Garvan Woodland Gardens is an outreach center of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design for the University of Arkansas and they are introducing a new structure to the Evan Children’s Adventure Garden. Garvan Gardens held the soft opening of “The Great Tree House Adventure: Play High Up” in honor of the new structure Saturday, June 30 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.
According to Garvan Gardens, “It is part of an ambitious plan to bring children back into the woods, the tree house will use a rich visual and tactile environment to stimulate the mind and body, while accommodating the needs of all users.”
There’s something nostalgic and magical about a tree house, memories of childhood and playing pretend come flooding in whenever the words are mentioned. Garvan Gardens hopes to amplify the sense of childhood wonder while bringing education into the equation through this new structure. This $1 million tree house is truly every child’s dream.
The tree house is located in the 1.5-acre Evans Children’s Adventure Garden. The children’s garden currently features interactive garden rocks, a 12-foot waterfall, man-made cave, a bridge of tree branches, and much more to inspire children to explore and learn about the natural environment. The tree house will be a fantastic edition furthering the garden’s mission to immerse children into the natural setting and excite their imaginations.
The structure has been designed by Modus Studios and will wind throughout a small group of pines and oaks. It follows the theme of dendrology, the study of trees and wooded plants. This theme inspires and drives the form of the structure.
Throughout Garvan Gardens lightness, verticality and transparency are recurring architectural characteristics, and the tree house is no exception. Natural materials are essential to this structure, metal glass are being used only when necessary in order to make the setting more immersive.
Modus Studios states “The tree house is proposed as the first of three within the garden that will provide an interactive educational experience for visiting children… The evocative form is dynamic, offering multiple points of entry, various interior levels and a menagerie of unique spaces for children and adults alike that refocus your attention to the natural wonders of the forest canopy.”
With interactive exhibits children will be encouraged to explore and learn about various elements of the woodlands. The interpretive elements should stimulate a child’s imagination far more than plaques or pictures could. It has been designed so that parents will still be able to monitor their children due to the wooden screens various transparencies. However, parents being able to keep a watchful eye won’t take away from the overall mystery and adventure of the structure.
Bob Bledsoe, Executive Director at Garvan, said, “It is with great pride that we announce the official
name of the Tree House component of the Evans Children’s Adventure Garden, the Bob and Sunny
Evans Tree House. I am also proud to say that the project was totally funded by and completed with
private donations from just under 350 individuals. This exciting design is receiving interest from around the world, and I am proud that the Evanses entrusted to us the confidence to complete this project.”