If you've driven past Madison Sq Park (5th Ave @ 29th St) in a cab, you may have seen the cool tree houses, perched high in the trees and spread throughout the park. The huts were conceived by Japanese-born artist Tadashi Kawamata for Madison Sq Art, a project of the Madison Square Park Conservancy. Kawamata's installations, which he calls displacements, were installed in 2008 and extended indefinitely. I recently walked through the park and took some pictures.
Tree huts in particular are an emerging focus of Kawamata’s work; a crystallization of Kawamata’s interest in the architecture of shelter and of the insertion of private objects into public spaces as a method of renegotiating the meaning of both.I've become a big fan of his work, and he's been quite productive since creating a highly regarded installation piece for the 1982 Venice Biennial. He has since transformed public spaces around the world, including Versailles, with his trademark rustic wood and found objects.
What I've found most interesting about the tree huts is watching the project evolve with the seasons. Now in the winter months they seem to have a grandeur equal to the tall buildings surrounding the park, yet they adapt well within the trees.