The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center held a design competition for ten forts to be exhibited in their arboretum from September 2018 to February 2019. Our Blanket Fortdesign was awarded one of the coveted Fortlandia spots.
Our fort ended up in a different site than in our design proposal, tucked under a canopy with each tent narrowly missing each branch, as if the fort and tree grew together. We were thrilled that a) our design actually fit under there! and b) it felt intentionally nestled.
The three tents converge on a faceted light well. The aperture allows for light to come in, as well as create stark contrast from what light the tarps let in, bringing the user's eyes up and out into the canopy above. As you enter the fort, there is a choice about how to exit; users can run out one side, run behind the fort, and enter back in the third tent. Each tent frames a view of the site: back towards the path, an opening behind the fort, and dense understory plantings.
We have two daughters who love to make forts in our home with blankets, as those are the most easily accessible large-scale building materials. They love to get nestled in a safe, dark space and pretend or hide in their new world. Even though we're parents now, we still have strong memories of doing the same thing, looking for solitude. Being in our Blanket Fort feels like being in a sacred space — like a cathedral — allowing for the user to reflect on themselves in a moment of respite, ensconced in darkness, with framed moments of brightness.