toshihiro oki erects tree wood folly in NY sculpture park
toshihiro oki erects tree wood folly in NY sculpture park
feb 16, 2014

toshihiro oki erects tree wood folly in NY sculpture park

toshihiro oki erects tree wood folly in NY sculpture park
all images courtesy of toshihiro oki architect




tochihiro oki architect wins the 2013 ‘folly’ competition, sponsored by the architectural league of new york and the socrates sculpture park, with ‘tree wood’.  in its second year, the competition, named ‘folly’ calls for an exploration and dialogue between the field of architecture and sculpture, and the conceptualized techniques that bridge the two disciplines. toshihiro oki, along with jen wood and jared diganci proposed ‘tree wood’ as an entry that embodies wood in its many forms. the same material, whether processed in 2×4 planks or left in its natural state, is used to create a geometrical space within the tree canopy.


floor beams allow people to navigate the space in the construction



the simple wooden structure is situated among the trees of the park, and the skeletal frame, composed of studs and nails, peaks over a grove for viewers to discover. once inside the space, the installation can be seen in its entirety. trees with lush green leaves envelope and grow through the structure in a poetic manner, as faint chimes of a hanging chandelier give audible clues of the project’s existence. the lack of defined space and the ornamentation of a glass object are symbolic of the ‘folly’.



‘tree wood’ can be accessible much like a tree house



a dynamic space that can be climbed on or viewed from below



a detail of the chandelier, which is centrally positioned in the sculpture




john hatfield, juror and executive director of socrates sculpture park comments ‘blurred lines and definitions, eliciting bewilderment, consternation, aesthetic pleasure and site-specific, physical engagement’ and ‘performs this feat by interweaving our built environment with nature’s chaos, setting in motion a dialogue, argument and narrative about the organic and the domestic. the permeability of oki’s tree wood installation is a magic trick of extraordinary elegance and simplicity that allows you to consider it as architecture and sculpture at the same time.’


the socrates sculpture park, in the astoria district of queens new york, is open all 365 days of the year and admission is free.



a detail of the 2×4 wooden studs that are a refinement of standard platform framing




the natural material of wood in its preserved and manufactured state



the ‘tree wood’ project grows into the surrounding grove



after-hours the ‘folly’ is illuminated by the chandelier


  • I am very happy that I got to build a treehouse as a boy and I appreciate the “follies” or temporary treehouses. Any treehouse that purports to be “permanent” seems nostalgic and sentimental and trying to relive a past which I don’t think is heathy… for people and at the expense of trees.

  • the very reason I don’t enter these competitions or show my work publicly too often is because the inflated comments by John Hatfield. Its an unfinished tree-house. its fun but lets not read too much into it. The thing i find that makes me think at all is how dangerous it is because it is built by a person so it has liability attached but then I think climbing a tree is dangerous as well and because it is not built it does not hold the same liability. The natural world is not responsible and I like that freedom.


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