senior center turned treehouse by benjamin verdonck senior center turned treehouse by benjamin verdonck
jun 18, 2012

senior center turned treehouse by benjamin verdonck

‘vogelenzangpark 17bis’ by benjamin verdonck, 2012 all images courtesy TRACK

antwerp-based theater director, writer and visual artist benjamin verdonck has developed the work ‘vogelenzangpark 17bis’ for art festival TRACK: a contemporary city conversation in ghent, belgium. his newest environmental intervention artwork draws a subtle connection between old and young in the context of a close, yet inaccessible treehouse next to a senior activities center. the artist brings to the public space a housing component, partially obscured from view as it is placed within the branches of a tree outside this gathering area. in vogelenzang park, the clubhouse for senior citizens, first built in the 1950’s, has now received a replica of one of the segments which comprise this building nestled just in front of this social housing structure. the almost-clone like building has been constructed at a ratio too small for human access and instead functions as an evocative work, imploring the viewer to combine facets of both his/her youthful and older realities, reflecting upon the notion of their current sense of self.

the small structure blends readily into the environment, mirroring the neighbooring buildings from its lofted position

a passer-by pauses to photograph the work

a detailed visualization of the treehouse exterior image via

a collection of images picturing the construction of the work

‘vogelenzangpark 17b (benjamin verdonck voor track)’ by maxim hectors

  • This feels a little like the artist is poking fun at these elder folks. I hope not. One way to avoid this possible interpretation is to create something that these residents can inhabit, if only briefly, that creates the experience of what it is like to have the experience of one’s youthful tree house?

    mstndvn says:
  • or maybe the work is a symbol for a revival of youthful vitality– in making their senior enter a treehouse, it could be equally representative of the feeling of the true building

    sarah v. says:
  • I love it! It is hard not to be elevated by it. I think it brings hope and playfulness to the beholder.
    I understand all the reasons why it cant be accessible (insurance, safety, handicap access) but I wish it could be, so the seniors could have the incredible experience of being up in a treehouse.

    barbara butler says:
  • oh those zany belgians… I can just see the seniors sliding out the door, and tumbling on the grass below. Clever way of reducing the elderly population who consume too much of the “entitlements” anyway….

    peen says:
  • they should just make a 200 foot accessible ramp to the door lol

    clk says:

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