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Growing Up

Growing Up proposes a forest school at Bowling Green, leveraging an opportunity to construct a new collective memory of and on the site by shifting the treatment of trees. The structure immerses school kids in the ecological: varying degrees of density among the trees gives rise to a range of microsystems and biodiversity, and kids participate in their care and become invested in their wellbeing.

The school is grown and constructed: cut material produced on site is processed into braces, trusses, and cordage, allowing branches to be directed or grafted where necessary. As Bowling Green was colonized 400 years ago, the structure is here rendered 400 years into the future. But no tree grows to a drawing. The structure asks for adaptability of form, depending on how the trees act; for material allocation, on what the trees provide; for curricula, on what the trees need: radical adaptability in the face of burgeoning climate crises.

The structure and New York City’s school kids grow up together. It becomes a site not only of new modes of treatment of urban nature but of generational knowledge and community, growing both intellectual and emotional connections for generations of New Yorkers.