If you have not yet visited Fortlandia, you still have time! The annual exhibition of secret hideouts at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center opened on October 8th and will run through Sunday, January 29th. The exhibit features five awesome custom forts in the Wildflower Center's Luci and Ian Family Garden, and a bonus installation along the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake, presented in partnership with The Trail Conservancy These forts will transport you to imaginary worlds and spark an appreciation for art and nature!
Cornerstone hosted an in-office fort design competition to select a design to submit for consideration in the exhibit. The winning design, Live Oak, went on to be formally selected as part of this year's Fortlandia exhibit!
Fort designers Shane Ennis, Sydney Riegel Kelly, and Kelsey Ratliff collaborated through sharing memories of play and imagination from each of their childhoods. From hidden spaces covered in vines, to historic covered bridges of Southeast Pennsylvania, and the Wildflower Center's iconic observation tower, their ideas inspired the design for Live Oak.
"We reviewed our sketch ideas and organically combined all three. Our final product resembled a sturdy tree trunk with sprawling roots…the perfect culmination for any nature-inspired Texas design!”
Live Oak encourages children (and adults!) to engage with their environment (both natural and man-made) by creating a fort that mimics forms found in the forests of central Texas; specifically the live oak. The fort acts as a gateway to the forest beyond by inviting children to break through the threshold of the treeline by climbing over blocks to a small observation deck closer to the canopy or crawling under the deck and through the structure to tunnels that connect to smaller satellite nodes placed strategically within the forest. Cornerstone partnered with Daniel Madera and the amazing team at Madera Custom Homes to bring the design to life. Using bamboo poles/slats, lumber and hemp rope, the fort is constructed to allow views through the structure via perforations helping it partially blend in with the forest beyond while maintaining a distinct form that draws attention.
Cornerstone Architects was honored to be a part of Fortlandia, this ever-popular and much-loved Austin event! Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center today and experience Live Oak and all of the other incredible forts before it's too late!