#LifeatStewart / One-of-a-Kind Project Brings Out the Kid in Designers

November 20th / 2015

One-of-a-Kind Project Brings Out the Kid in Designers

All you have to do is see a picture of the newly-opened Hideaway Woods at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham and you can imagine excited running, laughing, splashing and more fun than can be squeezed into an afternoon.

And the kids will probably enjoy it too.

Hideaway Woods is an outdoor play area featuring eight interconnected tree houses, a recreated woodland stream, woven branch sculpture by local North Carolina artist Patrick Dougherty, and giant tree stumps that invite visitors to wander through the possibilities of imaginary adventures.

In continuing our string of unique projects at the museum, Stewart engineers provided geotechnical engineering and construction inspections on the tree houses, and structural engineering for the tree stump play area.

Don Brown, Manager of Construction Services, said the biggest challenge was that the tree houses actually relied on the existing forest for structural support, with a few man-made supplemental supports, so the plans were not exactly what he’s used to working on. As Don put it, “Such specialized construction meant we really had to understand the construction documents to verify proper assembly.”

The structural team got in on the fun as well, designing foundations for three different tree stumps that serve as artwork for the new Hideaway Woods project and inspire imaginative play concepts with the treehouses. They also designed the main boardwalk connection to the first treehouse.

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