The Hollow Log and The Hollow Tree are reform llc’s submissions to Beam Camp 2016.

Beam Camp is a specialized, summer camp for building and collaboration in Strafford, New Hampshire. Beam Camp’s mission is to provide children with exciting experiences in creative problem-solving through active engagement in innovative thinking,  design/creative processes and physical fabrication and construction. Every year, Beam Camp solicits and selects proposals for unique, spectacular and large-scale projects through an international design competition. Winning projects serve as the centerpieces for each camp session, during which they are built and brought to life by 100 campers (ages 10 – 17), more than 20 staff and Beam Camp Project Masters (the winning designers).

The Hollow Log

If a tree falls in the forest, could it inspire the next generation of innovators, artists and leaders? reform, llc proposes to build an abstract, hollowed out tree that the children can climb under, climb on, climb into and climb through. The Hollow Log’s cross section changes continuously along its length, allowing for a variety of activities to unfold inside, on and around its form. As such it provides various spaces for active play, shaded spaces for rest and spaces or view through openings that reframe the surrounding forest, ground and sky; allowing its occupants to connect with their surroundings in new and imaginative ways.  The unique wood slat construction (made possible by digital fabrication technologies) allows for the form of the Hollow Log to almost disappear into the woods, only to reappear as one moves around as well.

There are no instructions for how the log is to be used, only an imagination is required to bring this discovery to life.

The Hollow Tree

If a mysterious tree grows in the forest, will children come from miles around, just to climb it? Like the Hollow Log, the Hollow Tree would be an abstracted, hollowed out tree that the children could climb and play within. While the Hollow Log would be on or parallel to the ground, the Hollow Tree would allow the children to climb high into the canopy through a series of steps and platforms. Ultimately, at the top of the tree would be space with an incredible framed view of the sky and a view out to the ponds and the rest of camp.

The Hollow Tree extends vertically into the woods. Children can climb ladders through a series of platforms up to the top level where a framed view of the woods and of the sky above. The undulating form of the tower is intended to be both playful and to allow the new tree to blend into the surrounding woods. To enter The Hollow Tree, one must crawl along the ground, but once inside, the space extends vertically up into the canopy where the occupants gain a new perspective of their surroundings. The slat surface of the tower provides alternating perceptions of translucency and opacity. Like the Hollow Log, the Hollow Tree would blend into the woods, almost disappearing from view.

Imagine the possibilities of stumbling upon a hollow tree in the woods. “Can we climb it? I wonder how tall it is? What do you think the view is like from up there? The rest of camp and all of the people look so small from up here. I can’t believe how close we are to the tree branches.”

And the tree was happy….