Local firm VinMet honored as Architizer A+ Award finalist

April 23, 2014
After 18 months of use, Steve Curtis is removing the award-winning Tree Butler stabilizer from a now well-established cherry tree for reuse on another transplanted tree. SOURCE SUBMITTED

VinMet, a research and design firm based in Milford, has been recognized as a finalist in this year’s Architizer A+ Awards, an international competition for architects and landscapers that draws entries from over 100 countries.

The Milford firm received its award for the Tree Butler, a support system designed to protect newly planted trees. The design is a collaboration between Stephen O. Curtis and his son Nicholas O. Curtis. “The Tree Butler favors the survival of newly planted trees by allowing enough movement for strong roots and trunk flare to develop,” Steve Curtis explained.

While landscapers typically rely on wire and wooden stakes to stabilize a young tree, the Tree Butler provides a single supple steel support with a soft collar that encompasses the tree trunk. “The Tree Butler has a sculptural quality that is actually attractive and complements a designed landscape while the young tree is growing,“ Curtis explained, “And it can be used over and over again.”

VinMet has been marketing the Tree Butler to a national clientele for over five years. While the Tree Butler represents a different approach to supporting trees, clients have appreciated its benefits, pointing out that it takes many years and some expense to grow a tree to maturity. When a tree is planted incorrectly and not properly supported against wind, that investment can be lost.

Winning the Architizer Award means valuable recognition for VinMet., the world largest website for architecture, launched the A+ Award program with 60 categories and over 300 jurors.

Winners were chosen by a jury including such industry luminaries as Denise Scott Brown, Bjarke Ingels and Tom Kundig, as well as people beyond architecture like Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos; Yves Behar, Fuseproject; John Edelman, CEO, Design Within Reach; Cameron Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity; and Barry Bergdoll, MoMA.

More information available by visiting or call 302-424-2270.

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