The owners mandate for the treehouse was to create the tallest structure possible that would have room for a king sized bed: with X dollars. Otherwise, everything else was up to us.
The original inspiration was to create a “walk through the canopy experience”. We had first explored the idea of trying to do that vertically with a platform that hovered just above the treetops. Since creating a platform with enough height in the areas available would have been prohibitively expensive, it was decided to try to accomplish the same effect though the “edge” of the forest. This idea led to the final layout: two platforms (sleeping & viewing) connected by a bridge through the hedgerow. We also wanted to achieve the greatest height possible while staying safe and minimising any damage to the trees. This in turn led to the use of the free-standing steel towers accessed by a suspended helical stairway.
Another focus of the design was to keep the materials and finishes as simple as possible. The weathering steel remains unfinished and is protected by a robust layer of rust. The siding and railings were burned with a torch and then sealed with tounge oil. A technique that originated in Japan, the chared outer layer acts as a natural preservative and fire barrier.
"Treehouses represent a chance to reconnect to simpler elements: a chance to lose ourselves in nature and a return to the lightness and wonder of childhood. A treehouse isn't a practical building. You could even say it’s indulgent. But too often, I think it's pretty easy to lose sight of who we are. To get lost in the practicalities and ignore the greater backdrop. I find it's difficult for words to create that awareness (poetry and religion at times) and almost impossible for budgets. I mean you really could probably find it in anything, but I guess in my mind, it's always been geometry and space itself that is inescapable, serving as the backdrop through which nature itself unfolds.
It's easy to take this “negative space” for granted. But I like to think the geometry and art of any building offers an opportunity to express some of the deeper and more profound rhythms of our being. It's maybe a bit easier with Treehouses. For one, they're free from some of the more mundane practicalities of a typical home, and it's also a given that they'll be deeply enmeshed in the natural world.
As a designer, most of my time centers almost entirely on the practicalities: budget, structure, and the logistics of the construction. And I feel pretty proud that we were able to pull it off from a practical standpoint. Without that you really don’t have a shot at creating something more. But at the end of the day, it's my hope that the buildings we create offer at least a glimmer of greater connection and meaning."
~ Adam Eckert