Tree Knots responds to a prompt for an event space on a tree farm in Newaygo County, Michigan. Nominally spaced four feet on center in rows six feet apart, Black Hill Pines and Blue Spruce trees outgrew their initial intention as a nursery for domestic landscaping and Christmas trees. Among the undergrowth, the project defines space through dematerialization and figuration. A rectangle and triangle of the same 30-60-90 primitive geometry arrange axially in relation to their shared symmetry, terminating an extended aisle, juxtaposed as formal and informal assemblies. Each figure is described through delineation of trimmed and knotted branches, a suspended canopy, and a floor of pine needles. Facilitated by trimming and pruning of growth at the knot between dead understory branches and the live wood trunk beneath the canopy, an inverted topiary takes shape. No trees where therefore extracted, only branches trimmed and removed.
Tree Knots exposes and immerses within the thicket, a cross section of knots, questioning conventional precepts of architecture and landscape as built construct. Ruminating the primitive, the project considers the institutional lines between building and landscape, idea and construct. Arising from the normative inflection of construction, the event space achieves full spatiality through excavation, maintaining a repetitive colonnade of trunks and a point clouds of suspended branches, akin to the archetypal hypostyle hall, catacombs — ambulacra and cryptae — pleached hedge, or arboreal bocage. Through its realization Tree Knots suggests that architecture as a primitive is first and foremost, a conceptual act; a spatial event.