Tuck-Hinton Architects “Save the Fish” Project

If you have been following our blog posts through the summer, you know Tuck-Hinton Architects was selected to design and build a treehouse at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens along with six other teams.  Our “Rainbow Fish Treehouse”  resembled the children’s book The Rainbow Fish by By Marcus Pfister.  Cheekwood hosted the Treehouses exhibit from May 26, 2012- September 3, 2012.

After the exhibit concluded, it was time to remove the Rainbow Fish Treehouse.  While thinking about what to do with the rainbow fish, we were contacted by Jamie Yeager, Head of School at Pleasant View Montessori.  Jamie was very interested in obtaining and setting up the Rainbow Fish treehouse as a permanent fixture at her school.

Pleasant View Montessori, the only Montessori school in Cheatham County,  is located just 20 minutes west of downtown Nashville in Pleasant View, TN.  Established in 2010, the school opened its doors to just 6 students.  Three years later they are home to 3 classrooms, 50 students and  now  The Fish.  Yeager discovered  that The Fish was available for re-locating and reached out to Oren Yarbrough at Tuck-Hinton.  After a few days of research and volunteer  gathering, Pleasant View Montessori took the plunge and said “Yes!” to giving The Fish a new home.

Dismantling and removing The Fish was only possible with a team of over 20 volunteers.  An initial crew went in to remove all the scales/CD panels.  They were followed by a crew who carefully removed the fins, tail, mouth, eyes and ribs.  The third stage removed the ribs and then transported all the parts to Pleasant View where they will be reassembled.  The biggest volunteer crew will cut, move and transport the base of The Fish, utilizing the equipment and expertise of professionals often associated with re-locating houses!  A final crew will clean the site, ensuring it is free from stray staples, screws and debris and safe for future Cheekwood visitors.  Once the base arrives in Pleasant View the school predicts that it will take approximately three weeks to get it re-assembled and ready for children again.

The school’s hope is to be an example of recycling materials–following in Tuck Hinton and McCay’s path–by reusing the over 12,000 CDs that serve as the covering of The Fish’s body.  Love for the earth and respect for resources is taught in tandem with the academics and cultural studies that provide the foundation of an authentic Montessori curriculum.  At Pleasant View Montessori, the oldest students had visited the treehouse exhibit at Cheekwood as an interdisciplinary lesson, tying ecological studies to literature.  Many of the students fell in love with the giant fish during that visit and still cannot believe that The Fish is coming to their school as a permanent example of how literature can be tied to art, the earth, architecture, imagination and creativity.