Garvan Woodland Gardens Children's Educational Tree House

hot springs, arkansas

Nestled in a natural Ouachita Mountain hillside along Lake Hamilton at the Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the Evans Children’s Adventure Garden will soon welcome a new tree house to the grounds. The tree house is proposed as the first of three within the garden that will provide an interactive educational experience for visiting children. Part of an ambitious plan to bring children back into the woods, the tree house uses a rich visual and tactile environment to stimulate the mind and body, while accommodating the needs of all users.

Garvan Woodland Gardens partnered with modus to develop this unique structure that playfully interprets important aspects of the surrounding Ouachita Forest for visitors. Our tree house floats in a small group of pines and oaks, bending easily between them. The theme of dendrology, the study of trees and wooded plants, drives both the form and program of the structure. As we often ask new viewers of the design: What do you see in the trees?

The tree house’s wooden screen follows this pattern by creating varying levels of transparency that allow parents to monitor their kids during play, without detracting from the mystery and adventure of the structure. The evocative form is dynamic, offering multiple points of entry, various interior levels and a menagerie of unique spaces for children and adults alike that refocus your attention to the natural wonders of the forest canopy.

Typology Civic + Educational
location Hot Springs, Arkansas
completed in progress
photography modus studio