BBG Opens Tree House Installation: Sandy Remix

Master Tree House Builder Roderick Romero’s First Work in a Public Garden Opens Tomorrow

Release Date: 04/05/2013

Brooklyn, NY—Sandy Remix, a specially commissioned tree house, opens to the public at Brooklyn Botanic Garden tomorrow after a four-week installation. With the exception of the screws holding it together, the interactive sculpture is constructed entirely of salvaged natural material from the Garden, including wood from dozens of trees felled by Hurricanes Sandy and Irene to create both the structural beams and decorative elements.

Nestled between a majestic Caucasian wingnut tree and Bluebell Wood, the nestlike structure stands five feet off the ground and offers approximately 200 square feet of space to serve as a viewing point, resting spot, and open-air classroom. Artist Roderick Romero worked closely with BBG’s arborists and John Duvall, owner of the milling company Local Sawyer, to prepare the wood of over a dozen kinds of trees—including pin oak, black walnut, Persian ironwood, persimmon, willow, and Japanese flowering cherry—lost to the storms of 2011 and 2012.

“We actively sought ways to give trees the Garden lost to Sandy and Irene a second life in a way that our visitors could experience hands-on,” said Scot Medbury, president of BBG. “The tree house embodies some of BBG’s key qualities: sustainability, beauty, and a deep connection to New York.” When viewed from above, Sandy Remix appears to swirl like the eye of a hurricane, with the tree materials curling up in a twisted motion around the central platform. Romero used wood of contrasting hues to entwine the storm imagery with that of enduring nature, cladding the tree house’s exterior in dark wood and the interior in lighter shades to evoke the natural color composition of a tree.

s to evoke the natural color composition of a tree.

Gary Hattem, president of the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, which provided lead sponsorship for Sandy Remix, said “We are delighted to support a project that is not only artful and original, but offers an interactive experience for so many. Sandy Remix is also inspiring in its creative repurposing of storm-ravaged trees, and we commend Brooklyn Botanic Garden for finding a way to grow a positive opportunity from such a difficult moment for New York City.” Volunteers from Deutsche Bank worked with Roderick Romero for two days to help build the tree house, weaving woody material from Natural History, the Garden’s previous on-site sculpture by Patrick Dougherty, into its exterior cladding.

Throughout the year, the installation will inspire workshops and programs for children and adults; for more information, visit

Sandy Remix is free to all visitors with Garden admission. All are encouraged to share stories and photos of their experiences on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the hashtag #brooklynbotanic.

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