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1900 S. Halsted St., Chicago , IL  60608


Artists and Craftsmen, Oldrich Pancocha and Pawel Cichowski, work in the medium of organic architecture; their tools - chainsaw and rake.

As carpenters and craftsmen working in a creative community organically grown over fifty years, the decision to remove a tree is not taken lightly. Alas, access to the rear of a building requiring a stair replacement forced a subject that many urban dwellers fear: the loss of a tree. That necessary act became the inspiration to somehow keep the tree as part of the community, and the concept for Grove was born.

The tree would not just be felled, it would be deconstructed and then reconstructed as a site-specific installation. The site: a retail storefront, fourteen feet high, twenty feet wide, and thirty-five feet deep. The tree: approximately sixty feet in height, with a canopy of roughly thirty feet.

All elements from the installation came from this one tree. The artists used a lift to gain access to the upper portions. Working at a height of approximately forty feet, each cut was carefully considered so that the end result was five full size "trees", rather than the many "branches" generally created by a tree being felled. After much deliberation the first cut was made, producing the perfect result - a full size tree of approximately fourteen feet in height with a canopy of approximately seven feet.

This perfection inspired the next steps in the site-specific installation, and the organic architecture of the tree was used to create a Grove growing inside a space. The juxtaposition of nature's architecture against the manmade form posed an unexpected change in relationship with the interior space. The artists were then inspired to continue the act of creating space, and the Grove took shape as a circular ceremonial space. Trees trunks provide defined space or walls, and the canopy provides a sense of protected space inside the larger built space.

As the cutting and felling of the tree continued, the artists were inspired by leaves drifting to the ground and decided to further develop the idea of sacred or protected space by giving it a carpet of leaves, the smell and the delicate blanket offering that sense of peace found when in a forest in fall.

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