“Daydreams” Schoolhouse is an architectural/sculptural installment in Tippet Rise, an outdoor Art Center sprawling over thousands of acres of Montana planes, and was designed and constructed by artist Patrick Dougherty and CTA Architects Engineers.

A gnarled, twisted, organic tornado of weaved sticks and twigs wraps itself around and within a building that appears to be a weathered 18th century schoolhouse. The twist? The building was actually constructed in 2016 as an interior space to protect Dougherty’s sculpture. Designers simulated authentic decay by studying the paint, water damage, rusted nails, and missing shelves of an existing schoolhouse and replicating the ghostly look and feel in an entirely new structure. One important detail was to maintain the effect of light filtering through a worn and cracked roof without leaving the twig sculpture exposed to falling rain and snow. To achieve the effect of the light while protecting the interior, acrylic sheets clear enough to appear invisible to the naked eye were sandwiched between planks in the ceiling.

The project was named an Honorable Mention during the annual awards ceremony held by the Montana chapter of the American Institute of Architects, stirring up controversy by toeing the line between architecture and sculptural art–particularly interesting as the product of an A/E firm. Perhaps the line is a false one?

Tippet Rise Art Center features a number structural and sculptural marvels that embrace atypical shapes and materials–a veritable artistic oasis in the Montana wilds.

More info: ctagroup.com