visiondivision: chop stick
dec 04, 2012
visiondivision: chop stick

visual rendering of the ‘chop stick’ concession stand by visiondivision for the indianapolis museum of art
all images courtesy of visiondivision



commissioned by the indianapolis museum of art to erect a concession stand for their 100 acres: the viriginia b. fairbanks art & nature park,
swedish architecture firm visiondivision (anders berensson and ulf mejergren) have realized ‘chop stick’, a design based on the universal notion
of that you need to sacrifice something in order to make something new.


every product is a compound of different pieces of nature, whether it is a cell phone, a car, a stone floor or a wood board;
they have all been harvested in one way or another. our project is about trying to harvest something as gently as possible
so that the source of what we harvest is displayed in a pure, pedagogic and respectful way—respectful to both the source itself
and to everyone visiting the building,
‘ the architects say.



exterior view
image courtesy of visiondivision



the raw material selected for the structure is a 100-foot yellow poplar, the state tree of indiana which is regarded for its beauty,
respectable size and good properties as a hardwood. visiondivision found their ideal tree in anderson, indiana,
transforming it into a useful building.



swings made from part of the trunk
image courtesy of visiondivision



the tree was transported to the park site, where it was suspended as a horizontal beam, the structure to be made almost entirely out of
the tree itself. the bark was removed from its surface, in order that it does not fall on bystanders, a process which naturally occurs as
the moisture content in the wood drops, causing the tree to shrink and the bark to lose its grip. craftsmen loosened entire cylinders of bark
from the trunk which were then flattened and cut into standard shingle length, carefully stacked and placed under pressure to avoid curling.
the stacks are then kiln dried to the proper moisture content, sterilized and kept in climate controlled storage until ready for use. bark shingles
are very durable, lasting up to 80 years, and are maintenance free. once debarked, pieces of wood are extracted from the suspended tree and used
for various components of the concession stand; structural support of the entire construction, as pillars and studs for the kiosk,
swings under the tree for kids, benches and tables to be placed under the tree’s crown, from which special fixtures made out of branches will hang.


on a smaller level, berensson and mejergren are exploring ways in which they can use other parts of the tree in the concession stand including
its root system, which is separated from the tree when it is cut down. for example, the roots have many edible features, such as rot bark which
could be used to make tea and tonics sold at the kiosk. pressed leaves and flowers taken from the tree will act as ornaments on the front glass
of the structure. there is also the possibility to extract honey from the poplar tree flowers. branches less than five inches in diameter are cut away
to prevent eventual rotting, and those remaining used for details such as legs for chairs and tables, or ground down into sawdust for use as insulation.



swings made from part of the trunk
image courtesy of visiondivision


yellow poplar syrup was extracted from the tree and will be sold from the kiosk, giving visitors the opportunity the eat the building.



the VD-team handing out ice cream at the opening party
image courtesy of visiondivision



the top part of the tree with tables and chairs
image courtesy of visiondivision



typical summer afternoon
image courtesy of visiondivision



at night time with the lamp shades from the bark of the smaller limbs
image courtesy of visiondivision


left: interior of the kiosk
right: exterior branding

visual rendering of the ‘chop stick’ concession stand by visiondivision for the indianapolis museum of art
image courtesy of visiondivision



‘chop stick’ by visiondivision
image courtesy of visiondivision



conference before the removal of the selected poplar tree
photo by donna sink



preparing the tree to be cut
photo by donna sink



once cut the trunk was pulled away from its roots raised by a large crane
photo by donna sink



arranging the tree horizontally
photo by donna sink



debarking the tree in strips
photo by donna sink



cutting excess wood to make tables for the kiosk
photo by donna sink



preparing the tree for transportation to the park site
photo by donna sink



preparing the tree for transportation to the park site
photo by donna sink



en route to the park site
photo by donna sink



the debarked tree on location
photo by donna sink



poplar tree flower in which honey could be extracted from for sale at the concession stand
photo by donna sink

the making of ‘chop stick’




diagram of the entire process of removing the tree and transforming it into a architectural structure
image courtesy of visiondivision



the varying cuts made to the wood



the varying facades of ‘chop stick’



project info:



architects: visiondivision through anders berensson & ulf mejergren
local architect: donna sink
client: indianapolis museum of arts
location: 100 acres; the virginia b. fairbanks art & nature park at the indianapolis museum of arts,  indianapolis, in, usa
curators: lisa freiman & sarah green
structural engineer: dave steiner
contractor: the hagerman group
logger: dave and dave
images: eric lubrick (ima), donna sink, visiondivision

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