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$1,990 pledged of $5,000 goal
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By Jake Rudin
$1,990 pledged of $5,000 goal
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About this project

Let's build a Treehouse at Cornell

This project isn't just a treehouse, it's an ever-changing reminder of the relationship between humans and trees.

It just so happens that Cornell Outdoor Education has one of the foremost tree climbing programs in the world! As a tree climbing instructor for almost 5 years, I can attest to the incredible effort that goes into teaching hundreds of students per year how to climb in the beautiful forests of Ithaca, NY. We also run expeditions to Costa Rica and even the Giant Sequoias.

The Treehouse will be sited on Mount Pleasant, Ithaca's highest point overlooking the university. This would give both students and community members the chance to experience the sensation of being amongst the leaves in the top of a beautiful 208-year-old Red Oak. 

The Treehouse is a rare opportunity to focus architecture on the mediation between two living organisms: Humans & Trees. There is an incredible feeling when one arrives at a treehouse. Treehouse patrons can attest to the primal, childlike wonder of escaping into the trees. Everyone should experience the world from the canopy at least once. 

Meet the Trees

Say hello to Daisy and Maggie. Daisy is a 208-year-old Red Oak, who started growing the same year apple cider was invented. Maggie, standing only twelve feet away, is a strong Ash Tree with just under 180 years under her belt. She started growing the same year Darwin went to meet the finches.

Daisy (left) & Maggie (right)
Daisy (left) & Maggie (right)

Where Will the Money Go?

Materials. Plain and simple. As a student I feel that the work I'm doing benefits my education as well as the community, therefore all labor on the project will be unpaid. 

All the money goes to building the treehouse.

 

What has been done so far?

The short answer is: a lot! The link will take you to a more detailed account of the design process, but I'll do my best to summarize here. 

Construction Test
Construction Test

The project began as a passion when I started at Cornell 5 years ago as an architecture student. Now in my final year, this project is a culmination of my experiences working with Cornell Outdoor Education and my studies in the fantastic College of Architecture, Art and Planning.

Now after a running start the project is nearing a final design, but it took the following steps to get there:

  • Pick the site (Mt. Pleasant where COE owns a large plot of land)
  • Pick the trees (healthy, big, and great for climbing)
  • Take Core Samples
  • Measure and digitally model the trees in 3D
  • Research the types of trees
  • Examine movement and growth diagrams
  • Determine form
  • Derive structure
  • Pick a material palate
  • Cost analysis

... and last but not least: FUNDING!!!

The Final Treehouse Design
The Final Treehouse Design
How the Canvas System Reacts to a Climber
How the Canvas System Reacts to a Climber

How Kickstarter Works

Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing crowdfunding platform. If you decide to become a backer, your payment will only go through if the project reaches its stated goal of $5000 by the April 29th deadline. If the project doesn't reach its goal, no credit cards will be charged, and you, as a backer, lose nothing for having invested. If the project does reach its goal, the funding goes through and your selected level of reward will be shipped to you by the time indicated.

Thank You!

Backers are the heart and soul of Kickstarter, it's people like you who make these incredible projects come to life. Thank you for taking the time to consider The Treehouse at Cornell and I hope you decide to back us!

For More Tree Climbing Excitement:

This is a short form documentary about some of the work we do in the Giant Sequoias. Be sure to check it out!

Risks and challenges

There are many risks inherent in any "built" project. However, with a steady stream of professionals and advisors helping to check the coherence of the design, the plan for construction, the structural integrity, etc. the factor of safety is incredibly high. This project coincides with my undergraduate thesis and my professors and advisors have countless combined years of designing and constructing projects at many different scales.

To eliminate any surprises in cost, material availability, or methods of construction, a small mock-up portion of the treehouse has already been built and hauled into place in the tree. This has given a great deal of insight into ways to improve the project and cut down on cost while improving safety. To account for any delays, a large portion of time has been blocked out after the initial construction deadline to ensure the project meets it final goal.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    OUR SINCERE THANKS -- Every backer who donates will be included in a special "Sponsor Section" of the final publication of the project and will receive updates of the project as it progresses.

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    POSTCARD -- Each person who gives $10 or more will receive a postcard with a photo of the Treehouse with a special thank you.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    PHOTO PRINT -- Your favorite image from a selection of drawings, photos, renderings, and posters will be printed in high quality on an 8x10 and shipped to your door.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    NEIGHBORLY THANKS -- Take home a piece of a nearby fallen tree with a laser engraved note of thanks and The Treehouse at Cornell logo. A piece of Cornell forest can live on your mantle to remind you of your generosity.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    COPY OF THE BOOK -- A copy of "Ascension & Suspension," the final publication with photos of the process, drawings and diagrams of how the design came to be.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    MAKE YOUR MARK -- Your name or the name of your group will be engraved onto one of the beautiful locust floor boards as a permanent reminder of your generosity.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    SUPPORT STRUCTURE -- Your name or the name of your group will be engraved onto one of the large support branches or the structure. You are truly helping this project to hold together.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    DAY CLIMB -- You and a friend will receive transport from anywhere in Ithaca out to Mt. Pleasant where you will get a tree climbing lesson to help you ascend into the treehouse over 35' above the forest floor.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    PRIVATE CLIMBING LESSONS -- You and a friend will get to spend the weekend in Ithaca, NY climbing in style with a chance to see the finished treehouse up close and in person. Gear and local transportation included.

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    Pledge $3,500 or more About $3,500

    THE "YOU" TREEHOUSE AT CORNELL --
    The Treehouse at Cornell will officially be named in honor of you or a person/organization of your choosing. This is your chance to have a permanent structure at Cornell University named in your honor.

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Funding period

- (19 days)