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Wild Walk in Tupper Lake, New York by Linearscape Architecture, PLLC
September 29th, 2015 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Linearscape Architecture, PLLC
Wild Walk is an interactive nature walk at the Wild Center, a non-profit organization and nature center committed to helping people explore and learn about the natural environment of the Adirondacks. Built in the forest, Wild Walk is designed as an elevated trail of bridges that creates a learning landscape; bringing visitors up into the treetops to offer a new perspective of the forest. The project consists of a series of platforms connected by bridges that start at grade level and gradually bring people 40 ft. above grade to look out over the surrounding woodlands. The platforms are supported by Corten steel posts designed to be an abstraction of the surrounding white pine trees. Wild Walk is almost fully accessible, family oriented and includes a four-story twig tree house, swinging bridges, a spider’s web for shared play hovering 24 ft. off the ground and many opportunities to sit, observe and learn about the forest below. The walk culminates in a life-sized bald eagle’s nest at the highest point that visitors can inhabit.
The Adirondacks Park Agency required that Wild Walk blend into the forest as much as possible and that it be minimally seen from the surrounding mountain peaks. Corten steel is the prominent material because it is durable and its changing color palette blends seamlessly into the forest. Galvanized steel was used where the use of Corten was cost prohibitive. The project was funded by the state and individual donations so the budget was strict and had to be maintained. The designers, fabricators and builders worked collaboratively throughout the design and construction process to ensure the budget would be met.
Wild Walk was realized as a design build project since the construction season in the Adirondacks is short and time was crucial. Given the complexity of the geometries the entire project, including all of the steel components, was modeled digitally in 3D. The digital model was given to the contractor who then prefabricated many of the components, including all of the bridges, in the shop prior to the construction season. In order to disturb the site as minimally as possible a lot of attention was paid to how the prefabricated parts could be brought on- site without harming the existing landscape. Any new landscaping consists entirely of native plantings. The project opened on July 4, 2015.
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