tree house #3

here’s a last few shots of the tree house, first from these hands.

it’s getting stained a charcoal color… so i’ll update that when i get a photo.


the fisheye grabs the whole thing pretty well:


this small project has rejuvenated a hope to build something more significant in the trees, like a home.  a small home.

once the bearing is established in the tree, the project is basically a residential construction project, just without a foundation…

a foundation in roots.  i’m going to begin drawing soon.

what do you think?

NYC dreamscape

i’m entering the second half of my 31st year…

i’ve been beginning to evaluate my life in a new way: goals, career, life, love, body, health and spirit in a new way.  i’ve just spent a frantic two weeks getting work done.  something woke me up very early this morning (early for me: 4:30 a.m.)… i lay there for a while wondering why i couldn’t sleep, and realized there is a lot of unsettled business in my mind, much of which revolves around the question of how do i accomplish what i need to, how do i share what needs to be shared, love who needs to be loved, heal what needs to be healed and get where i need to go.  we are all going somewhere; the question is whether we get there, whether we’re going towards the right place, and what do we make of the trip?  one thing that occured to me this morning is that i often don’t share, or tell my story, because i’m afraid it isn’t interesting enough; that is, i don’t take a personal interest in it MYSELF.  or somehow, i’m ashamed of not getting done what i set out to do.  the failure to reach Q.E.D.

quod erat demonstrandum (that famous repeated line of Euclid, et al)–

“which was to be shown”… it has that basic sense of : “there: that’s what i said i was going to do.”  if you think about this task, setting a goal for yourself (this is what i’m going to do), speaking it somehow, just as a statement of intention… there is a power there.  similarly, i think there may be kind of a curse to NOT accomplishing what you set out to accomplish (which means, somehow, that you did not take the necessary steps towards getting done what you want to get done)… and/or perhaps that what you want to get done doesn’t even actually correspond with reality.

recently i went to new york city for a month.  i got an apartment there and at first thought set an intention of writing a screen play.  as the time neared to leave, i realized that i had so much other stuff going, that was as yet unfinished, it felt reckless to begin another thing… so i decided to work more on some ideas i had already started.  the main gist of these ideas is spacial design.  or: response to current human needs for good design of space, form and function.  specifically two ideas:

NUMBER ONE: a current crisis of density.  we are going to need to be living closer to one another, in much better buildings, and much smaller buildings.  there is some very exciting potential there.  i’ve begun work on it here:

NUMBER TWO: a dynamic offering, one that draws a radius around fixed buildings.  that is, a service that specializes in lightweight, rapidly depolyable buildings.  i became somewhat fixated on the work of shigeruban, in particular, his work with paper tubes:

in which he does, precursorily, explore the idea of emergency relief sturcture:


if you notice, he begins that commentary with, “…more than 2 million people” were displace in Rwanda.. in 1994 during their civil war… and he designed and delivered 50 lightweight, paper tube structures.  i was not critical of this.  i was inspired actually.  the potential for building systems out of a material like this, which is easy to fabricate all over the world, and very cheap, and combining the system with higher functioning membranes and energy systems.  this is what i spent a majority of time in new york city doing: researching the potential for combining a high horsepower membrane that has PV capability, not only with a low-tech, high design solution such as paper tubes… but with a new way of storing the made energy, such as compressed air, potentially even in collapsible bladders:

or in the form of molten salt:

there are several other ideas in there… and i began an aggressive business plan… which in part is posted here:

so; so.  i woke up this morning, early (now about 1.5 hours ago)… and i think part of my restlessness is this large, looming, unfinished character in my mind.  not only all of NUMBER 2 there, but the fact that my mind is doing this… it doesn’t necessarily bother me, it’s just that i need to know what to do with it, where to go.  that is partially why i went to new york, and what i set out to do… has not been done:

non quod erat demonstrandum…

i can show you some of what has been done, however:

upon my return from NYC, i had so much anxious energy stored up, that, first, i just did this, in a week:


it’s a double sliding gate for my little house in portland… one side allows ingress of an automobile, if you’re so inclined, and the other (on the reverse side), that of a person.  it all lines up:


i realized, in making the doors, sheathed on all sides with exteriror grade ply, that i was making torsion boxes.  the strength of each panel is remarkable…  when i had finished the larger door, it was so heavy, that we’d had to lay it out on the hill right there in front of the installation, it was not totally plumb… so i undid the screw pattern on both sides of it and racked it into position, then re-screwed it in that formation… i was astounded at how well it took new form in plumb position, straight as an arrow.

ok.  then, in another week: i did both these things:

this fency thing:


and this:


in the place where i used to play in the trees…


in navigating this terrain of non quod erat demonstrandum… i am realizing that i do get things done.  it’s just a matter of setting the right scale of activity to the proposed action.

this morning, thinking back on my trip to NYC, and reflecting on what got done… i realized that i’d been inspired there: inspired to bring its speed and vitality back to Portland, and to work on what i need to work on at my home, at my level and get it out.  a quick trip through my recent dream in NYC…


all to say that i did wander about in the city, looking at forms, functions, locale…

inspired by this design quotation:


if you analyse the function of an object, its form often becomes obvious,

by Prof. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche.


i guess that’s where we end this early morning rant.  with function.  the function of minds making things.  shall we keep on keeping on?

what’s your take?

tree house #2

day one was a little rough until i had a helper arrive:


i would say the most challenging thing was getting the boards onto the the through-bolts i had prepared, by myself, and making them level.  when my trusty apprentice arrived, it all got a little easier, in a way.  we ended up having a pretty magical meal up there, delivered by our handy pully system.


you saw the progress after day two.  and we ended here today, after a solid 36 hours into this thing:


it was pretty amazing to see this come together, in a place where i’d played as a child, picking these:


and looking out over an ever maturing garden


my days as a son have been for the most part pretty wonderful.  i’m going to leave the blog today with thousands of words (stored as photos) and few words.


ciao for now.

tree house #1

i arrived at the site of the first tree house for benshook studio… a few days ago.  it has been an incredible journey through the imagination, traversing the potential designs (given this particular configuration) for a tree house here:


i eventually arrived at a somewhat good point of departure, for phase one of this project, which will be a redwood platform with a railing, some rigging systems, a ladder, and happy little boy.  phase two will branch into some corporate offices for Nike executives.  that will occur near the end of the summer.  here’s the cheers we made YESTERDAY.


that’s my nephew, cadan.  we had a nice dinner up there on the first impromptu platform with the first pulley system.


and, by the end of today (day 2), we had come up with this:


a bad iphone photo.

near the end of the day, totally exhausted, and somewhat blissed out by the existentially difficult work of framing without any connection to the earth, i was about to begin that beautiful spiral into pride and self-adulation… when i realized i was building this very simple thing IN TREES, that is, in structures infinitely more complex and beautiful than anything i make… and i knew suddenly why [god rested on the seventh day] and why it is so silly for humans to make such a big deal out of things that are comparably insignificant… in another context.

that’s all i’ve got for today.