We love architecture because we love creativity, innovation, and imagination. We’ve bundled all three of these “loves” together to highlight something for you to share with those you love…the “Out On A Limb” architectural masterpiece of AIA Gold Medal winner Alan Metcalfe.
Perched high in the trees at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia is a child’s dream. A giant birds’ nest with Robin’s eggs both children and parents can sit on. A suspension bridge 50 feet above ground children can play on and run across. A rope-netting squirrel’s paradise skirting around towering trees where children can actually “go out on a limb”.
Created by Metcalfe Architecture & Design, this is a 450-foot, fully accessible (Grandparents are invited!) tree canopy walk. Arguably the most elaborate of tree canopy walks in North America, the design is not only fun and exciting, it is sustainable. “Metcalfe balanced perceived danger, actual safety, beautiful materials, and real trees to create a playful learning experience about the forest.” On their website they also mention all the awards they have received including:
~2010 AIA Philadelphia Design Excellence Gold Medal
~2010 AIA Pennsylvania Architectural Excellence Award
~2010 “Best of Philly” Award
~2010 American Association of Museums Excellence in Exhibition Design Award
Some other fun things to see and do at the Arboretum include:
• Dawn Redwood Grove – where you can measure the height of trees and study “living fossils” in a grove of some of the country’s oldest and largest redwoods.
• Oak Alle – children can measure the length of trees’ roots and learn how roots grow and how they benefit the trees.
• Springhouse – A pre-Victorian and Colonial refrigeration staple where you can analyze temperature changes, using thermometers placed in the shade, the sun, water, and underground.
• Log Cabin – Built in 1908, this structure illustrates how trees are necessary not only to animals, but to humans as well, to create homes and keep warm.
Everywhere you look you can find a new adventure to explore. This is a place where parents can play with their kids in the trees without having to build a treehouse in the backyard! It’s also a place where children can learn about nature, respect it, and also love it.
We hope you get to visit this marvel someday.
Your kids will thank you!
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