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Design as Scholarship
Attending to Unbuilding:
The One Tree Project
Jesse Vogler, Ken Botnick, and Alisa Blatter
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This interdisciplinary design studio organized itself around the razing of an historic oak allée at Washington University in St. Louis, and used the imminent removal of forty-three 100-year-old oaks as a catalyst for project-based investigations into the greater cultural meaning of trees—and their loss. The One Tree Project took the territory of the tree as its classroom, with the oaks serving as site, subject, and platform for public research. Pedagogically, this project identifies attention and unbuilding as fundamental design competencies, and worked with a single tree—in our durational research and ritual felling—as a tool to participate in this transformation.

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