Jerry Tate Architects and carpenter Henry Russell worked alongside students taking a ‘Spatial Structures’ course at this summer’s Dartmoor Arts Week just outside of Exeter. The brief began with a family from a local farm who wanted a safe treehouse for their grandchildren to play in. The group began the process by looking for a tree in which to build the play space and they settled on a large oak tree on a slope. Taking inspiration from weaver birds, the group came up with a plan to access the treehouse via a sloped walkway and protecting the project with woven sides.
Materials were sourced on site including locally felled spruce, larch and western red cedar and only two mechanical fixtures were required to affix the treehouse to the tree. Lathes of spruce were cut and some of them were glue-laminated together to create sturdier ribs with which to work with. The lathes were woven together to increase stability and to create the tunneled walkway and the spiraling pod play area. 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.”
Images ©Michael Smallcombe