, darkness and light,while memorializing the Concorida shipwreck. The lighthouse is a contemporary reimagining of an ancient nautical form, which reveal the porous bordres between land and sea.
The sculptural monument is meant to pay tribute to the 32 lives lost at the site, and contains an information center about the shipwreck.
The seeming tear in the lighhouse shaft synbolizes the tragedy while showing the inner guts of the structure–steel pipe, stairwell, platforms–that in turn upholds the floating glass and aluminum beacon of light. the beacon’s red roof resembles sails of a boat and the saturated color signifiees that the memories of loved ones live on. Red-roofed shading pavilions and poppeyes reinforce the connection between earth and sky. The sea of poppeyes at the base of the “torn” concrete also resonates with loss and hope.
Visitors weave in and out of darkness on an upward reflective journey, due to the two widening “cracks” in the walls.
Giglio Island, Italy
section and sketches
holocaust memorial bologna
“A Passage from Barbs to Souls” by Valerie Schweitzer AIA (2015)
From Descending Bodies, To Ascending Skeletons, and the Void in between
With an economy of means, we attempt to make the passer-by stop and remember the mass murder that occurred in the concentration camps and the individual lives lost.
Please See Holocaust memorial page for a description that explains our intent.
Quotes in our brief:
“And the Dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto the Divine who gave it”. –Eccesiastes 12:7
“Memory is the scribe of the soul.” –Aristotle
“I’m staring at the man in the mirror.
I’m asking him to change his ways.
if you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make that change” –Michael Jackson
2017, bubble shade
Citation at www.futureofshade.com by Architizer and Sunbrella, 2017 (For shop drawings see Bubble Shade category)
two hollows gate
A gate-like structure marking the new entrance for Folkets Park in Sweden, encourages city dwellers to appreciate the marvels of nature while lounging, circumambulating and gazing. By Valerie F. Schweitzer AIA (2016)
Two Hollows allows for the gathering of park-goers on its playful steps and internal chambers, that couple as exhibition space. The two wood structures resemble the often overlooked but marvelous tree trunk, even mimicking its shedding of bark and regrowth. (wood is one of the most sustainable of building materials in Sweden)
Nine feet wide in diameter each hollow lends itself to fun exhibitions that can hold several viewers at a time.The glulam structural rings in each of the two hollows evokes the rings within a tree trunk that marks its age.
Winner, Architectural Digest “Open Auditions” 2008–Studio, Westport, Ct See Westport Studio