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IOTA and Rich Brothers Team One of 17 Selected for Artwalk


Minneapolis, MN (Jan. 31) – A tree-themed sculptural design created by IOTA, a Minneapolis based architecture and interior design firm, in partnership with Rich Brothers Construction, has been accepted as one of 17 entries in the “Arts ’n Trees Trail” juried artwalk, part of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s upcoming 2008 “Tree-ology” Summer Exhibition.

IOTA (Inland Office for Tomorrow’s Architecture) has named its installation design “Treehenge”. Like England’s famous Stonehenge monument, the design is composed of a mazelike collection of curving walls, benches and open spaces.

“We were fascinated by the proposition of expressing the inner workings and biology of a tree through the creation of a three-dimensional, habitable space,” explains IOTA project designers in their formal design submittal, “A typical cross-section of the trunk of a tree reveals concentric layers of cell types, each with a distinct and vital purpose. Translating each of these layers, the bark, cambium and heartwood, for example, into walls, hallways, benches results in both a mazelike structure for play and a central gathering place for storytelling. We were also curious about what we could build using only a single tree harvested at the end of its natural life.”

All the “Arts ’n Trees Trail” sculptures will be installed in May for official opening on May 24. The tree-shaded artwalk will meander through the Arboretum grounds, providing a fresh look at the towering wonder and quiet power of trees in today’s world.

“We’re very excited about this exhibition,” says Peter J. Olin, Arboretum director. “Trees are the heart of our work here at the Arboretum; you won’t want to miss this fresh, exciting look at these unique living beings that outlive and outgrow us.”

The Tree-ology exhibition is the cornerstone of a year of celebrations – including the Arboretum’s 50th anniversary year and the 100th anniversary of the University of Minnesota’s Horticultural Research Center.

The “Arts ’n Trees” design jury included: Roger Martin, University of Minnesota professor of landscape architecture; Stuart Turnquist of theMinneapolis Instititute of Arts; Jeanne Kosfeld of the Ordway Center for the Arts; Dale Bachman, president of Bachman’s; and Sandy Tanck, manager of interpretations and public programs at the Arboretum.

Other components of the “Tree-ology” exhibition include: a Tree Discovery Zone consisting of interpretive stations on various tree-related topics; “Grown Home,” an open-air rustic retreat formed of river birch branches with “growing furniture”; and a “Tree-mendous Trees” hall of fame. The exhibition continues through Oct. 12.

IOTA (Inland Office for Tomorrow’s Architecture) is a Minneapolis based design firm that provides architecture, interior design and master planning services. As a small company, IOTA’s principals work directly with client’s and user groups, and maintain a hands-on approach through every phase of design and construction.

Rich Bros Construction is an award winning Full Service construction firm with a concentration on Restaurant, Hospitality and Retail projects in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan market.


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