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KSS unveils Metasequoia at UPenn.

J. Shermeta of KSS Architects has designed the viewing structure for the University of Pennsylvania's new meta Metasequoia exhibit at the Morris Arboretum in collaboration with artists John McQueen and Margo Mensing and structural engineer Tom Langan of Schoor DePalma Engineers. The Arboretum is located at 100 Northwestern Avenue in Chestnut Hill, PA.

Located along the East Brook in the Arboretum's Madeleine K. Butcher Sculpture Garden, the viewing structure is the latest addition to the Morris Arboretum experience. A stairway brings visitors into the Arboretum's spectacular grove of Dawn Redwood trees via an installation called meta Metasequoia. Once aloft, a viewing basket provides an open-air room, allowing visitors to linger within the branches and experience nature first hand.

The art installation by John McQueen and Margo Mensing highlights the qualities of the Dawn Redwood trees through multiple media. The artists conceived of a viewing structure to bring visitors into direct contact with the trees. A sound piece with narration and music provides visitors with historical and botanical insight into the Metasequoia trees. Additionally a link from the Morris website, created by Matthew Belsky, provides abundant information on the location of Metasequoias planted before 1976 in arboretums around the U.S.

"The goal is to encourage participation with nature, not merely display an object sitting in the grass," said John McQueen.

Adds J. Shermeta, "This is a truly unique design and a project that I am proud to be a part of. Nicknamed 'the grasshopper,' the structure appears to be pausing in meditation at the foot of the trees. The intertwining of design elements and nature in this grove creates a serene experience reminiscent of childhood escapes."

Opening day of the exhibit will include tree measuring activities and the planting of dawn redwood seedlings, which visitors can also take home with them. The Morris Arboretum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Morris Arboretum is a 92-acre horticulture display garden featuring a spectacular collection of mature trees in a Victorian landscape. The Arboretum features numerous picturesque spots such as the formal rose garden, Japanese gardens, swan pond, meadows, and the elegant Fernery. The Morris Arboretum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
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Title Annotation:KSS Architects , University of Pennsylvania
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 10, 2006
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