Approached to design an ‘off-the-wall’, yet real project as a marketing promotion for Yellow Pages, the concept of a working restaurant up in a large Redwood tree is inspired by a suspended chrysalis, in a fairy-tale environment overlooking a meadow and meandering stream on the edge of a forest.
At 10m wide and over 14m high with split-level floor sitting 10m above the ground, it is sustainably constructed from timber trusses forming the main structure and curved glue-laminated pine fins and poplar slats to give it form. Windows are created by leaving spaces between the slats/fins that keeps the overall form yet affords a variety of permability for the views and light. Access is via a 60m tree-top walkway – an adventure in itself.
The Architectural Inspiration largely came from the site -an open fairytale meadow and stream in the midst of a redwood forest plantation, understanding the nature of the tree/environment and the construction concerns about building sustainably in a living tree. An arborist advised on the best ways of looking after the tree’s health.
The Treehouse is designed and built sustainability, with all timbers from sustainable sources with extremely low ecological impact and footprint, and recyclable. The external vertical look comes from the rhythm of curved glue laminated timber fins of Pinus-Radiata, with Poplar battens ‘feathering’ between forming a permeable translucent skin. Acrylic sheeting forms the roof allowing sunlight to enter with the views for the diners to the treetops and stars in the nightsky. By day, the 14m high structure is a natural and organic part of the forest behind but by night it transforms into a glowing lantern.