When we get bogged down with the troubles of everyday life, we often become wistful of our childhood. Summers whiled away climbing trees and building forts. And the ultimate preteen status symbol was a tree house. The idea of freedom that they evoke never really leaves us. That is why it’s of no surprise that Pacific Environments Architects jumped at a chance to build an epic tree house in redwood forest north of Auckland, New Zealand.
The architects got the brief to create the Yellow Treehouse restaurant thanks to registering themselves in the Yellow Pages. In fact, all the contractors involved in the project were sourced from the directory, as it was all part a “reality” TV advert. Although the fascination with arboreal architecture may stem from our youth, the design of this tree house is decidedly adult. From a distance, it looks as if a Godzilla sized caterpillar has built its chrysalis on the trunk of a giant redwood tree. Curved fins of glue-laminated pine wrap around the trunk of the tree to form the interior space 12 meters above the ground. In plan, they seem to create a shell spiraling around the tree. These fins are what make the structure so special, giving it its magical form while at the same time keeping the views of the forest around as open as possible. At night the make the restaurant becomes a fairy lantern hanging in the forest.
The tree house blends comfortably into its setting while at the same time being remarkably beautiful. It’s a prime example of what can be achieved when grown-up thinkers channel their inner child.