Benjamin Verdonck’s latest art work takes to the trees—literally—with an incredible sculptural tree house dubbed Vogelenzangpark 17bis. Made for the art festival TRACK: A Contemporary City Conversion, the innovative, playful tree house sits high up in the boughs of the trees, where it serves as an architectural miniature of the old folks home behind it.
Located in Ghent, Beligum, Verdonck’s piece hangs askew around the thick trunk of an old tree. From afar the tree house’s roof is partially hidden from view, by the tree’s lush leaves and branches. Peeking through the lower leaves on a small hill, Verdonck created a faux-cement foundation that tilts toward the viewer. The façade is clad in faux-brick, a large front window, paned glass door and even a mail slot.
Behind the treehouse stands the original portion of the senior citizen center, the senior club house for socializing. This complex was built in the 1950s, and is typical of mid-Century architecture, with its brick, ranch style rooms and overhanging eaves.
Verdonck’s installation is at first a carbon copy tree house, an extension of its architectural host. But after walking around the complex, viewers begin to make more than just a visual correlation between the two structures, evoking the cyclical relation between youth and aging. Most visitors are too young to play in a tree house, but not yet old enough to relate to the senior citizens in assisted living on the grounds.
The tree house is on display as part of the TRACK festival, which runs until September 16.