If you state ‘I am home,’ it has a lot of different meanings at a lot of different scales. It may be where you were born, it may be where you live, it may be the people you are amongst. So it is something that is deeply personal. It’s about place, it’s about material, and it’s about people.”
As New York-based firm LEVENBETTS discovered, home is an assortment of emotions, events, and life-changing moments. It is a collection of memories. It provides opportunities for connection between people and their environments. These relationships are most successful if they are carefully balanced with the needs of our forests and local ecology.
When these relationships are not considered, single-family lots become the norm, and houses dominate the landscape.
LEVENBETTS addresses the idea of sustainable urbanization with their structure, where homes create deep connections to the ecology and geography that define us and our community.
“Tree is a leaf and leaf is a tree —
house is a city and city is a house —
a tress is a tree but it is also a huge leaf —
a leaf is a leag, but it is also a tiny leaf —
a city is not a city unless it is also a huge house—a house is a house only if it is also a tiny city”
To answer this question, LEVENBETTS first considered the many scales of home, from the planetary to the regional and the domestic.
Focusing on the regional aspect allowed them to explore the history, demographics, and environmental systems of Northwest Arkansas and how those systems have evolved over time.
They also discovered that current trends in land use, where new homes dominate small, urban lots and sweeping, single-family housing developments creep into rural areas, create a disconnection between existing ecological systems and the people who use them.
Interestingly, family and friends ranked as the most important element of home while creating connections to nature ranked a close second.
I remember Solitude and peace
quiet and centered
Loud and excited
Noise and rambles
I remember unhurried we gather
around the kitchen table
A window that opens to
the sloping meadow
I remember that July 2
Was a day of traveling
In a metal bird at cruising
speed and altitude
I remember the smells,
Taste and feels of farm life
I worked alongside
all family and friends.
I remember standing on
tip toes to see out the window
The backyard, clothesline and clothespins!
Lilac bushes lilies of the valley
I remember Home on the rach,
Yet when hair bands rolled
Parachute pants came and went and
Video games replaced the outdoors
I remember creating
the space she would
Always call home
Between the pages of the book
I remember mom and I
We hurtle down the mountain
On the verge of losing control
Can we stay here forever
Ensconced in this warm glow?
I remember in my childhood of Shady Lane
My mom would bake the bread
My dad sisters and I
Enjoyed the smell of delicious bread
I remember we sip our lattes
And count to 21
Laughing as we play
I remember back in the early 90’s
My parents built a second living room
A window into the kitchen
My mom would watch us
I remember from the morning milk
As a child to sharing a cup of tea
With family as an adult
Those rainy window corners
I remember coming home
2 weeks gone but
Months were lost
My body hurt
I remember in the nook
Behind the kitchen
Drink coffee and smoke
I remember garden sweet
Snap cooing cows
I remember this is peace
This is comforts
Here all is well cozy
I remember there were many people
Who worked with my dad
Who did the work to turn
The materials into a home
Working closely with skilled fabricators, LEVENBETTS incorporated detailed angles and intricate methods of joinery to create a dynamic, welcoming structure with space to create new memories of home.
This all-wood structure dances among the trees and compliments the contours of the land.
To ensure a smooth installation at Crystal Bridges, a local fabricator, Rift Customs, put the entire structure together off-site prior to installation at its final destination.
Resource Management Service (RMS) | Arkansas Forestry Association | Anthony Timberlands | Canfor/Anthony Forest Products | Maverick Transportation | Project Learning Tree (PLT) | Rift Customs | Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) | Weyerhaeuser.
LEVENBETTS is a New York City architecture practice focusing on open architecture, where design for both domestic space and equitable cities is intended to be informal, open to alternative ways of living, and committed to connecting with nature to promote health and wellbeing.
Emerging from house of trees : city of trees is a new LEVENBETTS sub-entity called tank whose mission of equitable, eco-friendly architecture connects the ways we build cities and houses with stewardship of the land and care for one another.
tank is led by Stella Betts and David Leven, founders of LEVENBETTS, with Jen Shin, director of tank.
Explore the Architecture at Home virtual reality tour. Walk along the trail, view each structure in-depth, and read interpretation labels. Simply click the play button to get started.
In the lower left hand corner, click the second icon for "View Floor Plan" to see a map of the structures. Click the first icon to return to exploring the 3D space.