2022 – Is Thomas Heatherwick’s Treehouse Hill the new marble arch hill? | Thomas Hedwick

WThe chicken is a tree, not a tree? If it’s a tree of trees, it’s a 21-meter steel storage rack with seedlings designed by Thomas Heatherwick. The designer’s misuse of natural metaphors now looms over the street corner in front of Buckingham Palace, where a “trunk” of spiraling brown steel tubes rises spiraling to support massive steel “branches” that support dozens of small windswept trees in aluminum pots.

It is meant to be a ceremonial symbol of The Queen Green Canopy (QGC), a statewide tree-planting initiative in honor of the platinum anniversary, which Heatherwick describes as “an amazing community campaign that is transforming our nation’s landscape.” After this weekend’s festivities, 350 trees native to Britain – from silver birch and rowan to pine, hornbeam and hazel – will be given “gifted to select community groups” in hopes of inspiring a new generation of tree growers.

As some on Twitter have pointed out, the result doesn’t quite do it justice Heatherwick’s Fairy Tale Promise, who saw his vision depicted with the usual rustic charm of the dark-eyed Gainsborough landscape. Instead, the end result was a dense cloud of steel rather than a lush green canopy, posing with a heavily repaired structure reminiscent of a hastily camouflaged cell tower. Maybe the Queen will get the ultra-fast 5G broadband as an extra souvenir?

It is yet another example of the recent obsession among some architects and designers to evoke a cartoonish version of nature, hanging shrubs and trees balanced in such a way that the plants seem unhappy to be there. It comes right after the disastrous disaster of the Marble Arch Mound, a £6m pile of scaffolding, meager seedlings and withered grass that may have helped topple the local council. It turned out to be the actual mound where the leadership of the Conservative Party died in the city of Westminster, according to the Labor Party, which took control of the council for the first time since its inception.

Heatherwick herself has become the valiant poster for the current frenzy of tree craze. 1,000 trees have perched on tall concrete poles in hopes of making China’s rag-tag shopping center look like a green mountain. Little Island Park in Manhattan has enclosed a forest of trees in a thick concrete deck, whose narrow root balls have been weighted with huge anchors to prevent them from blowing into the Hudson River. He even incorporated his trademark plant pots on sticks into a collection of office furniture. When in doubt, the studio logo seems to work – just mask the design with green trim. A well-placed tree can cover a variety of sins. However, the thin veil of foliage failed to make up for Heatherwick’s cursed Garden Bridge, the only pastoral dream that survived – albeit not before it swallowed up ┬ú43 million in public money. If there was still any doubt, the Tree of Thrones provides stark evidence that London dodged a bullet by demolishing the bridge.

But Her Majesty’s Great Steel Tree Stand is not just an aesthetic disappointment, a gross misuse of carbon-hungry steel and aluminum and the mistreatment of 350 seedlings, with all the attendant transportation emissions and irrigation costs. As the Guardian reported this week, activists say QGC is sponsored by several major companies associated with deforestation, including McDonald’s, Coats Bank and energy company Drax.

Luisa Casson, Director of Forestry at Greenpeace UK, said: ÔÇťUnfortunately, the number of trees that can be planted through this scheme is a tiny fraction of the number that the project sponsors have helped destroy. It is an insult to the volunteers involved for using their efforts to whitewash the companies that are driving deforestation. all over the world “.

In response, McDonald’s said it is committed to eliminating deforestation from its global supply chains; NatWest Group, which owns Coutts, said it has identified biodiversity and wildlife loss as emerging risks to the bank; While Drax has denied links to deforestation, saying that much of the wood they use for fuel is waste. A spokesperson for the tree-planting program said: “Each company generously supporting the Quality Assurance Authority has committed to challenging and challenging goals in both deforestation and biodiversity.”

Activists also noted that the royal family’s lands are relatively treeless. The Duchy of Cornwall, owned by Prince Charles, has only 6% of tree cover compared to 16% in the UK as a whole. Balmoral, the Queen’s estate in Scotland, contains large tracts of grouse with only small portions of woodland remaining on the grounds that were once covered in woodland. They argue that a short wave of cheerful tree planting will do little to offset decades of abuse.

The true Peak of Trees has yet to come on Thursday night, as it will play a major role in the jubilee bonfire tragedy. That might be a fitting climax when Heatherwick’s giant steel hull turns out to be a multi-armed flamethrower, just like the 2012 Olympic cauldron, which fires flares from its branches to ignite the royal flames. A skeleton of burning saplings hanging in front of the palace would be a fitting monument to our time.