So why the pine tree on the steel beam?
In modern construction, the trees are known as topping trees. They are placed on the final steel beam to be installed to celebrate completion of the skeleton of a building structure. Like many rituals, topping-out celebrations stem from ancient superstitions.
The practice of "topping-out" a new building can be traced back to 700 A.D. in Scandinavia when a finished building had a tree placed atop the new structure to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced in its construction. Today, topping trees are a symbol good luck and prosperity for the future occupants of the building.
Learn more about the project in "Embry-Riddle Student Union: A Building Like No Other."
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