Jerry Tate Architects worked alongside students at this summer's Dartmoor Arts Week to design and construct a striking temporary treehouse. A central part of the 'Spatial Structures' course, the treehouse was completed in only five days as a collaborative exercise between students, Jerry Tate Architects and carpenter Henry Russell. The robust 10sqm structure includes an accessible walkway and a 1.8m diameter 'pod' which provides a circular seating element.
The brief for the treehouse came from the owners of a local farm who wanted a safe play-space for their grandchildren. The first stage of the project involved surveying the farm in order to identify the most appropriate tree in terms of setting and structural capacity. Jerry Tate said: "The form was inspired by a weaver bird's nest which looks dramatic but is safe and secure. Nature is a sublime designer."
The treehouse was constructed around an existing mature oak tree on the local farm. The materials were milled on site from locally felled spruce, larch and western red cedar and the structure required only two mechanical fixtures to the tree itself, with the majority of structural stability maintained by the shape and positioning of the structure.
Much of the treehouse was constructed from thin 'lathes' of spruce, some of which were made into glue-laminated ribs to give structural form, and some of which were 'woven' into the structure to provide enclosure and further structural capacity.