longest tree canopy walk in the US opens at michigan's dow gardens
 

longest tree canopy walk in the US opens at michigan's dow gardens

a botanical garden in midland, michigan is now home to the longest tree canopy walk in the united states. the project, which opened in october 2018, comprises a network of bridges, paths, and tree canopy walkways that are populated with engaging gathering points and interactive features — including a series of treehouse-like structures that create a sense of discovery for children and adults alike.

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
all images by nic lehoux

 

 

designed by metcalfe, a philadelphia-based multi-disciplinary practice, the installation complements the existing dow gardens complex — the botanical garden and arboretum established in 1899 by herbert h. dow. the scheme offers an intimate experience of the 54-acre pine forest, with visitors given the freedom to wander and explore independently. the site also includes a new playground, apple orchard, bridges, amphitheater, visitor center, café, and forest classroom.

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
view looking toward orchard overlook

 

 

the centerpiece of the project is the 1,400-foot-long (427m) tree canopy walk — the longest in the country — which offers views from 40 feet (12m) above the ground. meanwhile, expansive cargo nets stretched between trees create places for visitors to walk, jump and sprawl safely while suspended 25 feet (7.6m) over the forest floor. elsewhere, walk-in slatted-wood pavilions in abstracted forms of nests and pods offer shelter and act as settings for reflection, discussion, and observation.

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
the orchard arm overlook of the canopy walk reaches its highest elevation of 40 feet (12.2 meters)

 

 

‘this active, participatory environment is an architectural antidote to the over-reliance on virtual, screen-centric life that people today typically experience,’ explains alan metcalfe, principal of metcalfe. ‘in a world of technology that sometimes makes us more divided, we work to design places that bring people together outdoors and in nature for purposeful interaction. whiting forest of dow gardens is a great example of that philosophy.’

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
a new playground is located below the canopy walk

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
the view from ground level

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
an upper level and roof structure engage with the landscape

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
this structure is topped with a bright red roof

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
pod-like structures create a sense of discovery for both children and adults

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
this sheltered pavilion is elevated 30 feet (9.1 meters) in the air and looks out over a pond

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
the structure becomes softly illuminated at dusk

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
integrated lighting highlights the path

metcalfe whiting forest dow gardens tree canopy
a midcentury modern house by alden b. dow has been restored and repurposed

 

 

project info:

 

name: whiting forest of dow gardens
location: midland, michigan, USA
architect: metcalfe
photographer: nic lehoux

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    PRODUCT LIBRARY

    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    ×
    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    493,007 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample