Tyler Summer Design-Build Institute
Five sculptures created by Tyler School of Art and Architecture Master of Architecture students — Flutter, The Spider Viewer, Foxational, The Spring Peeper, and Woven — are now permanent installations in the Ambler Arboretum, the Temple Ambler Field Station and around campus.
James F. Duffy

This summer, 28 Tyler School of Art and Architecture Master of Architecture graduate students, guided by  gained hands-on experience during Special Topics in Site and Context, part of the Tyler Summer Design-Build Institute. The students designed and constructed five sculptures for the animal inhabitants of the campus.

The sculptures — Flutter, The Spider Viewer, Foxational, The Spring Peeper, and Woven — are now permanent installations in the Ambler Arboretum, the Temple Ambler Field Station and around campus.

The students were guided through the process of creating the new sculptures by Eric Oskey, RA, Associate Professor of Practice in Architecture in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, and Jesse Mainwaring, Adjunct Professor of Architecture. Learn more about the Tyler Summer Design-Build Institute here.

"As with last year's Institute, this class, which in addition to 18 new students is welcoming back 10 students from the inaugural summer institute, has been focused on wildlife and creating habitats for wildlife," said Eric Oskey, RA, Associate Professor of Practice in Architecture in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture. "The Design-Build Institute is designed as a partnership between the Tyler School of Art and Architecture and Temple Ambler. The focus of the summer institute is designed to take advantage of the facilities that are available at the Ambler Campus and provides students with a hands-on experience they might not otherwise have — it leverages some of the design classes from the Architecture program to actually build small installations."

Learn more about the individual projects below.


Representing the regrowth of the Ambler Campus following the devastation of the tornado in 2021, the structure exhibits a helix that seemingly sprouts from the earth. This is an interactive installation in which student and students of the campus may compost their fruits and vegetables in order to fertilize the soil and promote plants to grow up the structure, both of which are food sources for butterflies and caterpillars. This creates a safe environment for the butterflies to feed, mate and travel through the tunnels created by structure.

"Flutter is meant to be a haven for butterflies that disorients predators," said Architecture graduate student Oliver Duffey. "In this project, we were experimenting with curved, bent wood, which is wood that you essentially make a series of cuts in and then bend it — our structure is a helix shape of those curved, bent pieces. The base is filled with milkweed flowers, which butterflies are attracted to."

The Flutter student team was: Oliver Duffey, Gabriel Santos, Mariano Mattei, Olivia Filaferro, Wiley Muck and Michael Molique

The Spider Viewer

This project aimed to create a visual experience reminiscent of spider webs and the processes of the web being created. Originally inspired by the Spined micrathena spider, the team wanted to create moments within the frames that aided the spiders to spin their webs and for passersby to view them. Each 5-foot by 8-foot frame consists of 2-inch by 4-inch boards with interior, angled boards that change 10 degrees every frame, allowing for varying spaces for webs. The orientation of the frames creates different, visually intriguing perspectives as viewers move around the structure. As the spiders move webs, the old web can be used by other animals in creating their own nests.

"The Spider Viewer design consists of series of space frames evenly spaced on a decking. What we wanted to do was not only mimic the structures and behaviors that spiders have when creating their webs, but also emulate how spider webs can be perceived in different ways depending on how you're viewing them." said Architecture graduate student Kat Oberman. "We wanted our sculpture to have multiple viewpoints. It also has a bunch of nooks and crannies for the spiders to hide in and incorporate their webbing into the construction of the sculpture."

The Spider View team was: Spider Viewer, Kyler Brunner, Colleen Ivkovich, Kat Oberman, Zachary Peiser, Samuel Shchupak, Carlos Lemos


For each project, teams had to select a species to build for. Foxational builds with the American Red fox in mind. Foxational's curving design in meant to allow people to see the foxes while providing the animal a sense of safety. There is an aesthetic barrier between the human and the fox.

"Strawberries have also been planted below the sculpture to provide a food source for the fox," said Architecture graduate student Breanna Haselbarth. "The sculpture is large and sloping. The fox can feel secure beneath the structure and not be scared off by the humans approaching them."

The Foxational team was: Joseph Guido, Michael Donahue, Breanna Haselbarth, Tasneem Bookbinder, Alexandra Popp, Joseph LaPorta

The Spring Peeper

The Spring Peeper is a tiny tree frog native to the forests of Pennsylvania. These animals are attracted to moist, warm environments, like wet stone or concrete. When it rains in the summer,

the frogs are attracted to streets that are wet and warm making them vulnerable to being hit by cars. This installation simulates the qualities of the wet roads that the frogs like by capturing the morning dew. The tall aluminum fins capture the phase change and allow the water to fall down its surfaces to be collected in a concrete base to create the perfect environment for the Spring Peeper.

"Our goals with The Spring Peeper is to capture the phase change in condensation from the early morning to the afternoon and capture that moisture for the frogs to steer them away from moist roads and steer them toward the sculpture and the nearby stream and ephemeral ponds," said Architecture graduate student Daniel Vagnoni. "We want to give them a safer habitat that doesn't place them in danger."

The Spring Peeper team was: Daniel Vagnoni, Victoria Betterly, Michael Wasicko, Ada Marin, Alberto Paez


Focusing on the Red Admiral Butterfly that inhabits the Temple Ambler Campus, Woven creates a feeding opportunity for the butterflies while acting as an eye-catching addition to the campus' natural setting. The accompanying pavilions provide stones within the planted beds to create perching areas for the butterflies. The plants were selected based on their blooming season to create a dynamic installation that fluctuates throughout the butterflies' lifecycle.

"The Red Admiral Butterfly eats rotting fruit as part of their diet. The woven installation has petals that sit under a paw-paw tree," said Architectural Design graduate student Olivia Bartholomew. "The petals are a woven elastic material that the paw-paws as meant to fall onto, which will then be gathered at the base of the petals for the butterflies to eat."

The Woven team was: Olivia Bartholomew, Logan Paulukow, Lindsey Aunkst, Keida Pashaj, Marcelina Jodlowska