Tonic Design Tonic Construction

Tonic Design Tonic Construction is an award-winning modern design-build firm in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Gimme Shelter

Shelter_Wings proposes that an urban woodland shelter prototype can amplify the experience of site-specific natural phenomena. The shelters offer a model for sustainable design and construction practices that celebrate the poetic qualities of temporal natural forces.

It is a ‘habitable wall’ that acts as an armature for nature. Native vines are encouraged to grow on this structure, which is a simple metal mesh attached to the frame. The vines create shade and integrate the building with the site as it appears to grow from the earth. The planted walls celebrate native species, create habitat for insects and birds, and absorb rainwater. After consultation with the Land Restoration Center, a component of The Schuylkill Environmental Center we have selected Clematis Virginiana, a fast growing native vine. The growing walls celebrate a plant species that is not only native to the area, but grown at the site. The vines will offer the visitor a unique perspective of the growing cycles as the vines change with the seasons and flower in the summer months.

It combines off-site fabrication with on-site assembly. The shelter installation is conceived as a kit of parts that can be fabricated off-site and then assembled on site, minimizing site disturbance and maximizing material efficiency. The design team has had extensive experience with both design and construction and executing projects in a sensitive but also timely manner. The construction methods allow for the structure to remain temporarily as the competition proposal requested, but can remain longer if desired. The fabrication methods and ease of assembly and disassembly allow for the structure to be dismantled, relocated and reused.

It demonstrates that prototypes can adapt to particular site conditions. The shelter touches the ground at minimal points raised above grade to allow for water to continue flowing naturally on the site. The structure can adapt to site aspects such as view, orientation, sunlight and wind.

Semi-finalist Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
with David Hill, AIA